A Product of Oakland.

A Oakland, California native who aspires to better her community through the power of traveling. 



Guatemalan villages have rainbows of dreams.

Magical thought whereupon each soul gleams.

Locked by a culture engraved on the soul.

Harvests where births’ golden customs unroll.

Living antiquated amid pompous brochures

Sleeping upon mats on plank beds or hut floors.

Boys and girls may not date or co-mingle.

Marriages arranged without knowing lust’s tingle.

In homes of adobe an empire is stayed.

Within those four walls, the future is laid.

Bounded by mountains and winding footpaths

Encroached by the world, walking different paths.

Families stay warm around a hearth of three stones,

Braving the simple life without moans and groans.

Stunning people clad in colorful handmade clothes.

The earth is their friend, their skills, and maestros.

Milling their coffee, chili peppers, and corn.

Homegrown products produced feed these freeborn.

Harvests of sweat and self-satisfaction

Hand worked acres and strength still in fashion.

Hidden near volcanoes; tucked in God's hands.

Generations of peoples have loved on those lands.

Glowing beauty shines beneath heat and straw hats.

Faces aglow, tourists hoping for chats.

Gleaming simplicity knows modernization's foes.

That exploited attraction where vacationers go.

Escaping the fast pace and the greediness flow.

San Pedro la Laguna, hidden beneath the rainbow – Dane Smith-Johnsen


My Perspective

Who would’ve knew that below the imaginary line

Underneath the “honorable” wall

Behind the patronized boarder

Lies a land of beauty

A land of people

A land of culture

Have we been so eager to get a way

That we’ve let this beauty gone unnoticed?


The Trip

Guatemala? I’ll be honest with you guys… I could not have even been able to point this country out on a map before this trip. I had no intention of ever visiting! However, when an opportunity to travel comes what can a traveler do? I packed my bags and before I knew it, I was on a flight to Guatemala as an intern for a high school abroad trip.

            Guatemala City was so busy! Although, I was only there for a split second I noticed that it was very similar to other major cities. Various vendors trying to sell you novelty souvenirs, people everywhere in a rush to reach their destination. There was a lot of beautiful art on the streets, along with many religious advertisements which spoke a lot about Guatemala’s present culture.

            I spent most of my time in El Paredon. A small developing community on the coast of Guatemala that consist of about 500 people. El Paredon was popular for its surfing culture. Surfers from all over the world visit the community for its ferocious waves. Before this trip, I had never even picked up a surf board! There I got the chance to take surfing lessons with a very patient instructor who showed me that surfing is actually something I enjoy! It was a big thing I took away from this trip and I plan on bettering my skills here in California.

            In El Paredon, the group I was with worked with the amazing non-profit La Choza Chula. Through La Choza Chula we were able to go on various tours and be introduced to many of the locals; who were very kind and had many astonishing talents. We ate in one of the locals home each day, which really helped us gain a real glimpse of what the Guatemalan culture was like. Besides El Paredon, we spent one night in the beautiful city of Antigua. Antigua is more developed than El Paredon. It obtained many shops and stores, which gave us some insight to the upper-class lifestyle in Guatemala.

Unlike my other trips this time I was able to Vlog my whole experience! Press the link below and take a peak of my trip to Guatemala!




Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti