That Time I Tripped Out Under the Sea in the Best Possible Way

There are several different ways to escape to another world and enjoy hallucinatory effects. By 2018, I was certain I had experimented with every imaginable type of “trip”…some good and some bad. Until I went to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and had the best trip of my life.

At the hotel I was staying at, someone told me where to get the good stuff and how much it would cost. I trudged through the sand until I arrived at a small beach hut. I handed over my sweaty cash to the tan surfer/hippie and I got my stuff.

I was nervous about the trip I was about to take. It was my first time and I didn’t know what to expect. I parked my bikini-clad tush on the shore and casually looked around the beach to see how other people were doing it.

People of all ages were having a great time—they made it look so easy. They didn’t have a care in the world. I wanted that too. I was ready to detach from reality for the next two hours with the $25 I just paid for my escape.

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city girl in the woods

A City Girl Goes Camping Again After a Seven-Year Boycott

Why did I boycott camping seven years ago? One fateful summer day in Wisconsin. Okay, I’m being a tad dramatic. Mainly, it rained a shit ton on that fateful day. Not a gentle rain that sprinkles upon your face. More like a humid downpour…with flooding. Tent flooding. Mud in places you’ve never seen. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

It began innocently enough.

We set up camp and decided to take a nice long hike when dark and ominous storms invaded the blue skies. We had to cut our hike short, because we were all about to slide down a giant hill into the lake below. Mudslides thrived. Waterfalls appeared. It was like a giant slip and slide with a watery, rocky doom at the end.

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mexico city view

The Magical Chaos of Mexico City

I used to hang out at Lenora’s house before school and smell the fresh tortillas her mother made every morning. The delicious scent lingered in my hair and clothing while I sat in class…hungry, and day-dreaming about tacos.

In a Southern California middle school I was the minority—most of my friends were like Lenora, not me. Later in Texas, if I hadn’t been close to my match-making friend, Juan, I would never have met my husband of 13 years, Mr. H.

The top 3 states with the largest Hispanic populations in the United States are New Mexico, California, and Texas. I lived in two of them. Throughout my life, I was immersed in the Mexican culture by default. Yet, there were so many things I didn’t understand.

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havana art

Havana: Uncensored and Beautifully Raw

A place frozen in time—that’s what everyone says about Havana. You hear stories and see images of gorgeous classic cars in pristine condition, attractive people who embody warmth and depth, and decaying buildings that were once incredibly grand. That still doesn’t prepare you for any of it.

The first night we had dinner at Henky’s, a neighborhood restaurant in Habana Vieja, we felt like we were in a dream. Old cars rolled by like it was no big deal, adding to the casual magic that reminds you: “You’re in a place unlike any other. You’re in Havana.”

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frida's house entrance

Frida and Gellhorn: Walking Beside Two Beautifully Heroic Women

I’ve never bought four one-way tickets before in my life. But, that’s what it took to go on a special journey, one where I could walk in the same place as two beautifully heroic women I will never have the chance to meet.

Mr. H had different reasons for wanting to experience Mexico City and Cuba in the flesh. Like him, I’m a huge fan of food, culture, architecture, and art. The truth is—as most of you know—I’m a big nerd. A history travel nerd.

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