Born and raised in East Los Angeles, I grew up with very little nature in my life. We didn’t have any local parks, no sustainable farms, and everywhere you looked it was factory after warehouse after factory. It was an industrial jungle and I never would have known anything else had it not been for the generosity of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute. I’ll never forget when they first came to my school to discus the wonders of spending time out at at sea. “sailing, Sailing, SAILING!! TRY IT NOW!! IT’LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!” they said. I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical at first. I actually would have never signed up for the weekend at sea program had the girl I had a crush on not coaxed me into it. Long story short, I’m glad she did because spending time on that boat was by far one of the greatest weekends of my life. We went kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, dolphin watching, and even got to spend some time on Catalina island. There were one point on the trip where some friends and I had the opportunity to climb out onto the bow of the ship as a pod of curious dolphins swam underneath. I would have been able to reach out and touch one had my arm been just a little bit longer. Even as close as I lived to the coast, It was the first time I had ever seen the ocean.