Later in my teen years and my adult life, I continued to travel extensively both within the U.S. and outside of it. I have been blessed to be able to do this. My father always felt it was important to be introduced to other cultures, to see other places and I subscribe to this belief as well. I have been to many places that have left an indelible mark on my soul. I often find myself thinking of these places I have loved:
Paris, France: Everyone thinks of the Eiffel Tower when they think of Paris. And while the Eiffel Tower is a large part of the city, it is not the only part. I visited Paris for three way too short days in the summer of 1993. The city is alive with history and there is something about the atmosphere that makes you long for weeks of free time to explore everything it has to offer. More than the major monuments, Paris offers the opportunity to live the things you've only heard about. There is nothing like seeing the Mona Lisa in person. It is spectacular to see this most amazing work of art right in front of you, to see the colors, the brush strokes. It is an experience that will never be forgotten.
Paris is also the place that I ate snails for the first time. There is something about being in a foreign land that makes you more adventurous, more willing to open yourself up to something new and different.
Cozumel, Mexico: I first visited Cozumel in May 2004 with a friend from law school. I was still recovering from a horrible breakup and my heart was on the mend, but not quite there yet. This island in Mexico offered me the chance to let it all go once and for all, to heal completely by the most amazing blue water anywhere in the world. I was there for seven days and it was one of the best weeks of my life. I snorkeled for the first time, ate wonderful, authentic Mexican food, and realized that life does go on and our greatest setbacks can be our greatest triumphs.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica: This city is home to Dunn River Falls, which I visited in February 2008. The Falls are stunning and climbing them is an experience not to be forgotten. The falls are roughly 600 feet and the climb is done with other people forming a human chain to assist one another. There are places where you can stop and feel the water rushing over you, the air rushing around you, and life standing still.
Grand Cayman Island: There is something about this place that is indescribable. It is one of the most peaceful places you will ever visit and it makes you feel like life doesn't have to be hectic and crazy. There are places in this world that appreciate a slower pace and a literal breath of fresh air.
Nuremburg, Germany: I visited this city in July 1993 when I was 17 years old. My German sister-in-law and I had one of the best nights ever in this town. We laughed, we drank, we played, we danced...it was amazing. One of the best experiences of my life.
London, England: This was a stop on a two-week trip to Europe in 1995. I met one of my dearest friends on this trip. She was an American traveling alone as well and we ended up being placed in the same room. It turned out that she was from San Antonio, my father's hometown. I was in college in Oregon at the time. We decided to keep in touch and for years we sent handwritten letters back and forth. Later, we would send e-mails. I attended her wedding in 2000 in San Antonio.
In addition to meeting my dear friend on this trip, I saw the crown jewels, the Tower of London, The Tower Bridge, and ate at a medieval dinner where silverware was not an option. Eat with your hands or starve. The wait staff doubled as medieval entertainers and they did a fantastic job.
Las Vegas, Nevada: I have been to Sin City four times and each time has brought something new and fun. My first trip was in 1998, a present to myself for graduating college. I took my mother along and we had a fantastic five days in Vegas.My next trips to Vegas were in 2004, 2008, and 2009. New and exciting experiences always await in Vegas!