Category: My Life

Happy One Year Blogiversary!

My Life

Happy One Year Blogiversary!

I cannot believe I began Melody Wanders one year ago this week! It has been an incredible journey to be able to travel and write about my experiences for all to see! I learned so much about myself, this blog, people and most of all how wonderful life can be. I write a list (of course) of a couple of things I absolutely love about this blog, the most popular things I wrote, my favorite things to write about and what I’ve learned. So crank open a glass of wine and celebrate with me!

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My Travel Plans for 2017!

My Life

My Travel Plans for 2017!

Today marks the first day of my new adventure! My parents have sold our home; I’ve quit my job and I’m ready to take on the world! Although this may seem crazy to some people, I’ve never felt more free and happy in my life. I’m so excited to see where the next few months will take me and I can’t wait to bring you guys along with me.

Road Trip

Although this country has gone through a lot over the past few months, it’s time to find the beauty in it. I’m heading west to hit up many famous cities across the states.

I’ve traveled many times abroad so I am amazed by my lack of travel right here in my own home country. I’m excited to see parts of the United States I’ve never been to before. America is so large and vastly different from state to state and I look forward to experiencing American culture in ways that I haven’t before.

Cruising!

I’m going back on my absolute favorite form of transportation and traveling east to Europe! The cruise will be stopping all along the Caribbean to visit five different islands. So, I’ll get to write to you guys about all the amazing things I see and do while on and off the cruise.

Europe

My parents’ anniversary is in June and we’re all planning to visit different countries across Europe. It truly is one of my favorite continents in the world and despite how I left it a few months ago, I’m overjoyed and grateful to get the chance to go back.

Saturday Specials!

Although it will not happen every single Saturday, I’m thrilled to announce that I will be posting a travel vlog on here as a Saturday Special on occasion! You’ll be able to find me on YouTube as Melody Wanders. This way you guys can truly come along with me on this crazy journey I’m about to take!

I hope in the next few months these posts will be able to inspire you all to go out there and live as fearlessly as you can, because life is short. Instead of waiting for a perfect moment to live your dream life, I want you guys to go out and do what makes you happy, which will lead you to that dream life. So, make those dream boards and take that first scary step, because anything is possible in this universe meant for dreamers.

Detained at a London Airport

My Life Travel Stories

Detained at a London Airport

What makes a criminal? Is it by the skin they have? The religion they believe in? The country they live in? Or by the actions they take? While this may seem like an easy answer with it being that criminals are the ones who have done wrong doings, certain people with privileged lives might see it differently. Those people can look at you and with nothing but past events by bad people who look like you or believe in the same thing, they can decide that you’re a bad person too.

I think back on this day often in my mind and I ponder on what went wrong. Did I leave the plane too fast after we landed? If I had just waited a few minutes to enjoy a view, would I still have the same outcome? Maybe there’s another universe with another version of me who lands from Vienna to London and catches the flight to Dublin she was supposed to take. She has an amazing week in Ireland, she heads back to England to be a bridesmaid for her best friend and then only when she is good and ready, she goes home. As much as I envy that version of myself, I am not that girl. I am, however, the girl who rushes to catch her flight from London to Ireland and gets to border control where she is then detained for sixteen hours in a room meant for criminals to then be kicked out of England for false accusations. I am this girl and this is my story.

I arrived to the airport two hours before my flight from Vienna to London, but it got delayed for forty-five minutes which was a little alarming because I still had a flight to catch from London to Dublin. But as I sat there at the gate waiting, I thought everything would be fine and I would arrive to Dublin with no problems.

The flight from Vienna to London was short and uneventful and I remember feeling anxious to get off the plane once we landed because the only thing going on in my mind was that I didn’t want to miss the next flight. I rushed to border control, that I’ve gone through many times, thinking it would be an easy process and I would quickly be on my way.

I got in line with the rest of the foreigners who were also not U.K residents and I waited, when the lady in front of me was nearly called she told me to go ahead because she had to finish writing her papers. I didn’t think anything of this precise moment, but that’s when everything changed. Maybe this was the universe’s way of saving me from something bigger but I’ll never know from what.

I was up next and I got called to walk over to where the U.K citizens go through because their line was short and one of the ladies working at the booth was free. I am no stranger to being nice to border control agents because I know how mean and aggressive they can sometimes be and I just kept on my happy attitude.

I walked up to the booth and said hello to the lady who ignored me and took my passport and papers. She was blonde around her early to mid-thirties, she looked sad and angry like she had had a bad day or this was the reaction to a bad life.

“Where are you coming from?” She asked uninterested.

“Vienna” I told her.

“What were you doing in Vienna?”

This is another one of those moments, I can see that shifted itself to what would become my reality. I panicked at the question because my mind suddenly ran back to when my boss from the summer camp I worked at took my passport along with everyone else’s to legally make sure we were able to work for the company. But I couldn’t remember if my boss had written something on the passport to say I had worked.

So I told her “Um, I was working throughout Italy and Austria teaching children English.”

“Do you have a work permit?” She asked suddenly.

“No, but we signed papers to make it all legal that I have in my suitcase but it’s checked in” I said.

She then asked when I arrived to Europe and I told her I had come on a cruise back in May but I had only stayed in London for three days.

“Do you have a ticket home?” She asked me.

“Yes, it’s for the twenty-eighth of this month out of this airport, but I’m going to Ireland now and I’ll be back to go to my friend’s wedding in Cornwall.” I told her, still thinking everything was fine despite the amount of questions. She told me that I was going to be England’s problem then if I was coming back.

She asked to see my ticket home which were in my emails and I didn’t think to print out. I told her I couldn’t pull it up on my phone because there was no Wi-Fi.

“Why do you have so many stamps?” This question struck me as odd because why would anyone have stamps in their passport. It meant they had traveled, gone places and lived. I got my passport a few months after my eighteenth birthday and even though it had only been two years, it had filled up quite a bit. So I just answered that I traveled a lot.

That was when, I guess, she had heard enough and she sent me to sit down in a small area in the middle of border control where people had to wait if they had forgotten or lost their passports or for one man who look middle eastern but carried an Irish accent, they were checking to make sure his Ireland passport was legit because he had seemed a bit too different.

After an hour of wondering how much longer I’d be waiting, they called me up and walked me over to grab my luggage. We then walked into an area I would soon find out was the detainment area. At first I waited in a small room that looked like it was meant for criminal investigations, with a table and two chairs opposite of each other.

Two different women came in, one to check through my bag and the other to search me for anything that seemed suspicious. The one who looked though my bags was older and seemed nice. We chatted about life, the weather and she told me I would have an interview soon.

The second was closer to my age and I talked to her about Cornwall and my friend’s wedding that I was to attend. She got a surprised look on her face and asked me “Do you know what you’re here for? I told her I didn’t. She shook her head like she knew something I didn’t, not as too why I was there but that I wasn’t going to be leaving anytime soon.

They then sent me to the final detainment area where I heard they could keep you for twenty-four hours and that’s when reality hit me as I sat down and looked around. I was in a small white room with red chairs facing a wall and a hospital looking TV that was hanging overhead.

The gravity of the situation hit as this odd American women started talking to me and she told me her story on how she had arrived to England wanting to start a new life. There was another man who was big and bulky wearing a grey suit and he was sweating profusely but he kept his gaze on the ground as he sat there not moving.

With everything hitting me all at once, I kept thinking these people were criminals. That’s not me. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but maybe neither had they. Another man came in, this one was younger and he seemed as panicked as I felt about the whole thing. He was wearing a red sweater. I never got anyone’s name but I will always be upset that I never got his, so I call him Red.

I was there for less than thirty minutes when I got called for my interview where a very nice old man sat with me and interviewed me and wrote everything down. I told him exactly when I arrived, where I had been, when I was leaving and how much money I had. He was really cool, we chatted about interesting American cities and I thought the interview had gone well and this would all turn out to be a mistake.

When I walked back to the room it was empty, the lady and the sweating man had gone and I was relieved because they had both seemed a bit odd and I don’t know with everything if I could handle them.

Red walked back to the room shortly after me and he seemed as upset as I was but we didn’t speak. Because this was a detainment area, I wasn’t allowed anything but the clothes I had on and to stay in the room that was locked from the outside where we were watched by security. I was finally allowed my phone call after my interview and I called my parents, who I’m sure were worried because I would have landed in Ireland already. I told them what had happened to me but I was still optimistic about the situation and that I would arrive to Dublin that night.

I hung up the phone call with my parents and ate some disgusting microwave food they had available to hold me over until I could leave this jail cell I was in. I began talking to Red and he told me he was thirty-one from Miami, Florida out of all places in the world. He had been just finished studying in Madrid and he had wanted to travel after studying so thought he could go to England as a student and leave with a tourist visa. It didn’t work out and there he was with me in a holding cell. He was extremely nice, and not in the way guys were nice to girls in order to gain something but nice in the way that he was kind and felt like a friend. We spoke about our lives and I remember seeing movies in a container we could watch and because I didn’t know how long the decision for us to stay was going to take I thought we should watch Jurassic Park to distract our minds.

But the old man who interviewed me finally came in to deliver the new and handed me some papers and for a moment I thought this was it, I’m free.

But he told me that he had given his bosses everything and they made the decision to not allow me to enter the country. My heart froze. He handed me a piece of paper stating that because I had worked in Europe illegally (which was false), they said I had no care for immigration laws and they believed I wanted to work in England. But it was all lies and I was at a loss for words. That is when I finally broke down and cried.

It felt like all my fears hit me at once as I realize I wouldn’t visit Dublin, see my friends in London and the worst, not be a part of my best friend’s wedding that I had been so excited to attend. I sobbed big sloppy tears and my chest felt like it was aching. The man told me that I would be in the room until three in the afternoon the next day on a flight back to Vienna. I had entered to the room at five meaning I would have to wait in this hellhole for twenty-two hours. I just cried more and Red came by with tissues for me to wipe my tears.

When the man left, I told Red that I was innocent and they were making me out to be this criminal I wasn’t. I felt hopeless and lost.

I thought about all the mistakes I could have done to have gotten me to the position I was in. Were they right? Was I a criminal? I stopped myself because how cruel could these people have been to make an innocent girl in love with the world think she was anything but amazing and make her question her own integrity. This tight space in the too brightly lit room with all its emptiness was filling my head with hateful words and lies. I could do nothing but listen to it and that was the worst pain of all. I could escape myself, the situation or my breaking heart.

I called my family and as they listen on the phone while I poured my heart out to them, felt my pain, agony and loneliness. What was worst they could do nothing but hear my sobs through the phone of my depression.

Red told me that he was surprised they didn’t let me go and that I had had a much better chance at leaving than he did. His interviewer then came in and told him the same news but that his flight back to Spain would be at seven in the morning. I felt more alone because I would have to endure this cold room and my thoughts for hours by myself and I didn’t know if I could do it.

Red told me that they were all assholes and asked if I wanted to watch Jurassic Park which he set up himself so we could watch because he knew it would make me happy. My parents called on and off all night desperately trying to get me a flight home instead of heading back to Austria where no one was waiting for me and I had no place to go.

Red and I watched the film while we stopped it occasionally to rant about the situation or for me to cry as he sat there and talked to me. Although we were strangers and had known each other less than a day, we were in this together and I will forever be grateful to have had him there.

We fell asleep around midnight out of exhaustion from stress and for me tears. I slept on three hard red chairs with a pillow for my head and a pillow on top of me for warmth. The room was so cold and bleak and I slept in order to escape the place I was in. I dreamt of seeing my family again and felt their unconditional love from thousands of miles away.

Around five in the morning, I woke up to my parents calling on the phone and they told me I would be leaving London at ten in the morning in order to arrive in Orlando, my home. Although the crush of not being able to finish my trip the way I wanted hurt, I was so happy that I would see my family soon.

Red woke me up again before he left for his own flight back to Madrid. We held hands for a moment and I thanked him for how kind he had been. We wished each other luck and he was gone.

Red had been my savior. Although I never got his name, I knew who he was, he knew me. In those seconds, minutes, and hours of insanity, he was there to remind me of life, love and how there was still kindness in the world when I thought there was none. In that low point, he had made me laugh and feel excited about seeing my family again. He had been my anchor to hope when I wanted to wallow in self-defeat. Although I’ll never see him again, I thank him for those hours of kindness and empathy for without them, I don’t know what I would’ve done.

I went back to bed to ignore the fact that I was utterly alone in the small room I had been in too long. I awoke at nine with another call from my parents saying everything was set for the flight.

When it was time to head over to my flight, I was escorted by not one but two security officers where I was then displayed for all to see that a criminal was going on board a flight. People looked at me with curious eyes and I felt myself slink further into despair. That feeling of being misunderstood and misrepresented as a criminal continued even though I had done nothing to deserve the situation.

I boarded the flight with my “friends” and I was put to sit at the very last row on the corner of the large plane. I later learned by my mom that she had paid extra for me to sit in the aisle with more leg room so I would be comfortable after my day of hell. But alas, as the criminal I was, it was not allowed and I would be treated as such until I reached my country.

The flight was long and I counted down to the last second until I saw my family again. Although the flight attendants were curious about me they didn’t ask me any questions until we landed. One of the flight attendants was so nice that he gave me a free water bottle and Kit Kat as he told me it was on the house and I cried when he walked away blown away by the kindness.

Time has passed since this fateful day but with the recent horrific events with the Muslim Ban, I go over what happened to me and feel their pain as I once did. It’s not right that because of circumstances they cannot control they were forced into their own small rooms of hell for hours to wait on a trial for things they didn’t do. Why? Because of where they come from and what they believe in? I wonder back to why they chose me. I often get asked if I’m from the Middle East and I wonder if that’s what that border control agent thought as well, I wonder if that’s why it all occurred because someone whose been privilege all their life saw someone different.

I plan to go back to this country that thought I was unworthy of entering their border and I want to forgive those I hated so much in those moments. The airport, those people and that women did not defeat me, in fact the whole situation made me stronger and did not make me fear traveling again. I plan to travel just as much, further and as fearlessly as I had before. Because this world is still be beautiful despite the pain and heartache we face today, I think it might make it all the more spectacular because it gives us a chance to stand together for the rights of all human beings.

From yours truly and still loving life,

Melody x

My Life

10 Things I Want to See and Do in 2017!

Most people see January has always been a time of renewal, trying new things, becoming an overall good person for the New Year, and I am no different. This time of year is when I make way for things I want to see and do for the rest of the year. I check my vision board and swap out pictures of what I’ve done for pictures of things that what I want to do in the future.

This new year is a little different though. I don’t just have the vision board I keep on the side of my dresser but I also have this blog. A place where I can share; sharing things I have already done but also things that I hope will soon be done. I’m putting my dreams, for the new year, in this post, so they are released into the universe and will reach me with great positivity.

So here are 10 things I would love to see and do in 2017!

1. Santorini, Greece

Last summer, when I traveled abroad, some of the friends I had made took advantage of our location and ventured off into Greece. They experienced things that can only be experienced in such an ancient country. I couldn’t help but glance at their Instagram feeds and wish.

2. Grand Canyon, Arizona USA

One of the most wondrous landscapes in the world is right here in the United States and has always been on my bucket list. I recently saw the movie How to Be Single and it inspired me to see the beautiful sun rise over the intricate canyon (or at least see the sunset, because I’m not a morning person.)

3. Ireland

The old and classic land of astounding views and sprawling green fields. I’ve been trying to find a way to visit this country for years and this year might be the one!

4. Cliff Diving

If you ask anyone I know this one do is a bit crazy even for me. I don’t really like doing anything an adrenalin junkie would consider “fun”. However, this year I want to go outside my comfort zone and try things that truly scare me to better define myself as the human I want to be.

5. Pacific Coast Highway

I’ve heard this is one of the most beautiful highways in the entire United States. To drive along this highway would be an elating experience and something I look forward to greatly.

6. Take a Contiki Tour!

This one may seem a bit strange for someone like me, who has traveled on my own abroad. Why would I want to go by a schedule somebody else put together instead of wandering on my own? Well, I heard about this company as a young teenager and I have had the thought in my head ever since, because I think it would be great way to see some sights and meet new friends.

7. CRUISES

As usual, I want to travel on the cruise lines that I am so familiar with, but this time try new things at ports like hiking, jet skiing or snorkeling!

8. Route 66

I want to drive on this famous road. I want to make my way through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas while seeing pieces of American culture in my rear-view mirror and maybe take a picture with a cactus or two!

9. Brazil

My grandfather lives in this country filled with soccer and samba dancing. Visiting him would be lovely, not only would I get to spend time with my family in their home, but I would also have the chance to be introduced to a culture that is so alive in its people. I want to see Christ The Redeemer statue in all its glory and taste the food from the people with so much spirit.

10. Move to New York City!

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably won’t find this one as a surprise. I want to move to the city I love so much! This has been a dream since I was quite young. I would love nothing more than living in the city that never sleeps. I can’t wait for all the exciting moments I know I will have in the Big Apple.

So, there you have it! I am putting it all out there into the Universe in hopes that all of it will come true. I want this year to be full of love and happiness. Whether I’m out traveling or just chilling at home, those are choices I make and this year I choose to be happy. I choose to put myself first and do what makes me the happiest, whether these things happen or not. I want to make the most of the year I have and I encourage you guys to do the same. See what makes you happy and go towards that! I saw an anonymous quote on Instagram that said, “This is beginning of everything you want” and it begins with you!

Leave a comment telling me where you want to travel to or what you want to do this year!

My Life

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

366 days. What a year it has been! Dr. Seuss once wrote (and to reuse the quote every valedictorian has used and will ever use): “Oh the places you’ll go! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… Get on your way!” I remember hearing these words as a young adult, in the wake of my eighteenth birthday, as I sat next to my classmates and thinking of what the years ahead would bring. Would I travel? Would I go to college? What would I do for the rest of my life?

I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined what the next few years would bring. Like I said in my welcoming post here on this blog, I realized college wasn’t for me and that it is okay and nothing to be ashamed of. I soon found out that I am capable of making my biggest of dreams come true and this year alone I have done more than I ever thought would be possible.

The classmates, who sat next to me, got their diplomas, went off and did their own amazing things; many of them graduated from college this year. Where was I? Well, I wasn’t finishing college, but I was having the time of my life. I’ve been doing things that I’ve always wanted to do and I had nothing holding me back. I began writing this blog this year and I have loved every minute I’ve gotten to do this.

I say it every year, probably since I feel like my life gets better as I get older, but this year has been my absolute favorite year so far. I turned twenty in the spring, finally leaving my teenage years behind and I began my adult life with my heart full of wonder and the need for adventure. I traveled close and I traveled far. I have cried tears of sadness and tears of joy. I spent time with people who mean the most to me and I also made many new friends. I experienced so many beautiful new things and tried so many different amazing foods.

I am here to tell you that you can do it too. I’m writing this for anyone who’s ever felt lost or misplaced, to help you realize that it’s okay to not have your whole life planned. It’s okay to go after what makes you happy, even if it’s not accepted by the people around you and different from “the norm”. Go after your heart’s biggest desires, whatever that may be. Go off and make yourself as deliriously happy as you can, because no matter how cliché it is to say, life is too short to be unhappy. I’m writing this to inspire the wanderlust soul who wants to go out and see the world, but doesn’t know how. I know you can do it, if only you believe you can.

Here’s to 2016, to the moments that made my heart flutter, ache and reach for more. And here’s to 2017, may this New Year be as exciting as the year before. My hopes for the New Year are to just keep doing what I love and what makes me happy. I’m turning twenty-one, and will soon be moving to a new and exciting place. I have a lot in store and I’m really excited to share it with you all! Thank you to anyone who’s peeked into my life through this blog, to anyone who has commented, and to anyone who has shared my thoughts with others. To all my readers, this one’s for you.

Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

My Life

Welcome to My Travel Blog!

cropped-1klR1f-m-1.jpg  Hello Friends! My name is Melody Guillen and this is my travel blog! I am twenty years old as of April 15th. I’m glad you’ve stumbled upon my little website here of Melody Wanders. I have been traveling since I was a wee little thing (I’m still little, I reach my height at about 4 feet and 11 inches) and my parents took me with them through all sorts of different countries and cultures.

When I was in high school and I was preparing for the rest of my life, traveling wasn’t really what I had in mind. I had always loved writing and telling stories since I was a young age and my imagination would go wild. So I always imagined I would go to college, get a degree in English Literature, and get a job as an author or an editor. But things don’t always turn out the way we plan.

Whether we know it or not, somethings are meant to happen because good things are in store. So after one terrible year in college, I decided to take a break to figure myself out. Because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was just doing college because I thought that was what was expected of me. So the break was meant to be temporary but in my heart I knew it would last forever.

So what was I to do? All of my friends were either in school or had serious full time jobs while I remained working as a part time bookseller.

As I mentioned previously, traveling has always been a big part of my life. My parents took me out of school when I was in 2nd grade because my health kept me out of school too much and they thought it would be best. (I did eventually go back to school in the middle of 9th grade.) I’ve gotten many surprised faces when I mention that I was homeschooled for 8 years. My happy and energetic personality was different to the shy personalities that you meet in kids who were homeschooled.

Why was I different? I traveled a lot, my first trip beginning in Rio in exotic Brazil and from there I went everywhere from Canada, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy and so many more. I met people from all over the world and experienced all different kinds of cultures and foods. It was something that had always made me feel happy. I found comfort in foreign places. You may think that my parents had luxurious amounts of money to make this all possible but my parents used every kind of tip and guide in order to make it work because this was something they loved doing. We would travel to places during off seasons and stay in more local areas and because of it experienced more culturally rich vicinities.

When I began public high school, my family and I could never find time to go anywhere because of theatre shows I took part in and standardized tests I had to take. But in my heart, I felt the absence of the sense of adventure from going somewhere new and the taste of foods from all over the world and laughing with new people.

So there I was, eighteen and confused, trying to figure what I was going to do with the rest of my life. All I knew was that I wanted to travel. So I made a plan; I would save up for year and then begin my travels. Let me tell you trying to save money while having only a part time job can be ridiculously hard.

But on May 1st 2016, I began my travels with not a ton of money but with a need of adventure in my soul. I traveled for months and somehow got some really cool jobs. I got to truly experience the ins and out of big cities and small towns. I also got to really experience beautiful countries and their cultures. I have learned a lot during these travels about life and myself and I’m still learning.

I learned that I don’t have to have my whole life in order right now because I’m young and changing all the time. I learned that I should always follow my heart and do what makes me happy despite what other people expect of me. And I learned to believe in myself, because I am capable of doing anything.

So join me as I recount my funny, heartbreaking and jaw dropping experiences of my travels abroad! With some old and new stories, I’ll tell you my favorite advice and tips that helped me along the way.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Yours truly

Melody