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Hello America is made up of co-creators Kristen Blanton and Matt Jozwiak. They travel frequently, tell a great story, and currently live in California.

For two people who sleep out of their car for a living and who try to keep their grocery shopping under $8, a $100 weekend is an unheard of luxury! We chose to spend the money on ones we love, good people we hadn't seen in so long. With the recent influx of some of our close friends getting their dive certification and to celebrate Matt's new title as Dive Master, we took to the shore on the beach we all grew up on.

Sleepy eyed we made our way to Okaloosa Island early Saturday morning. The wind had died down from the day before, leaving the gulf like glass. By noon we were sixteen people deep and the groove was flowing.

Matt took out the first group of divers around 2 pm. They walked straight from shore into the gulf and we waved to six small bodies as they melted below the surface. "Cheapest way to be an astronaut," I hear him say, as he always says and I can't help but nod at his truth. As divers, we've been taught how to observe, not disturb, appreciate and not destroy the ocean floor. It's beautiful to breathe underwater, to enjoy the splendor of marine life while leaving it just the way you found it.

When the first group came back, the second was ready to tag in. Some buds found themselves enjoying the tranquility of the paddle board, taking their bodies far off into the skyline, others relaxed and caught up with old friends. I overheard the exchanging of travel stories from Spain to Australia, upcoming moves to Colorado and California, and others talk of their new life back in school. I become a sappy sentimental, hugging and kissing everyone, as I do each time I get around this group of divine renegades.

As the sun set we started to season the Mingo Snapper Matt caught spear fishing the day before. In preparation for the feast Matt chose to take only what he needed from the water. With commercial fishing depleting our waters, we've continued to make the choice of hunting our own food. 4 fish fed 16 of us that night. This ratio was humbling. To us, the extra effort is an imperative action needed to preserve our ocean for our children and theirs after.

We drank cheap beer and ate salsa late into the night. We watched a wedding take place and the moon set. We 'cheers'ed the stars and those who aren't with us anymore. We were honest about our fears and wild ambitions. We remembered being fifteen-year-olds with our toes in the sand on this very beach. Back then we wondered where we'd go and what we'd do. On this night, eleven years later we found ourselves asking all the same questions, but this time we were left feeling lighter, fuller and more confident in our ability to keep alive those youthful visions of wanderlust and delight.

Budget Breakdown:

$30 Dive Tanks

$40 Food for 16 people 

$20 Beer

$5 Fishing Bait

$5 Gas

Weekend Total = $100

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