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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Montclair chapter.

So how does one spend their last summer without stress from a job? The short answer is to have the most incredible adventures and live life to the fullest. Keep reading to learn about my most incredible summer to date and how I distracted it in the afterglow! 

I first started my summer by going to a place named after me, Holleywood…sorry Hollywood. This was my first time ever going to California. It has been a dream of mine to go ever since I learned about the glitz and glam of the movie industry and the stars. I spent nine days there and went to all the known places, such as the Hollywood Boulevard/Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign. I did a five-mile hike through Joshua Tree National Park. I stayed in Long Beach but also traveled out to a Temecula winery. I also went to  Santa Monica Pier and  Laguna Beach to do a bit of ocean sightseeing. As you can see, I went all over Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Still, some of the most memorable moments were when I saw the Hollywood sign for the first time.  I went to the Gucci store on Rodeo Drive and bought lipstick, went to Catalina Island, and went dancing one night at a bar called Gaslamp. 

After my Hollywood extravaganza, it was time to head back to New Jersey. But I didn’t stay put for too long because after a month home, I was on the road again with my grandmother, heading to Lake George. I had never been there, but it was the most relaxing trip of all my summer travels. My grandmother and I stayed at a quaint small hotel about a 10-minute walk from town and had some amazing food there. One of our favorite places to dine would be eating at the Lobster Pot. Other than that, we did everything there was to do in town; we mini golfed, took a three-hour boat ride named the Mohican around the lake, went shopping in the town, saw Fort William Henry and made a candle. Also, we did a few escape rooms that they had located downtown. One of our favorite activities was walking around the lake in the early morning; we would sit by the waterfront and watch the boats launch off. When we were done, we would get ice cream. I think this is a trip neither she nor I will ever forget. 

I returned home, staying with my grandmother on the third of July, and had to start packing immediately because I was to leave again on the fifth for Florida. This was my first two-day turnaround trip, and I was very anxious about packing and unpacking. It was a lot, but I like the chaotic energy sometimes in a good way. So on the Fourth of July, I was three-quarters of the way packed and was able to celebrate America with my family and attend our town-wide picnic. 

The following day I jetted to Florida, and I can confidently say that Florida is one of my favorite places to visit and one day see it as my retirement state. This trip was not full of theme parks like most people would go for but instead state exploration. On this trip, my aunt and I decided to take a trip to Fort Myers, which I found was a very hip place. It was a wonderful bonding experience for us and educational as we visited the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford winter homes. We also took a Murder Mystery Dinner Train ride on one of the evenings, which was thrilling but sadly, I did not guess the killer correctly. While in Florida, I went to my regular favorite places, such as Brevard County Zoo and Disney Springs where I had my very first cold brew from Gideons. We also did an escape room together in downtown Melbourne, and we were just a step away from getting out in time. 

Then just like that, it was time to go home again, and by the time I got home, I was tired and had felt traveled out for once in my life. So I stayed home for the rest of the summer, focusing on certain long-overdue things such as deep cleaning my room, preparing for the upcoming school year and doing some self-care reflection. While reflecting on my travels, I noticed I had tons and tons of fun, but more importantly, I grew in many ways and loved myself more. 

Traveling doesn’t just open your eyes to cultural aspects but an inner personal blooming and understanding of oneself. I learned to love the qualities that make me feel unconfident and strengthen what makes me who I am. It also opened my eyes to what I still need to work on to progress in this world which I am still working on. Sadly, it’s not a switch but a changing mindset you must adapt to because no one else can do it for you. So I hope after reading this, you can take a step back and reflect on your summer moments but then look for the core of it all and find your inner blooming and theme of the heart of summer. 

Holley is currently a senior at Montclair State University; she majors in English and minors in Business. Her wish is to pursue a career in music marketing. Holley thinks writing is a way to heal oneself and inspire others. Besides writing, she likes catching up on social media and reading graphic novels.