Spontaneously packed up the Jeep and drove 7 hours North with my childhood best-friend, Kaylee. To start off our adventures, we explored the colorful, Earthy town of Asheville. It’s always refreshing to get lost in a different city.
Hours later we checked into our Airbnb- a modernized, glass house in the midst of thick forestry. The views were delightful, the sounds were peaceful. We fell asleep listening to crickets and awoke to birds chirping, greeting one another.
A notable part of this trip was our eating habits. Kaylee is a vegan and has been for quite some time now. I was willing to commit to this, not only to make life a bit easier for her, but to embrace a healthy, natural lifestyle while we connected with the Earth. We stopped at a local farmers market and stocked up on tons of fruits, veggies and proteins to help us make it through the trip.
The Blue Ridge Parkway/ Pisgah National Forest. My oh my, how I felt alive here. I can’t put into words the state of mind both Kaylee and I were in. However, it’s safe to say we were happy, blissful and at ease. We felt so connected with ourselves and the Earth. Around every corner was a beautiful adventure, and Earth patiently waiting to be explored. We encountered lush nature, ethereal views and breath-taking waterfalls. With no cellphone service and the great outdoors surrounding us, we used our experience to inspire us- to get back in touch with ourselves while leading a wholesome life of simplicity and spontaneous adventures.
A special thanks to Kaylee Davis, for being such a wonderful friend to me for more than a decade. This trip wouldn’t have been the same without you. I’m so grateful to have met you and to still have your beautiful soul be apart of my life. I love ya endlessly.
San Juan, Puerto Rico:
Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis:
Ventured to Savannah, Georgia with an old friend.
Strolled along the streets of Saint Augustine
Found myself in awe of the views in Panama City Beach
And embraced even the gloomiest of days.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Luray Caverns, Virginia
Filled with stallagmites and stalactites, these underground caverns were a true work of art. At about 200 feet into the earth, the air that filled my lungs was a cool 60 degrees, setting a true cave-like tone. I’m still completely blown away by the magnificent creations that lie below the earths surface.
Shenandoah National Park
This was my first time at a National Park and I can’t even begin to describe how alive I felt. Between the vast horizons, fresh air and lack of civilization, I can definitely say I was high on life. I was surrounded by mountains and tree tops. Butterflies played around my hair as the sun kissed my skin. This experience allowed me to feel renewed. It allowed me to reconnect with myself and become one with the earth. If you’ve never been to a National Park before, I would highly recommend it.
With my birthday being the first day of August, the day always seems to pop up abruptly and surprise me. However, that didn’t stop my family from planning a weeks worth of fun and adventures.
It started on the 31st of July with a lovely dinner party at my house. Some of my closest friends came over to eat, laugh and make memories. We didn’t take many pictures, because we were all too busy living in the moment, but I did manage to find this gem. It truly captures how full of joy I was that night. I think those are the best types of photographs- ones that capture rare moments and raw emotions. They speak for themselves.
I took the whole week off from work to relax and find my inner zen. We all deserve to find a peace of mind and make time for yourself, so I considered this a little birthday present to myself. It felt nice having time to focus on me again, doing the things that I love and the things I never get a chance to do.
The next thing on the birthday week list was traveling to Orlando, FL! We stayed in a hotel that was a walk away from Disney Springs (AKA the newest part of Downtown Disney). I must say, Disney really outdid themselves. I’ve always loved the atmosphere of Downtown Disney, but this new portion carries you away to another world. Sometimes I questioned if I was still in Florida.
The next day we had an early start and headed to Discovery Cove! We were greeted at the entrance by a friendly sloth. I was honestly freaking out because how often do you get to pet a sloth??We all geared up in our wet suits and set off for a day of adventures. We snorkeled with fish, sharks and stingrays and we relaxed in lazy rivers. It was absolute bliss.
Here’s the squad geared up for our SeaVenture. We put on a huge helmet/tank over our heads; they kept our faces completely dry and provided us with lots of oxygen. We walked around on the sandy floor as fish and stingrays swam above us, under us and right by our sides. Our last stop was Sea World! We got rained out towards the end, but still saw lots of awesome fish and rode crazy rides.
Overall, I had a lovely birthday. It was filled with so many surprises, from trying new things to spending time with the people I love dearly. Heres to 19!
While it is quite rare for me to have the afternoon to myself these days, I found myself alone at home feeling inspired by the grey clouds that surrounded me. It was as if the soft mist in the sky was whispering to me, telling me to take advantage of the resources within my home. I read, I painted, I snuggled up with my cat; sometimes all it takes is bad weather to remind yourself of the things you love to do.
With little sleep the night before, our flight left at 7 a.m. sharp and Joshua and I could not contain out excitement. Not only were we looking forward to our first flight together, but simply the fact that we would be spending the next few days in New York City.
When we arrived, my uncle took us to two local parks in the Bronx. The weather was gloomy, making the trees and plants pop with color and life. The bridge pictured in the second photograph is the Throgs Neck Bridge.
The next day we ventured into the heart of the city: Manhattan. The car ride alone had Joshua and I jumping out of our seats. His head was practically glued to the window in complete awe of the buildings and life that surrounded us.
This photograph shows my Aunt and Uncle taking in the peaceful atmosphere created by the 9/11 Memorial. Despite living nearby, this was their first time stepping foot into the area since the time of the attacks. You could see the appreciation and remembrance in their eyes, as I’m sure they felt it in their hearts.
Views from the One World Trade Center: both daytime and night.
The next morning we had breakfast at the Crosstown Diner. It was quite rainy that day so we stayed inside relaxing- until we heard a little tune cruising down the street. MISTER SOFTEE! We don’t have Mister Softee ice cream trucks in Florida, so Joshua and I hopped on that, bare feet and all.
Before being dropped off at LaGuardia airport on our final day, we decided to take in some breathtaking final views. My uncle took us to spots in the Bronx with the BEST views of the city skyline. An unforgettable trip followed by an unforgettable view.