What do you do when you’re fresh out of college and landed a job in your desired field, but still don’t
make enough to make it on your own? Blow it all on a trip to California! Probably not the best piece of
advice for a newbie in the career world, actually definitely not, but absolutely worth it when it means
being able to reconnect with one of your first cousins and experience the trip of a lifetime.
Growing up on the East Coast, specifically a little place (with a big personality) called Boston, I’ve always
been fascinated with the wild, wild west. Mainly because they have palm trees, the temperature never
dips below “sweater weather”, and there are stars that aren’t just the ones in the night sky. Even though
I’ve been to California once before, I was genuinely in awe that the only essential item I needed when
leaving the apartment was sunglasses and not a puffer jacket..in November.
The trip was packed with sight seeing, hiking, lavish eating, WINE, and shopping. Lots and lots of
shopping. No really, my wallet is still in tears and my closet in shambles. I mean, at least I have all these
pretty things now to distract me from the stress of being a poor twenty-something, right? JUSTIFIED.
And to top it all off, there was the casual day trip to wine country…in a 4 seater plane. I’m talking smart
car-in-the-sky small. Mind you, I already see every flight as a death sentence, but this one took the cake.
But I followed my older cousin’s example, who was handling it much better than myself, and put on a
brave face. She actually even flew the plane at one point with natural ease, which I will continue to be
At some point between soaring over the LA coast, weaving through the mountains, and up through the
clouds, I found myself in deep reflection (or paralysis) and thinking wow, I can’t believe at just barely
twenty-three years of age I’m lucky enough to have already experienced a once-in-a-lifetime kind of
opportunity. And at that moment, all my fears sort of melted away. My very real fear of flying, but also
my questions and concerns about the future. What’s next, where will my life lead me, and how do I
create a new version of myself outside of the collegiate bubble? It may not be as extreme as taking a
private flight to wine country, but the realization is still the same. And at some point or another, all of us
have these fleeting moments of clarity where everything makes sense, simply because we learn to trust
in ourselves, that the more we try and control the more difficult it becomes, and that we will all end up
right where we’re supposed to be.
Upon my return to Boston, I had not only a greater sense of self and fulfillment, but a stronger bond
with my cousin as well. As first cousins (and being very Greek we take that seriously), she’s basically the
closest thing I’ll have to a sister and I’m so grateful to have been able to spend this time with her. So
thank you, Alex, for being a superior cousin and role model, and for reminding me that your twenties
aren’t just about trying to land the next big promotion, they’re about letting go of your fear to fly.
By Christen Baglaneas