If there’s one thing I am and one thing I’ll always be is an Island Girl. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I have a passion for sunshine, palm trees and cocktails on the beach. So you can imagine my excitement when my good friend and publicist extraordinaire Danielle Logan and her amazing boss lady, Jody Diamond, from Diamond Public Relations, invited me on the trip of a lifetime known as “Bare Feet San Juan” with a group of journalists.
Hosted by the San Juan Marriott and Stellaris Casino, the trip included dance lessons. I left Puerto Rico when I was 22 seeking bigger dreams and aspirations of mine in Miami. Dancing salsa I had attempted, but never the ever-local “bomba y plena,” where one wears a long skirt and challenges a man drumming away to the beat of your movements. While dancing my way through Miami clubs in my 20s wasn’t an issue, I was afraid of taking salsa and “bomba” lessons in Puerto Rico. Yet, when I tried it, I was surprised to see that I was a natural. As natural as I could be at least. Yet, I surprised myself with the challenge and by the end of the trip all my fears were set aside as I danced the night away at a local bar in Santurce with locals.
If there’s anything I learned about this trip, as I explored the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and its rich history, it’s that no matter how far away you go home is where the heart is. A part of my heart will always be in Puerto Rico, where my mother and father still reside, where I met my first love, where I eagerly started my writing career, where I grew up and learned to simply be myself. Having that Latina background makes me proud, even now more in my 30s. I feel a sense of wonder and I am so thankful every time I set foot on the island and marvel at its beaches, its people and memories flood back of the places I discovered growing up with friends. It was great to see my parents and friends and to explore my island from a different perspective.
It was exciting to go back and to see family and to see it from a travel writer perspective for Where Traveler. Even more exciting is that you, my dear reader, can also have this opportunity. Mickela Mallozzi, creator of the Bare Feet experience, is offering a Bare Feet tour in San Juan where you can also dance the days away in this tropical paradise. For more information on this, check out www.TravelBareFeet.com and for my complete travel story, stay tuned to www.wheretraveler.com. Why venture to Puerto Rico, you might ask? Why not? If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my life is that I am proud to be an Island Girl, filled with a sunny disposition and with dreams to discover new things about yourself and a sense of adventure. I hope that you as well will find your own Island Girl deep down inside wherever your travels and sense of discovery might take you.