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  • Writer's pictureAda Kirby

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing...

This was taken when our bus tour stopped in the hills, giving us a great view of Downtown LA.


Los Angeles, 2014. That was a trip of a lifetime. Taking this spring break trip was so spontaneous and exciting, and it was the best decision of my life. I look at this picture, and I still get butterflies in my stomach. This was the turning point in my life, the beginning of adulthood. It also caused a love for traveling, and that is a flame that will never go out for me. The 18-year-old girl in this picture would be shocked to see where her life is now. I never in a million years expected to be living solo in Los Angeles by 23. I honestly didn't think I could accomplish it, but it happened, and life couldn't be any better.

On a cold winter day, I was studying in the on-campus library with one of my good friends. I'd always dreamed of going to LA, but because I lived in Indiana, I didn't see it as a possibility. Spring break was just around the corner, and we both mentioned to each other that we had never taken a trip. That winter was one of the coldest in Indiana, so we were ready for some warmth. We ended up looking up flights to LA, and we found one we could both afford. That decision to book that flight was by far the best decision of my life.

I know it may not sound like much, but that was a big step for me. I was only eighteen at the time, and I really hadn't travelled much, let alone gone anywhere by myself. This was the first trip both of us had taken without our families. Overall, my excitement outweighed my nervousness. I only ever saw LA as a magical place, full of golden sunshine and celebrities. It almost didn't seem real to me. When I arrived, it was sunny and 83°. I had food poisoning the first day, but I really didn't care. The fact that I was in CALIFORNIA made it all worth it and not all that bad.

It was my first picture of the Hollywood sign.
I took this photo from our shuttle leaving the airport.

Neither one of us had really done much research on what to do in LA. The first thing we did was check out the Walk of Fame, the typical tourist stop. I remember it was so crowded since it was such a nice day. In order to save money, the two of us went into McDonald's and got a smoothie for lunch. We ended up going on one of those big bus tours since we didn't have a car (this was before Uber and Lyft, so all we had were taxis). The guy who ran the tour had a son who went to the same college as us, so he gave us a huge discount. After the tour, we were lucky enough to see a red carpet premiere on Hollywood Boulevard.

The set-up of the "Muppets: Most Wanted" red carpet premiere.

This trip wasn't perfect, of course. A lot of it was just poor planning, but hey, we were eighteen, so we get a pass, right? Other than the food poisoning, there were some unfortunate events that occurred. First, I decided to pack shoes that were cute instead of comfortable. I didn't anticipate all the walking that we were going to do. I had massive blisters on my feet pretty much the whole trip. Also, rather than taking taxis around town, we decided that we would use the bus for transportation. My friend used the bus in our hometown, so she was confident that she knew how the system worked, but that was in a town full of 80,000, not 4,000,000. Long story short, we ended up taking the wrong bus and ending up in East LA, one of the most dangerous spots. Here we were, clearly tourists, in a place we didn't belong. This was a scary moment, but luckily we made it back safe and sound.

This was the view from the Salt Lake City airport.

Since we were on a college student budget, our trip didn't last the full week. We only stayed for four nights, so we packed in as much as we could in those days. It was in the eighties when we got to LAX. We got word that our plane was being rerouted due to heavy snowfall in Detroit, which was where our flight was supposed to have a layover. It was hard to believe that in a just a few hours we would be leaving the golden sunshine for many inches of snow. Our plane was rerouted to Salt Lake City, Utah instead. I had never seen the Rockies before, so getting a chance to fly over them was incredible. The furthest west I had been was Illinois, so seeing these mountains were breathtaking. The landing was a little rough, but the view was worth it.

We had a three hour layover in Salt Lake City, and we were starving. I always hate paying for airport food because the prices are outrageous, but I was willing to make an exception. They had a lot of meal options in the airport, and my friend really wanted Chinese food. I really didn't care for Chinese food at the time, but I decided to get what she wanted. After we were done, we opened our fortune cookies together. Mine said "life is either a daring adventure, or nothing". I felt lame tearing up over a fortune cookie, but I just felt that it couldn't have been more perfect. I was so proud of myself for going outside of my comfort zone and for taking a step towards my goals. This fortune has been a motto of mine ever since, and I knew that it was just the beginning to many adventures to come.


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