In 2020, my dad passed away unexpectedly but peacefully back home. But due to the 2-week quarantine requirement, I was unable to attend his funeral. This, combined with my frustration due to the pandemic, made me realize that I needed a mental health break.
A few weeks later, during February vacation, I decided to seek tropical escape and sunshine, I did my due diligence in assessing the risk of traveling during COVID-19, Puerto Rico came up on the top. The flight was only $200 and just four hours ride from Boston.
Once I got to San Juan, I soaked in the sun while listening to salsa music on the beach. Through outdoor yoga, exploring the rainforest, and paddle boarding in the lagoon, I reconnected with nature. Taking in positive energy from the fresh air, the smell of Puerto Rican coffee, and the island’s natural landscapes helped me heal my body and soul. I felt alive again. But I have always believed that genuine happiness comes from helping other people, so I came back in the summer to connect with local NGOs and try to find ways to create social impact. At the end of my trip in August, I was elated with my travel Impactful result: helping a local charity raise fifteen thousand dollars!
This MLK weekend, as New England’s weather got colder, I missed the warm sun of Puerto Rico. So I decided to return, and I discovered another reason why Puerto Rico is so magical: being able to connect with diverse and like-minded people. I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful fashion model from Poland, @Julia. She taught me how to pose as a model. I had so much fun pretending I was walking down the runway at the Paris fashion show.
Puerto Rico is such a majestic island—the rich history, the only tropical rainforest in the US, and of course, the beach. Most importantly, it is the welcoming people who treat me like a family every time I return, which fuels my desire to give back to the local community. Puerto Rico feels like a second home to me although I am currently separated from my mother and family in Hong Kong.
Thank you Puerto Rico for saving my body and soul. I am now more confident than ever in facing what’s coming in 2022 and beyond. I am so grateful.