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My Favorite Place

7,268 miles. 11,679 kilometers. That is the distance between all I had ever known in my hometown in Texas to the small pacific island of Guam. I moved there with my family at the age of 14 when my mom accepted a job offer. Two incredible, difficult, life-changing years that opened my eyes up to a piece of the world, changed my life and introduced me to a thing, to a place, that would always bring me happiness and curiosity. In the heart-wrenching, beautifully filmed documentary Chasing Coral, Richard Vevers observes, "Most people stare up into space with wonder. Yet we have this almost alien world on our planet, just teeming with life." The ocean.

My relationship with the ocean isn't as seamless as I'd like it to be. I do consider myself lucky to have been raised by parents who taught me how to swim at a young age and who insisted we go snorkeling every weekend during those two years on Guam. The hours I spent as a teenager following a pretty fish or going back to look at that coral one more time were very well spent. Since then, I moved back to Texas, lived near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and then made it over to Asia where I've made it a priority to travel to new places such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Taiwan and Malaysian Borneo. It was on a snorkeling trip in Bali that my love for the ocean and the intense joy it brought me was reignited. I decided to obtain a SCUBA license and immediately began researching. In June, I took a solo trip to Kota Kinabalu for the sole purpose of getting my PADI open water license. In two days, I felt intense discomfort after attempting to clear my mask, and felt fear at not being able to breathe the same way. I cried, and in the end, I failed to obtain my certification. I saw a few fish, a lot of trash and some bleached coral. I was crushed. Yet the whole time, I was in the ocean, mesmerized by its blue and devastated by the trash we had put there. It was a life-changing trip that reminded me that life is difficult and that beautiful places in nature like the ocean need a lot of help. For the past year, I've been exposing myself to information that educates me about the current state of our environment and what we can do to keep it beautiful. 

My favorite place in the world is a place I can go to that will always lift my spirits, come rain or come shine. My favorite place is a thing that I've wounded but still loves me back and presents me with healthy food, laughter-inducing activities, salty curls in my hair and a sound that eases me to sleep. My favorite place is a teacher that has shook it's head and taught me to change my lifestyle and use less plastic. My favorite place in the world is somewhere I will never get tired of visiting. I still have hundreds of lessons to learn from this teacher and a stronger determination to live differently than those around me and in a way that won't lead to the destruction I saw on that first diving trip where trash swam around me. 

The ocean is a beautiful reminder that there's an alternative way to live, small things we can do each day to live more in sync with nature and less destructively against it.
I'm curious to know what experiences other green dreamers and eco lovers have had that have inspired you. Inspired you to make positive changes in your life and wake up every day excited to learn more and do better.

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