My PARALLAXploration trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico re-opened my eyes to the world and left me with a desire to explore outside my San Diego bubble. It has been about 4 years since I last traveled on a real vacation, so I knew that wherever I ended up on my trip would be an inspiring journey, especially traveling alone for the first time.
Being a new parent and not having a passport narrowed my options a bit, but a quick Google search of “cool places to visit without a passport” led me to the city’s colorful images, and I was instantly sold. Reflecting on my experience, I was surprised by how much I was able to squeeze into 2 ½ days. With only one activity booked ahead of time, I wanted to be completely open as to how things would unfold. This allowed me to become the ultimate observer and keep my eyes peeled for new and inspirational things that would cross my path.
I was most inspired by the history and culture that has been preserved in Old San Juan. A lot of my time was spent wandering through the blue cobble stone streets, admiring the historic Spanish architecture. Each building had unique doors with the exterior walls painted different pastel colors, giving the city so much life, beauty and character. I was able to learn about the importance of Puerto Rico while exploring the El Morro Fortress and Castillo de San Cristóbal. Walking through the tunnels, ramps, and large ancient stone walls definitely brought me back in time to the 16th century when Spain was trying to defend its riches in the New World.
In addition to the city’s history, I was able to get a little taste of the beautiful nature in Puerto Rico. Just an hour drive from the city and we were in El Yunque, the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System. This was the one activity I had planned ahead of time and was very glad because I felt so refreshed from the tropical rain, breathtaking views, and life within the forest.
PARALLAXploration not only gave me an awesome experience in a completely unfamiliar place, but re-sparked my need to always search for inspiration to fuel my creativity. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of your normal day to day so it’s important to slow down, observe your surroundings, and just enjoy. I would definitely visit Puerto Rico again, but only once I learn how to Salsa dance…