I secretly wanted to sprint through the airport and just barely miss my flight, lose my luggage or have 3 unexpected layovers. While these sound like complete disasters for frequent flyers, to me, they were thrilling mishaps that only happen to the adventurous-the travelers of the world. I wanted my traveler mishap on my way to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico over my winter break.

Sadly, there were no complications getting to Old San Juan. I guess my strange desire for an airport mishap will have to wait.
All that was under the Christmas tree this year was snorkel gear. For the first time in 11 years, I was going to step foot outside of the country. I went to Mexico when I was 10, but at that age, I didn’t have the brain capacity to truly appreciate the experience. I think I even turned down an offer to visit ancient pyramids because I wanted to stay at the hotel and swim in the pool. I know, I know…I was a lame 10-year old.
Upon arriving here, I have developed  a strong affinity to this little city. Music fills the tightly-packed cobblestone roads, and bright, colorful homes create a meandering maze of beauty that defines the aesthetic of the city. A huge castle fortress surrounds Old San Juan, which truly makes the place feel like something out of the 16th century, while also making me feel protected and at home during my stay. Other than the Subway and Pizza Hut, the stores and restaurants that blend right into the city’s historical architecture are filled with little trinkets and local recipes that glorify the unique culture here.
While trying to capture the beauty of Old San Juan through my iPhone, I realized that photographs, travel blogs and brochures simply don’t do this place (or any place) justice. You can’t smell, taste, or truly feel the alluring atmosphere of Old San Juan until you feel it in person. I feel silly even trying to write about this place or trying to craft the perfect Instagram post because I can’t perfectly elude to its indescribable atmosphere.
To any travelers out there or college students that are planning to study abroad, don’t get too concerned if the lighting isn’t perfect in your pictures or if you can’t articulate your experience perfectly. Take a moment to find a bench, a rock on the beach or even a huge fortress and sit. Reflect. Look at your surroundings, let the air feel your skin, do a little people watching and appreciate the now. The best photo opportunities and times for writing inspiration often happen when you aren’t trying anyway.
Because I grew up in such a small town and haven’t travelled to too many places, my worldview has expanded during my stay in Old San Juan. I already have the itch to book my next flight to a new city- a new adventure- and further that expanding worldview.
I just have one request for my next adventure: to miss my flight and “have” to spend the night in the airport with fellow stragglers. In everyone’s eyes would be sheer frustration. Except me, who’s eyes would be glowing with adrenaline and excitement for being able to cross something off my naive bucket list.