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California Bound

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10-23-2012
Some dreams will never be achieved. Some dreams were not meant to be. The circumstances for certain people will limit the possibilities of the dreams they can live out.
Other dreams were meant to be lived, meant to happen. Sometimes the opportunity just falls into someone’s lap. Things just come naturally to them without work. However some people have to work to achieve the dreams they have. Things don’t always come easy, things have to be done in order for someone to live out the dream they imagine
“Mom! Mom mom mom!”
“What? What what what?”
“My magazine came in! The one that Julie ordered for me! The surfing one!”
“Oh, I see, how is it?”
“It is awesome! Most of the pictures are of huge waves, all the people in it are amazing at surfing.”
“So are you going to surf waves like those someday?”
“Well not living is South Dakota I’m not, but when I get out of here yes I am. Then I will be in this magazine along with the best surfers.”
Declan lived in South Dakota his whole life. He had visited the west coast on several occasions, going to see his aunt Julie and every once in awhile a vacation in that direction. It was at the age of fourteen when Declan and his family were on a vacation to California that he discovered surfing for the first time. Since snowboarding was a weekly occurrence to Declan at Terry Peak, surfing came easily to him. The small scale waves in Crescent City were also not much of a challenge. Declan surfed all that he could, whenever he was able to on his trip he was in the water. Unfortunately, South Dakota doesn’t have a surf friendly surrounding so Declan was limited to his experience on the waves. From the age of fourteen, Declan was obsessed with surfing. He was pretty sure he was the only person in South Dakota who had not one, but two surfboards. They might not have gotten used very often but they sure looked cool in his room. His long flippy blonde hair and tan skin earned him the nickname Beach Bum among the students and teachers at his high school. He was told hundreds of times by friends, acquaintances, and random people that he should move to California and be a surfer. This is the one fantasy that Declan would one day live out.
Senior year had set in. For almost three years Declan had created a plan. The day after graduation he would pack up and leave. Leave for California and not look back, at least until the summer was over and he had to start college. He and his near equally beachy friend Justin would head down to enjoy the summer of a lifetime. The summer that Declan had been dreaming about for his entire high school career. Only one more year of windy, dry, boring old South Dakota, and then it’s hello Cali.
About half way through the first semester Declan had to write a paper about his summer plans right out of high school. Simple things like go on vacation, move out, relax all summer, go right to school, or work. WORK! Decline needed money! Trips are expensive; food, shelter, all the extra things cost A LOT of money. The summer between his junior and senior year Declan didn’t work. He only accumulated about six-hundred dollars, which would be close to gone by the time his senior year was over. He didn’t have much money in the bank from the summer before and he had no free time for a job. Football season had just ended and wrestling was right around the corner. There was no way he was going to miss out on his senior year of wrestling. He had worked hard and been on varsity three straight years. Even though he didn’t want to, he had to run track in order to be a three sport athlete with scholarships from the state. This meant that from the end of wrestling season to the day of graduation was going to be a lot if work on the weekends and whenever else he could squeeze in the time so that he could milk out as much money as he could to live out his dream.
Months seamed to flash before Declan’s eyes. His senior year had gone by like a flash of light. It was now the end of the year. Declan’s job had paid off, money was going to be tight but he was sure that he would be okay when it came to the trip. He had made enough so that he didn’t have to sleep and shower on the beach all summer. A lot of hours, just to live out his dream for a few months. No matter, Declan would have worked twice that much just to catch a glimpse of the ocean.
Graduation; the last thing standing in the way, seemed to last a life time. Declan’s parents were both extremely upset about the fact that the last summer that they get with their only child will be nonexistent. This is something Declan understood but he could not back down from his decision. They pushed and argued his entire senior year about the topic. Then when graduation came they approached Decline after the ceremony with a closed letter that read “Don’t open until Cali.” on the front. Decline was expecting another argument like, “Please don’t go, we only get you for one more summer.”, but no such thing happened. Instead they helped Declan and Justin get everything packed up for the trip. Clothes, camp gear, electronics, food, and everything else they thought they might need was crammed into the back of Declan’s Subaru, ready for the next day.
Nothing out of the ordinary in Declan’s family, things got delayed a couple days. Two days, the last time that Declan would be able to see some friends from school. This was a precautionary measure taken just in case it was the last time everyone would be together, he knew it, they knew it, but nobody showed any fear. For one last night they forgot their worries and for one last night they were kids again.
Two days late, but better late than never. Declan and Justin were about to embark on a trip that they had never thought would come true, a trip that they had never been on before… at least not alone. They had a solid car, enough gear, plenty of food, and an endless supply of enthusiasm. The furthest either one of them had been from home alone is in Wyoming. South Dakota and Wyoming look extremely alike, including the lack of population and the lackluster surroundings. Now they were on their way to the state with the highest population, and a completely different scene. This would defiantly be a journey.
Two boys on a trip across the country, that sounds like one of the worst mixtures someone could create. Immaturity, running on Mountain Dew and hormones never helps a situation. The first stop they would make is at Declan’s Aunt Julie’s house in Portland. Portland is a perfect place to start off a trip to California. They have the same attitude, it’s nice, green, and it isn’t South Dakota. The boys thought in their thick heads that they could make the trip in one day, but their mothers got the last word in that discussion. They got a motel in Butte Montana only 517 miles away instead of the 1,180 mile trek to Portland. Butte was not much different than what the boys had already seen for the past eighteen years, and they hadn’t gone too far so the moment after they woke up from their cheap motel they were off to Oregon. An excruciating and ironic 666 miles and over 10 hours (according to Declan’s iPhone) to Portland. They were nearly there.
Even though it seemed like the mileage from Butte to Portland might have been an omen of bad luck, Declan and Justin made it to Julie’s in one piece. They were extremely glad to get out of the car and rest for awhile. Staying at Julie’s was a good time, Declan got to visit his cousins who he rarely sees, tour a great town, and the best part for cheap teenage boys is they could stay and eat for free. Julie was the go to kind of lady for people. When Declan or Justin wanted to do something they would ask her where they could do it and who could show them. Wind surfing, rock climbing, even a room full of trampolines, Julie knew the hookups to get them there. Five days of staying with Family is enough for anyone, as Julie said it “It’s been real, it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun.” With a smile, and away they were.
There they were, faced with the last stretch of road to their destination. Crescent City was exactly 330 miles. Declan knew it was going to seem like they were driving across the country. He had to fight every muscle in his leg to stop him from driving 100 MPH. The excitement was extreme. For six whole hours the only topic discussed in the car was the ocean, specifically surfing. Driving along the Red Wood highway was an amazing sight. Trees that Declan had already seen, but this time it seemed like they were making a path, for him. As if they were his own Tom Tom saying “drive this way and you will reach your destination. After what seemed to be a lifetime, there it was. “Welcome to California” they had done it, two teenage boys from South Dakota had make it to California without killing each other. They did the only logical young adult thing they could think of, they pulled over and took about fifty immature pictures next to the sign like they were thirteen year old girls by a Bieber Poster. According to Declan’s phone they had less than an hour to get to Crescent city. Crescent City was right on the coast. It didn’t have much for waves, but for Declan it had memories. Short memories, but still some of his favorite ones.
This was the part of the trip that was most unbearable. The music was cranked up much louder than Declan ever thought it could and yet it seemed to all be a silent. There he was, there HE was. He had done it, his parents thought he wouldn’t, his peers thought that he couldn’t, and yet he did. Something so small like a vacation, was one of the biggest experiences of his young life.
May 29th, 2013 at 5:42 PM Declan saw the ocean. Almost 1,500 miles from home and yet he seemed like he had been there all his life. This is where he was meant to be, this is where he belonged. For the next three months of his life he would try is best to live it, weather that meant doing a lot all at once, or doing nothing at all.
“If I could do it all again… I wouldn’t change a thing”


-Declan H.





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