Many of you may not know that I just returned from a 2 1/2 week cross country trip from California to New York and back again. My boyfriend, my 3 children, our German Shepherd “Atticus” and myself drove almost 4 days from California to New York. Although we were returning for a more somber moment, we decided to make it an adventure that I believed would be a good experience for us all. My boyfriend’s father had recently passed away while he was in California and was unable to fly back home at the time. So we decided that this would be a good time for us to take this trip because we knew that this trip was going to give all of us a new perspective on each other and give us an experience that would be beneficial to all of us. With the pandemic hitting us all hard and putting more of a stress on our mental heath and making it hard to socialize with others, we knew that this would provide the break that we all needed mentally and spiritually. We also knew that it would create a unique bonding experience for all of us as a family.

So we headed out on a Thursday and began our journey east. Our first state was Nevada, which has always been a favorite state of mine, being that I lived there for eight years. We then went into Wyoming. This was also such a beautiful state. Full of trees and great wilderness. When I began this trip, I knew I wanted to soak it all in. Take the time to really be present with my family in these moments. I was ecstatic about taking in all the sights and getting to travel in a way most don’t. My boyfriend has a YouTube channel that he started a while back, and some of his subscribers had mentioned places for us to visit while on our trip. One of those places was Mt. Rushmore. We knew that this would be a majestic place for the kids to visit and learn some history at the same time.

South Dakota was one of my favorite states. It was aesthetically pleasing to our eyes. They had such a beautiful landscape. The people there were also so kind and hospitable. It was a pleasant experience. Their food and service was wonderful. As we sat and ate, I was able to sit and talk to my kids about the trip and how it is important to always chase after what your passion is. Being grateful with the opportunities that we have been given and making the best out of it. Living your best life and striving to be a better you everyday is what should motivate you. It was a time of learning for all of us.

As we drove through middle America, we experienced so many different sights and ate all types of food. For instance, we stopped in Chicago to sight see and enjoy authentic Chicago pizza. We stopped in Pennsylvania and had some great food there as well. We were very excited to get to New York. Though the drive there proved to be at times a bit overwhelming, we all learned new coping skills and how to practice patience with one another. My children also had to learn how to deal with each other being that they had to spend every moment with their brother/sister for long hours at times. Learning how to entertain each other and find creative ways to make the drive more interesting.

I realized that when you set your mind to do what you are really passionate about and are determined, the universe has a way of setting everything in motion for things to fall in place. After 3 1/2 days of driving and being forced to learn how to deal with each other in very close quarters, we finally reached New York. Being that I went with my boyfriend who was raised in the Bronx, we had our own private tour guide. The next four days were so amazing and inspiring. It made me appreciate everything that our good God put on this earth for us to enjoy. It was another world there. The people, the style, the food, everything was different. Being in Times Square was an exhilarating moment and more beautiful than I had imagined. Being that we were visiting during the pandemic, everything was less crowded, so we were able to enjoy a little more without the hustle and bustle of New York. Seeing the exquisite buildings and the beautiful lights everywhere was breathtaking and inspiring.

I found myself being more than just grateful but blessed to have experienced such an amazing trip with those that I love most. It was eye-opening and refreshing to be able to travel in this way. A great way for me to see the world in a whole new different light and give me hope that even with all the traumas and scars, it is not too late to begin living a better, more wise, more refined version of me. It’s never too late for any of us. The mind is a powerful tool that only you have control of. As long as you really want the help and really want to change, your mind is capable of anything. And there are always resources available for help.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact NAMI Helpline 1-800-950-NAMI or

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