It has been a while since the last time I had a chance to write one of these but I have been a little busy…
Since that last post was published at the start of November, I have been to ten different countries and have taken fifty two flights in just these last couple of months. I have made a trip around the world, not once but twice, and let me tell ya, these 16.5 hour long flights are no joke.
Started with playing BJK Cup in Mexico, which was so special as playing for my country on a national stage has always been a dream of mine. From Mexico, I headed off to Italy for a tournament. I actually ended up flying to Serbia and then driving to Italy, making it a road trip with one of my closest friends, and to have her there with me during that week was truly memorable.
My following trip was quite different. After a lot of struggle to get the visa and somehow making it happen the evening before my flight, I was headed to India for two weeks. From Italy’s Dolomites and snowy days with indoor tennis to India’s heat and humidity, I had quite the transition. Yet, getting to experience India and its unique culture was fascinating. From riding autos to the courts every day, switching multiple hotels within just a week, to meeting some great people and learning so much about their unique culture. Also after trying their food, I have realized that I have no tolerance for any spice whatsoever which was truly disappointing on my end.
From India, I made my way across the world, across the North Pole actually, back to the Unites States, to Los Angeles this time, for a few weeks. Came here for a tournament but ended up spending some quality time with a few people I care for a lot that truly made it feel like home for me, which is rare when you spend most of your time living out of a suitcase.
With the start of a new year, new college season started as well. This past school year I had been volunteering and helping out with the Texas Tech women’s tennis team whenever I wasn’t away for my tournaments. It might have added a few extra sky miles and flights to my list with all their trips that I went along with, but it really was a great experience that thought me so much not only about myself as a player, as I got to see things from a coach’s perspective, but also made me appreciate even more college athletics and everything they do for their athletes and staff.
My next tournament was in Guadeloupe. It was quite hard to get to the island as the only direct flights from the US to the island were from New York City, but it was so worth it. I don’t get to travel with my dad often so having him there and spending some quality time with him really made that trip special. We met some incredible people who were very welcoming and kind, got to try their delicious cuisine and even got to experience their earthquakes, which seems to be a normal thing there. I however was not prepared for that as our apartment was on a ninth floor and I woke up on a morning of my semifinal match to my bed absolutely shaking and those thirty seconds to a minute felt like the longest seconds ever.
Last but not least, my last trip was quite an adventure. Went from spending two weeks in Canada, with some old friends and some new ones, to then flying all the way to Indonesia for a week and then Japan for two weeks before flying to Turkey for another BJK Cup held in Antalya. Looking back I probably wouldn’t make this trip again, would hopefully separate them into few different ones as I did not realize how far Indonesia is from Japan and I will definitely have to do my match and scheduling better next time. Yet something that made this trip unique is I got to spend it with one of my closest friends and without her there, my experience wouldn’t nearly be as fun or memorable. Japan has been a country on top of my bucket list for a very long time now as I have so much respect for their culture and people, and the kindness I have experienced during my time there was something I have never felt before coming from a stranger and I cannot wait to be back one day.
Looking back at the last few months, all the traveling and flying to and from Asia twice on different occasions, new countries and some that I have already visited before, all the different tournaments, cultures, cuisines, and places. I’m so grateful for all the new experience and lessons learned along the way, but I’m most grateful for the people I got to spend it with. Even from all the flying, I got to spend some amazing time with few of my closest friends, got to meet some incredible people along the way from many different places, learn their stories, and create some new friendships. What more can a girl ask for? This lifestyle really is a grind but the lessons learned and friendships made sure are worth it.
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