June 27, 2013

Big Blog Exchange: a journey come true

When I was a little kid, I was told that if we wanted something badly, would be fulfilled. We all know, when we grow up, that this is not always true. But what is certain is that when you go with a positive attitude and do something with all your desire, often occurs. Not by magic, but with effort and enthusiasm.

When I knew I was one of the winners of the Big Blog Exchange international blogger contest, I could not believe it, but I was so happy, I knew that I would enjoy this opportunity as a dream come true.

And so I did ...

A suitcase, a passport, a camera, a computer and thousands of miles ahead. This is normal when I travel, but what I didn't know, is all that I would be bringing with me on my trip back home.

I have overcome personal challenges that have made me more confidence of myself, it seems a cliché, but although sometimes I traveled alone and I liked it, I took this experience as a moment of personal encounter, meeting other travelers and having unforgettable experiences. And everything went perfect.

Traveling alone makes you more conscious about the environment around you and let you know everything in a different and unique way. You can't depend on anyone and you have to get you up the pieces. You also have the opportunity to meet amazing people who, although they pass fleetingly through your life, always leave a smile, a story or an unforgettable time. You are able to know a little bit about their lifes, how they think and how they view the world from a different point of view. You discover their customs, culture and language. That makes you think that a better world is possible and people can actually communicate and be together.

I always look for new places to meet and one of the towns that I was excited to visit was Boston. A three day stay I did enjoy the best of it. What I liked and made me feel full of positive energy was renting a bike and cycling the entire walk along the river, from Harvard University to the famous Boston Common. I discovered a strong, united and eager city that is looking forward. Really impressed with the sense of unity they have.

San Francisco and Los Angeles are cities that I already knew, so I looked for new experiences and neighborhoods where I haven't been before or haven't been able to visit yet.

Living Santa Monica as a local, walking on the beach, bike riding, testing the organic delicatessen in the area... I discovered that this town of Los Angeles is dog friendly and there are from parks to spas dedicated to our four-legged pets.

Driving a rental car in the U.S. alone presented no challenge in itself, but for someone who knows me, should be aware that my orientation is rather nil. The bad luck was that I didn't have GPS and had to guide me with a map. At first I panicked. Driving with a map? Me? Then I started to laugh. Sure you could do it! It may seem silly, but it was so rewarding feeling that I could drive all the way and enter in San Francisco without getting lost even once... I did it!

And what about Hostelling International? Another of my pleasant surprises. I haven’t stayed in hostels since my Italian Interrail trip 10 years ago, and I didn’t know what to expect. The experience was so positive! The Hostel of Boston, one of the most new and ecological hostels of United States was a place worth discovering. Santa Monica’s was like a boutique hotel, modern, colorful and next to the beach, located in one of the best areas of Los Angeles.

People working at the hostels were so kind to me, cared until the last detail to make me feel comfortable at all times. Not saying that at Pigeon Point I felt like a queen when I was told I had booked a hot tub to myself at dusk and I enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets, with the sea and the famous lighthouse views. Could I ask for more?

Nature has always been part of my life. I'm passionate about animals and the environment. I enjoy the outdoors and on this trip, I wanted to have some time in contact with nature. Whale watching in Boston and see the elephant seals approaching Año Nuevo State Park to molt was like I was inside a wildlife documentary. The cliffs of San Francisco Bay, the lighthouse at Pigeon Point and its shy and small North seals, Santa Monica Mountains...

I was asked to summarize the trip in a single photo. Personally I think that's impossible, but as I love sunsets, this image inspired me and I will remember that moment forever.

This contest was about changing the World through blogging. And I think it’s really appropriate. When you live to the fullest and enjoy every moment of the journey, since you plan the trip to your back home; you are continually learning and growing as a person. 

On the way back, telling your experiences and write them down on the blog, whether good or bad moments, makes people who read what you've written, feel what you feel and live through your skin, every landscape, every story, every culture, every image...

Travel, feel, live...