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Connecticut, 1996

I was three years old the first time I saw the Atlantic Ocean.  As soon as my feet touched the sand, I remember running straight to the shoreline and hearing my mom chase after me.  I let the frigid waves crash against my feet, and I can almost still smell the fresh ocean-mist in the August air. I saw an endless horizon, and suddenly became aware of the world’s vastness. I felt like I was coming home. Almost 20 years later, I find myself gravitating back to water for this same serenity.

The Mermaid Manifestation

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with mermaids. I loved everything about them and even wanted to be one myself. I was raised on the Great Lakes, where I let my imagination run wild about urban legends about mermaid spottings. I wrote stories about mermaids from the lost city of Atlantis.

My fascination even transcended into my young-adult life. I’ve seen “Mermaid the Body Found” mockumentary more times than I’m willing to admit. Even in college, I received “the Closet Freak Award: for thinking she’s a real-life mermaid”. Friends and family have frivolously called me the mermaid, molding an unofficial brand for myself.

But what started as an innocent, childhood dream managed to manifest itself into something much bigger. The idea of being a mermaid grew with me, and actually became a quite fitting metaphor for who I am. My interest in water-related issues transcended into career aspiration. It is what led me to study and pursue a career in environment action and sustainability. From writing about environmental issues for my school newspaper to researching water pollution while interning for the U.S senator’s office, I became passionate and well-versed in several environmental water issues.

I’ve followed large bodies of water throughout my life, and it’s taken me all over the world. It was Lake Michigan that originally attracted me to move to Chicago to attend Loyola University Chicago; it was the Mediterranean Sea that sold me to study journalism in Nice, France; and it was the breathtaking beauty of the Adriatic Sea in Dubrovnik, Croatia that made me choose to study abroad there, and has given me a desire to return. The sea and the Great Lakes gives me a feeling of being at home, no matter where I am. It has provoked my wanderlust- to see every corner of the world, one coast at a time.

Entering a new era

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Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Mercedes Pedrero.

As a recent graduate from Loyola, the million-dollar question is “what are you doing next?” I considered the traditional route of entering the working world right away. I received job offers and was presented with some incredible opportunities. But, my gut told me it wasn’t right. I could no longer shake the feeling that I need to get away. After spending almost a year exploring Europe, my spirit is still restless. I want to explore and see the sun set on new horizons.

Yes, an international love interest has only fueled this flame. I fell in love while studying abroad, and have been doing long distance for the past year. The combination of my own aspirations and months of trying to plan the next step together, I made up my mind. I decided I would go back to Dubrovnik, Croatia for the summer, and from there, I’d go with the flow and figure it out.

I’ve been a planner my whole life and I’ve never done anything quite as impulsive. But then again, I’m not sure when else I’ll have this freedom in my life. “Am I crazy?” I asked my mom. She replied, “Maybe. But, I think this is your time to be a full-time mermaid.”

Mindful Intentions

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Dubrovnik, Croatia. Photo by Alex Cote.

The creation of “The Mindful Mermaid” is a forum for me to share my journey, insights, and experiences. However, this is also a platform for my affinity of living a more mindful lifestyle. Over the past four years, I’ve taken step to be a more conscious consumer and individual. With my background in sustainability and activism, I want this blog to be just as much about issues that matter than it is about me.

There’s a deep sea of lifestyle and travel bloggers out there. But if I’m being honest, it’s not enough for me to solely post outfit of the day pictures and hit up the hottest resorts. If I’m going to make my voice heard, I’d like it to be meaningful. The whole point of traveling and advertising your lifestyle shouldn’t be solely for your own benefit. We need to have conversations about how we can better connect with communities and our environments.

With launching The Mindful Mermaid, I hope to engage a new generation of adventurous, independent and intelligent trailblazers, ready to take on the world. If you have suggestions on what you’d like to see or hear more about, dysfunctional travel stories, sustainable lifestyle tips, feminism, you name it, please comment below with ideas or suggestions. After all, this blog is for you!

I’m excited for this new era, and I hope you’ll follow along with me. I am the Mindful Mermaid, and I’m ready to make waves.  

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