2017: From Traveling to Relaxing

How I am sitting down to write my 2017 wrap-up post is beyond me, yet here I am. Quite opposite to 2016, this year was not driven by my need to travel. Yes, I travelled; a lot. However, once my beautiful semester in Australia was done, I was not ready to hit the road (or sky) again. In fact, I did not want to travel at all. I wanted to rest and relax, and that is exactly what I did.

Screen Shot 2017-12-31 at 10.00.59 PM.png

My version of relaxation is still not what many would call “relaxing,” but it was perfect. I ended up working as a sailing instructor, which was my first job a few years back, I spent quality time with friends and family and I went to the beach every chance I could. The furthest I traveled was to my AIFS Alumni Ambassador training in Connecticut, and the only “trips” I took were to Philadelphia a handful of times and to a lake house in my home state of New Jersey. I took a break from social media and I simply lived.

Summertime relaxation

Then, I quickly jumped into a hurricane of a semester; one that really tested me emotionally. During that semester, I really appreciated when I could “get away” and leave campus to take my mind off things. It was a mixture of my post-Australia summer and chaotic semester that led me to realize the purpose of 2017: to teach me to take a break.

When people ask me about my new year resolution, I tell them I do not have one. In fact, I never really do. What I try to focus on are the things that make me happy and the things that do not, and live accordingly. In 2016, I was all about acting on my “mid-college crisis” and my travel bug any way I could. Between studying in Rome, travelling to London and spending a semester down under, I think I did an excellent job (thanks to the support of my wonderful family). In 2017, I focused on taking a break, which really started in Australia. Although I was busy almost every weekend while there and went on three weeklong trips, I still had a huge amount of free time to which I was not accustomed. I learned to appreciate that extra space and use it as “me” time to let loose and distress. In Australia, a lot of that extra time was spent blogging and making videos. In the summer, it was spent laying at the beach or swimming in a pool. During the semester, any extra time I found was spent doing anything from a face mask and watching a show to napping. I mentioned at the beginning of the semester that I learned that it is okay to not have everything organized to a tee, and this semester has really allowed me to calm myself and leave a few days open for when last minute things pop up. And when they did not, the extra time was simply an unexpected treat.

2016 was focused on my thirst to travel. 2017 was focused on my need to learn to relax. Although so different, both years offered me wonderful things, from new experiences and knowledge to new people. I have no idea what 2018 will bring, and at the present moment, I do not have much control over it. Regardless, I have no doubt that 2018 will be just as fulfilling as the last two. Here’s to the memories of 2017 and the unknown of 2018!


The Season of Falling

It is a picturesque autumn day here in Hempstead, New York. The leaves are vivid shades of orange and red, gently being picked off branches one by one and blowing in the light breeze. The sun is shining and the air wraps around me with a light warmth, almost making me forget that temperatures will soon be unbearably chilly.

It’s fall, and college students like myself like to compare this time of the year to falling grade point averages and diminishing motivation to get things done. It is days like today I flash back to summer and wish I were on a beach without a care in the world.

I have been pondering the incredible adventures I had this summer and how fortunate I am to have gained so many precious memories. From cruising along the Danube to driving to Boston for just a day, the trips on which I embarked during the summer were only a foreshadowing of the adventures awaiting me.

The main attraction this semester was my fall concert series, as I call it. I was fortunate enough to attend four concerts during the semester, and of course, I wrote about them.

Until I unveil my experiences, however, here is a summer throwback to my trip to Lake Wallkill with one my best friends. This is something I watch to help me get through this time in which everything is “falling.”


A Reel Great Day



I leave for Costa Rica in less than a week. During my stay, I will be fishing for two days, so what better way to prepare for some staunch fishing than to go fishing? Wednesday’s trip was for bluefish, which was my first time hunting this fish.

Sunrise at Approximately 6 a.m. on the Toms River

We woke up at the crack of dawn to head out to the ocean by six in the morning. The best part about waking up this early was seeing the sun slowly creeping into the air, illuminating the pale sky with vivid oranges and yellows. We fished out of the Barnegat Inlet, which is right off New Jersey’s Island Beach State Park.

My dad was stoked to get my sister and I out on the water before we hit Central America and he promised a great day to get a base tan for the trip (Dad was really trying to get us to come). Between the the clear skies and calm waters, low temperature system and westerly breeze, it was bound to be a good day. However, it did not quite pan out to be a busy day on the water.

We chased the blues a few different ways. First, we used a type of fishing called “trolling.” This involves dragging lines behind the boat at a slow speed to get a fish to hop on the hook. While our 23 foot Chaparral motor boat was not in motion, we would cast our lines and reel them in at a moderate pace, while bopping our poles up and down. Attached to the lines were a type of rig called “bunker spoons” which bring the rig downward into the water and resemble a fish swimming. While trolling, we also used an umbrella rig which is made to look like a school of fish. For every one foot of depth, it is necessary to let out about ten feet of line. The deepest we fished was up to 40 feet.

Putting up a Fight for the Fish

Without much luck outside the inlet, we headed towards the inside of it, where we saw some birds preying on bait fish. We knew that since there was a lot of bait fish in the area, there must be some blues underneath. Our luck changed once we moved to the inside of the inlet, because my sister caught an impressive bluefish. It was no easy fish to land. Just to get the magnificent creature in the boat, I had to stable the pole as my sister reeled the line in. We definitely made Dad proud when we won that battle.

Catch of the Day

Being in the sea opens up a new appreciation for nature’s beauty within me. I am surrounded by an ocean so large and so deep, I can only skim the surface of the majestic mysteries it has to offer.

That fish was our only keeper of the day, but we did not mind one bit. Something I have really thought about lately is how important it is to have good company. Today I had the best company, I learned a few things and I spent the day soaking up the sun and breathing in the salty air. The best part of the day, however, was the reward we had for dinner-our own fresh fish.

Grilled Bluefish