Travel Diaries: California

Instead of hopping off a plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan, I flew into Palm Springs International Airport with my family this past December. While traveling cross country during a pandemic was a stressful feat, watching my oldest brother get married made it all worth it. Welcoming my sister-in-law into the family, spending time with my siblings, and eating In-N-Out were other reasons I’m glad we still pushed through with our trip despite the nerves.

After flying from Philadelphia to Dallas to Palm Springs, we were absolutely exhausted once we touched down in California. As soon as we got to our hotel, seeing my oldest brother and his fiance reminded us of our why: to celebrate their love and have a fun time with family. After two years of a pandemic, we definitely deserved it.

Our first day ended off with checking into our hotel and settling down until we crashed later that night. Day two was full of exploring Downtown Palm Springs. We had a family breakfast at a local restaurant and relaxed until the rehearsal dinner later that night. The scenery that surrounded us was beautiful: lush palm trees, a close mountain range that was clearly seen wherever you went, and various types of greenery.

Day three was the most special: everyone helped set up the wedding venue and later that day, vows were exchanged. Those in attendance may or may not have shed a tear while watching my brother and sister-in-law get married; it was a beautiful sight. It was supposed to rain that day, but it held off completely and we were graced with beautiful weather. The wedding took place at the hotel we all were staying at and the venue was absolutely stunning. It was an open concept, had a pool right next to it, and everyone mingled for hours (with masks on). The atmosphere of the wedding radiated love, joy, and happiness for the new couple.

The next couple of days were spent in Pioneertown, which was right outside of Joshua Tree National Park. The motel and town we were staying in resembled a wild west movie, so it was a surreal thing to experience in real life. We also went into the National Park itself and explored the various trails and rock formations. After relaxing in this area of California, we then made our way to Los Angeles where we spent a couple of days doing typical tourist things. We then flew out of LAX and landed at the Philadelphia International Airport.

While traveling and being in another state on the other side of the country during a pandemic made us nervous, we were all very careful and masked up for the entirety of

the trip. These past two years have stolen a lot of things from everyone, so spending a week purely focusing on family, happiness, and love was exactly what we needed.

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