5 cruise hacks for first time cruisers

A picture of a beach at Paradise Island from the Atlantis Hotel | Wynston Wilcox

One of the most important things we as humans should do with our time on this earth is see the world. Since I was young, my family would go on yearly summer vacations. We’ve traveled (by car because there’s five of us) as far as Miami, Fl. and been to D.C., Pittsburgh, Myrtle Beach and plenty of other places.

One thing I have learned is that traveling is awesome, whether that be domestic or international. I flew out of the country for the first time over spring break last year to Argentina for a study abroad trip. It was an amazing experience and opened up a new window or me to continue my new love for traveling.

This past spring break I went on a four-day cruise to the Bahamas. Me and one fo my friends cruised Royal Caribbean for our first cruise. For all you other first time cruisers, here is a podcast about five cruise hacks I learned after my first cruise!


Beads and Things: The Treasure Trove of Athens, Ohio

The light that filters in through the windows refracts through the crystals hanging from the windowsills, casting a rainbow onto a few small baskets of gemstones. Tea brews in the back room, and the wooden planks of the floor welcome each step.

Baskets of different beads, gemstones and amulets fill the main floor of the tiny house off North Shafer Street dubbed Beads and Things. Phillip Berry and Jo Merkle started the small store, and together they have traveled the world to bring back pieces of culture to sell bead by bead. With each item is a label telling where it came from, ranging from the Czech Republic to Turkey to China.


Mexican figures of dragons, unicorns and other creatures guard the shop from a top shelf with their bright colors. The items are free to touch and show off textures from polished rose quartz to soft suede scraps to the more ragged dinosaur tooth. The store is a haven for the senses.


It’s easy to get distracted in the shop, not to mention convince yourself that you can spare a bit of cash for a small project. One wall holds thread and clasps, which aid any urge to create any combination of beads. Soon enough, one strand of thread could hold an amulet from Turkey between beads from Thailand.

All of the different cultures brought back with the different beads rest in this small shop in Athens, Ohio. A conversation with the owners can easily unravel the history the items that they hand picked during their travels. Each basket of beads (and other things) hold a story to be told, connected to people around the world.