Amazing Kids! Magazine

A Small Trip ‘Around’ the World

By Riana Sellers, age 15, Fontana, California

 

The reason this article wasn’t simply titled A Trip around the World is because quite frankly, I didn’t take a huge trip around the world. This was an intimate vacation filled with great food, loving family, hearty laughs, and thousands of miles of land and sea. To kick off this journey, my parents and I packed the car full of snacks, blankets, and games (for myself to enjoy), as we would be in for a long ride to Oklahoma for a family reunion. We thought about buying plane tickets, but at the time, they were expensive and we wanted to enjoy each other’s company while spotting the different signs to notify us on our progress towards our destination. The last time I had been in Oklahoma was about eight or nine years ago, so it was obvious I was excited to see my relatives again after so long. Fast-forward one full day, we finally arrive at the hotel where the family reunion is being held and where the fun begins.

After being greeted by some of our relatives who were sitting in the hotel lobby, we decided to check-in and bring up our luggage to our room. To our surprise, we were able to get a beautiful view of the nature walk that was a part of the hotel establishment.

Our View from the Hotel

Our View from the Hotel

However, we decided to check it out later and proceeded to take a quick nap to refresh ourselves. Later on, we all met up with everyone in a conference room and had a heartfelt greeting with my godparents, who I hardly get to see, and continued to talk over a luncheon of catfish and fries. Day one passes and we’re onto day two where we all meet again in the morning in the banquet room for breakfast. The conversations are decent but the day ends up being another free will one so my mom and I take a dip in the indoor pool, we all go on the nature walk, and eat Dominoes pizza for dinner.

Now the real excitement begins as the next morning we meet up with my godmother and receive our family reunion shirts to wear to the picnic that afternoon. I genuinely felt happy because it’s nice to feel united with family members and become one for even a moment. Moving forward, we arrive at the location and once again the place is beautiful but to be honest, the food wasn’t as good as I expected it to be because it wasn’t homemade. The food had been ordered from a catering company which, to me, made it worse because it’s not a true picnic without family members actually making authentic entrees and sides. Beside the point, I’m glad I was able to capture the beauty of what the area had to offer.

A Lake Featured at the Site

A Lake Featured at the Site

Although my mood had fallen, I was looking forward toward the firework show that was to occur at night. So when the moon had appeared, we all traveled to a highway bridge and watched the fireworks from there. The location wasn’t that convenient, but the fireworks were big enough to see clearly. My family and I didn’t keep track of how long the show lasted, but we were saddened when it ended. It was a nice experience to add to our memories, but we were exhausted and couldn’t wait to get some rest. The next morning would be the beginning of our last day in Oklahoma, but we would be going out in style; an all white party affair.

In reality, I wasn’t supposed to be going to the white party, nor were any of the other children supposed to. All the kids were to have a separate pajama party with pizza while the adults go to the all white affair; however, something must’ve occurred and now my parents and I had to go to the nearest mall and find me an all white dress. Altogether, we were able to find a dress for me fairly quick, though the mall we were in was kind of creepy as there were barely people inside. After arriving back at the hotel and getting ready, it’s finally the time for the all white party. Overall, my family and I had a nice experience and the catered food this time ended up being very delicious though the music could’ve been better considering it was a live band. In the end, it was hard to say our final goodbyes; not knowing when we’ll see each other again. Nevertheless, it was time to depart from this journey and commence the second part of our vacation; a four day cruise from Catalina to Ensenada Mexico.

Before I talk about my cruise experience, the ride back from Oklahoma wasn’t just a walk in the park. It actually became quite dangerous as a storm began brewing which caused moments of heavy then light rain and loud lightning strikes in the sky. I was lucky enough to capture a picture of one which shows how serious this storm was.

A Lightning Strike I Captured Outside the Car Window

A Lightning Strike I Captured Outside the Car Window

However, we were able to get to my grandmother’s house safely, as we had three hours to spare, before finally driving toward the cruise parking lot and eventually boarding the ship.

Our Cruise Ship

Our Cruise Ship

It was by far the most incredible vessel I had been on since 2008 when my family and I went on our very first cruise. It was gigantic, delicious free food provided twenty-four hours a day, and many activities to keep us all entertained. We spent the rest of our day eating and exploring before we were off to Catalina.

To get to Catalina, we had to board an average sized motorboat that would take us there. My parents had booked an expedition we would take when we got there called Catalina Island East End Adventure Tour. It was said that it was extreme but we had no idea what we were in for. We finally arrived to Catalina Island and immediately made our way to the point and waited for our excursion along with other people. Maybe an hour or so passed until we were buckled into the hummer and took off. At first, the introduction was steady as the tour guide talked to us about the island, gave us some facts, etc. However, that’s when it got scary as we started traveling up the rugged mountain, going over every bump, being way too close to the edge. We then made a stop on a flat point on top of the mountain and got to take some beautiful pictures and observe the island scenery.

The Beautiful Scenery I Captured

The Beautiful Scenery I Captured

As we’re moving along, we spot something up ahead. We are not sure as to what it us, but as we get closer we realize it’s a bison! The guide had been explaining to us that usually the bison roam around the mountains but we were lucky enough to view one and snap a picture before we drove off.

Bison

Bison

We took a couple more pictures and the guide talked to us about the island overall and revealed that there was only one gas pump available for everyone and the prices weren’t a measly two or three dollar total, they were in the seven dollar range! Everyone on the hummer was very shocked and he also said that you have to put in a request form for a car which ends up being a several year process. The ride had taken an hour to go up and an hour to come down, but it was well worth it to me. We eventually traveled back to the dock and boarded the motorboat again to take us back to the ship. Later on, we enjoyed a full course dinner with another family on the ship, and attended a musical which was fantastic.

The next morning we got up early and had breakfast, then stepped out of the ship, which was parked by cement leveled ground so we didn’t need to take a motorboat, and were greeted by the Ensenada Mexico air.     We looked around in a souvenir shop that was near the buses we were waiting for that would take us into the main areas to shop. I was able to get two decorated painted skulls, one pink and one black, that now sit on top of my dresser and my parents bought souvenir shot glasses. We next picked up some Starbucks’ coffee and walked to the bus stop and waited for the next bus to take us back to the ship. While we were waiting, some Mexican girls were selling floral headbands, and I ended up buying a cute one with mini white roses decorated on top which I’m wearing in the picture above. We say our final goodbyes and board the ship once again.

That night, my mother and I go to a Hasbro Game Show, where people in the audience play games such as Connect Four, Slide, Twister, and more in real life with human-sized game pieces. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been picked to go up on the stage, but it was still fun to watch. My mom and I just continued to walk around the boat, check out the pool, and eventually go back to the room. Our next and final morning appeared and we just spent the day relaxing by the pool, viewing the musical again, enjoying the free food, and relishing in the family time we were all spending together. We enjoyed our final dinner that night, dressed as fancy as we could be, and said goodbye to the delicious lobster and chocolate soufflé. When we arrived at our room, we saw a worker had placed a towel animal on top of our bed. I believe it was a towel bunny, but whatever it ended up being, it was really cute and creative.

Towel Bunny

Towel Bunny

We packed our items that night, so when we had to get up early the following morning, we were already prepared. We left the ship, went through a final check-in, and walked toward our car. We drove back home which only took about an hour or so, and unpacked our items into their rightful place. I really enjoyed my small trip around the world, and will never forget the adventures I, along with my family, went on. I hope my journey inspires others and their families to go on vacations because it doesn’t matter whether it’s a big and expensive trip or a small and inexpensive trip, as long as you’re creating fun, and unforgettable memories with the ones you love.