"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
-Henry David Thoreau
"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
-Henry David Thoreau
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz means holy cross. It is a Spanish mission founded by the Franciscan order in present day Santa Cruz, California. Santa Cruz is the largest city of Santa Cruz county in California. The present day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791. Following the Mexican- American War of 1846-1848 California became the 31st state in 1850. The city of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 as a town and received its first charter as a city in 1876. As you already know I teach history and have a passion for learning about the subject. California offers a history lover a lot of information to absorb and in addition I love nature and especially the beach. I see the beach and the ocean as my holy place. I feel better when I look out into the horizon and see the blue water and just listen to its calming sound. It is hard to describe, but my heart just opens up and my smile grows even larger. This is probably the reason I fell in love with Santa Cruz on my first visit. After my first visit I was addicted to this place and could not wait to return. Luckily for me I was able to get back there before my trip came to an end. I arrived on my own and just absorbed my surroundings. I walked around the coast and along the sand beaches observing what was around me. I listened to the world around me and met some of the coolest people. The vibe in this area is explosive. Everyone is happy and friendly and it just makes you want to keep coming back. There is so much to see and experience. There is an amazing beachfront with a historic boardwalk and many shops and restaurants that you can enjoy. In addition there are so many surfers to watch in the water while enjoying their energy. I had the best time just sitting on the rocks and dreaming and thinking about life. I know it sounds strange, but the simple things in life are what make me happy. This specific destination actually made me want to extend my trip just so I could get back to my spiritual haven one more time before going home to New York, but then I had to have a reality check about my life at home and of course my bank account that is almost non existent at this point in the summer so I decided not to change my flight, but instead to plan another visit to Santa Cruz and consider it as the location of my next big birthday extravaganza! These are the simple things that keep me going and make my energy rise. I am sure people go to this place each day and have a different experience, but that’s just life. It is just like reading a story- it is up to you whether you get to read the colorful chapters or just be content judging by its cover.
California 2016- San Francisco, Los Angeles & San Diego
I recently traveled to California and had a wonderful experience. I visited San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The natural beauty in our country is outstanding. I travel the world and see amazing sights, but nothing compares to the national parks in our nation. This year celebrates the 100th year anniversary of the national park service [1916- 2016]. By the act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the territories of Montana and Wyoming “as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed it “under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.” The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established. There is so much history involved in the establishment of these national parks and some key individuals that played a vital role in its preservation. I won’t bore you with the specific details since we all know how to use Google, but it is worth your time to investigate these details further and even more worth your time to get out and visit these destinations.
I have visited a few other national parks on previous trips and now I have a slight addiction to visit more after this adventure and specifically return to camp in Yosemite National Park. There is something about the fresh air, sounds of animals and peaceful environment that I fell in love with while spending time in Yosemite National Park. It doesn't hurt that my friends and I got pulled over by park rangers so it is probably not easy to forget since I was embarrassed and in shock all at the same time when this specific incident occurred. I was in the car with two other teachers and was told by the ranger that instead of causing trouble we should be setting the example for others. I never thought we were causing trouble since it was completely the fault of one of the other girls outside of our vehicle. It was hilarious and something that we will speak about for a long time. Each time we met someone after this day we told them our story and each person seemed to have the same sense of shock since we are good law abiding citizens on most days.
My trip to California was initiated to visit a lifelong friend. We met around the block from my home going to school and summer camp. We have been friends for over thirty years and it is a special bond that we both cherish. Now that she is relocated to California it is an even stronger east coast west coast connection. Friendship is a special relationship that people should appreciate. Most people take things for granted, but I feel grateful for the friendships that I have. I believe they are the family that we choose for ourselves. I am blessed to have friendships that I have had since I was born, began school and with travelers I connect with along the way. I was so happy to see so many of my friends while trekking through California. Many of these friends I met while abroad in places such as Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru and this visit to California was our first time together in the United States of America as crazy as that sounds.
Travelers are the best people. I am biased, but I believe this to be true. We all possess many of the same characteristics. Most travelers are flexible, resilient, happy, courageous, open- minded, always smiling and a slight bit crazy, but in a good way. Travelers break the mold of normal. We get out there and do it. We step out of our comfort zone and into what we find alluring. A good travel companion can go with the flow. He/she sees change as an opportunity and not a drawback. This is what makes me always smile. Each of these friends I have on the west coast hold a piece of my heart. We are deeply connected and offer inspiration to each other. A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be. I always appreciate good people because they are hard to find. The trick about meeting others while traveling is that if you can travel with someone you know you can do anything with that person because travelers are like minded people. Now that I have returned home I miss the positive energy that runs rampant in California and I know that I made a lifelong friend with a strong love connection. I look forward to another adventure on the west coast very soon.
I am a high school Social Studies teacher and have been teaching since 2002. My passion in life is to teach, travel and be happy. I feel that I am married to the world and my passport is my baby. Education is essential in life, but there is an abundance of knowledge that is unattainable in a classroom and some that you can only receive from experiencing the world around you. I believe the more you wander the more you wonder. Everytime I have been to another country I come back home a slightly different and better version of myself. I feel that when I travel I come alive. I gain a greater understanding of the culture and history I am involved with during my travels that builds a deeper appreciation in my heart for what I have and where I live.