Getting in a Plane and Hitting the Pavement

This summer I’ve had so many friends study abroad. Whether it’s Italy, Spain, or England, my pals are globetrotting while I am trotting around my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my family, but at the same time, it has me wondering when I’m going to finally explore the world. Countless people have told me that I HAVE to get out and see the sights and I think ultimately, I’d be happier for it.

But here’s my dilemma. If I’m going to travel to Europe—especially to Italy—the last thing I want to do is be stuck in the library studying for a test. Just like I want to eat that gelato guilt-free, I want to explore a country guilt-free without an exam looming over my head. I know that many of you study abroad and I’m all for it if that’s what strikes your interest, but personally, I want to be free of textbooks, timelines, and tests when I make it out of the states.

Next summer, I want to travel. It’s high time. After being in stuck in bed the past three days after my wisdom teeth surgery (the recovery hasn’t exactly been a cake walk), I’ve been day dreaming about distant locations—hence this post. Whether it’s Italy, Australia, or Costa Rica, I am itching to instigate a foreign adventure. It’s time to break out of my comfort zone and get candid with other countries.

So I want your input. Where have you traveled and where do you want to travel in the future? What places have brought you the most happiness in your life?

Let’s hit the road!

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

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  1. Roscel says:

    Hey Lauren! I did not want to study abroad either- I wanted to be free of exams and textbooks while I was abroad. I suggest you take a look at Topdeck Travel. I went away for a month and traveled with a group of 20-somethings. It was the best experience of my life and the price did not put a huge dent in my wallet. Happy travels, love!

    Posted on 8.1.11 | Reply
  2. I, unfortunately, have not traveled outside of the US. But one place that my husband and I traveled to for our honeymoon, was Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was so wonderful.

    The weather was perfect all day. There a mountains every direction you turn. All of the food is organic. The people there genuinely care about themselves, take care of each other, and the environment. I want to live there one day with my husband.

    As a “sunny” girl, you would love it. 🙂

    Posted on 8.2.11 | Reply
  3. Lauren Beltran says:

    Lauren!! I am so glad you want to travel. The past four years I have been very lucky and have been able to see many beautiful countries- my favorite was Spain and Italy! My Spanish roots made me feel at home when I stepped foot in Barcelona. Also the Amalfi Coast was amazing!! I hope your mouth is feeling better!
    Love you!

    Posted on 8.2.11 | Reply
  4. Alexa Herrera says:


    First off, I hope you are doing well and still enjoying UCLA!! So cute you and Greg are still together 🙂 It was wonderful meeting you at the fraternity san diego thing, and I do look at your website when I can (mostly when I remember to). But I want to say that it is amazing how encouraging you are and how you have devoted yourself to living an optimistic life. Everyone can use a good talk about how to stay positive and remember the good things in life.

    As far as travelling, I am currently doing a semester (study abroad) in Australia. I am in South Australia right now, specifically in the city of Adelaide, and I have to tell you it is more than wonderful. I have plans to travel to Sydney and Melbourne this upcoming September, which I am really looking forward to because, well, that is primarily what we know of in the states when we think of Australia. But life on the southern edge of the country has been spectacular. I swear I have never met friendlier people in my life, or more hospitable for that matter. They love international people (specifically Americans), and think we are hilarious. It has been great learning about their culture and showing them ours, and it is a beautiful country on top of it -clean streets, laid back atmosphere, and lots of things to do- so that is always a bonus. If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend it. If you are in the mood for a coffee though, make sure you say Long Black, because coffee doesnt exist as a word over here. I have also been to Costa Rica 2 times- once for a vacation and once for a 6 week immersion volunteer program. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, full of lush rainforests, cultural food, and a very heart-warming atmosphere. What I loved about Costa Rica was that compared to the States, they have so much less, except they are about 1,000 times happier than an average American. They value their friends and family to the very end and would stop at nothing to make them happy. Costa Ricans value life and it is really nice to be around. When I did my volunteer program (through a company called Global Routes), I stayed in a small village with no paved roads, no hot running water, and no luxuries like T.V. The family slept on a board covered in blankets as their type of mattress, and the son would have to walk 1.5 miles every day in the mud to get to school. (I participated in all of this too). It was mind blowing. And unless you have a strong stomach and good immune system, I would not recommend such an intense trip. But when I came home, I’ll never forget thinking “damn, am I lucky and why am I so angry at stuff all the time.” It is a truly beautiful place. I hope to one day go to Europe as well, once I am finished with my 4 years at UH Manoa, and if you do end up travelling there, have a wonderful time and tell me how it is. But whatever you decide, I’m sure you will have the best time you could imagine because the world holds so much, and its just a matter of discovering it.

    -Alexa Herrera

    Posted on 8.3.11 | Reply

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