This past February I travelled to Puerto Rico with twenty middle schoolers and one other adult chaperone. We had a chilly winter in Philadelphia, so the sunshine was welcomed, despite the fact that chaperoning school trips is nothing short of e x h a u s t i n g. I had been on this exact same trip exactly two years ago and it was nice to know what to expect and also to see what had changed – the food stops were on-point this time around! We spent the first day exploring Ponce, a city in the southwest part of the island. It happened to be carnaval there, so we got to experience the excitement first hand. After that we spent the morning at Boquerón beach and then we were off to Fajardo to swim in the bioluminescent bay! This was by far my favorite part of the trip! We took a boat to a small lagoon and once the sun went down we all jumped into the water and swam underneath the boat to see the dinoflagellates light up around us. Swimming at night (especially in the ocean with scary creatures) is not my favorite thing to do, but it was well worth it. The next day we explored El Yunque – the rainforest – in the northeastern part of the island and we heard lots of coquís singing in the background. That afternoon we skipped the beach because it was raining. Our last day was spent exploring Old San Juan. We visited El Castillo San Cristóbal and took a walking tour of the city. Looking back at my old posts of Puerto Rico, I noticed that I took photos of the same buildings…weird! This was the fourth time visiting Puerto Rico and every time I go to this tiny little island, I fall in love a little bit more. The food, the warm people, the sun, the sand, the colonial architecture…it’s a pretty magical place! See for yourself:
I heard something recently that said people who go to a museum and don’t take pictures actually learn and remember more from the experience. At times, I find it hard to balance being in the moment and wanting to whip out my camera to try to capture it. So I try to live first, snap second, but sometimes that leaves me wishing I had taken more. One regret I have about this trip is the lack of pictures I took. I often scroll through my old pictures for fun, and so my mission for our next vacation is to follow the rule of live then snap, but keep the camera out for a bit longer.
I also hate being that American tourist. You know, the one who pushes people out-of-the-way to get a good shot. Or the one who has the big map out and is silently screaming, “PICK POCKETS COME HERE! TAKE ALL MY MONEY AND IMPORTANT PERSONAL DOCUMENTS.” I also like to be respectful of the places and people I visit. Maybe they don’t want to show up on a random blog on the internet in their bikini, you know?
But, I do love to take pictures. It’s an artistic challenge that seems like it would be so easy, but it’s actually really, really hard to take a good photo. I usually have one in about 500 photos that I’m proud of (no exaggeration). Someday I would love to get a really nice camera and maybe take some classes.
Here’s a sneak peek at some of my favorite shots from the trip. More details to come soon!
In a very short amount of time Dan and I will be jetting off to Puerto Rico. I can hardly contain my excitement. Like, I want to jump out of my seat just thinking about it. I always get this feeling right before I leave for a trip … excitement that brings me back to my childhood. I get butterflies, I have perma-grin, I go into “go” mode, as Dan calls it – I can’t stop buzzing around the house trying to get things done…packing, shopping, picking out outfits, reading our travel book, googling our hotel, the list goes on.
I have been to Puerto Rico twice before, once with a couple of friends from college and last year with some students. Below are some pictures from my first time to the island this weekend to help me get EVEN MORE excited! My first trip was purely for beach relaxation and my second was with 25 middle school kids. Both were wonderful experiences but I am insanely excited to travel, explore, and be adventurous. And I’m the most excited to share that part of me with Dan. Travel is part of who I am. It’s taught me about life, the world, helped me shape my morals and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I crave to see new places in the world and to really get to know a place. I’m also excited, of course, to get in some serious beach time with my second book for the month of March, the Divergent series and hopefully one more (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is on my list). Last but not least, I can’t wait to speak Spanish. It’s a beautiful language and learning new words and phrases gets me all excited!!! I’m a nerd like that.
Here’s a sneak peek at my last trip to Puerto Rico. All are unedited and were taken with my iPhone. Forgot my camera charger last time…oops!