My name is Kaelin, and I’m a 17-year-old high school senior, and I’ve lived the entirety of my short life in Southern California. Although the city I’ve grown up in is a haven for tourists, it has never felt like home to me. I was 10 years old the first time I visited Washington. I flew alone to spend a week over the summer at my grandmother’s house. It was then I decided that, when the time came, I would do everything in my power to attend college there. The weather, the people, the scenery… it was the first thing in my life to ever feel right.

After seven years of waiting to go back, my father surprised me with plane tickets to Seattle. Sure, it was for a college visit, but I intended to squeeze in as much wandering as I possibly could with an aging and grumpy old man by my side (I love you, Dad). My short three days spent in Washington, wandering from Seattle to Whidbey Island to Bellingham, was a massive period of revelation for me. It confirmed all of the warm fuzzies I had felt while visiting seven years prior, and being able to see that there’s more to the world than palm trees and beaches gave me hope for the future that I had never experienced before.

As soon as I landed back in my hometown, I submitted my application to my dream school (the one that this entire trip revolved around): Western Washington University. I’m currently (im)patiently waiting for a response, but whether I make it or not, the wanderings I partook in with my father are memories that will forever be ingrained in my mind and my heart. Germs, I encourage you to wander. Whether that means driving to the next town over or saving up for a plane ticket somewhere, please go see the world. With all of that being said, here are some of my favorite snapshots from my trip to Washington.











kaelin-bellKaelin Bell is a 17-year-old senior in high school from San Diego, California. Kaelin has always been an avid reader, writer, and photographer. She is a self-proclaimed caffeine addict, book hoarder, and dog-petter extraordinaire. She is passionate about traveling, literature, music, and social issues. She hopes to attend Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, in the fall. Find more of her work on Instagram at @babykaelin or at

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