In Good Company

One of the core reasons for booking this trip was to escape the norm after graduating and travel without being tied down to any obligations. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one to think this way. Two good friends of mine, Jay and Jesse, will be joining me on the journey as we go abroad and since I was raised with well-bred social behavior, it’s appropriate that I introduce them.


Jesse Bartel

Jesse and Brother in law

A guy I’ve known since the days on Whidbey Island, WA – we became friends in 8th grade when we were both demoted to the 7th grade football team (we were too good). Little did I know the next year, I would be lying on the ground with a broken arm because of his failure to follow coach’s instructions. After high school, we planned on going to the same university but ended up heading our separate ways. Myself pursuing flight school and him over to the Army.

One summer night while I was at a music festival in 2012, I received a phone call from an unknown number. When I answered it, I found this guy on the other end calling me from Afghanistan. He asked how I was and we spoke for a few minutes before I returned the question, “How are you doing man?”. Now, there’s a few moments in my life where everything stops and nothing else in this world is relevant. Without question, I’m honored to be joined by this brother of mine, a recipient of the purple heart.


Jaylon Mendoza

Jaylon and Relatives

Also known as “One Ball Jay”, we quickly became friends after we both transferred into the University of Northern Colorado. It was the first day of classes my sophomore year when I walked into Public Speaking 101 with a professor named Jamie French. As I took a seat in the classroom, I looked around to find in a room of thirty students… not a single female (UNC has a 3:1 female to male ratio). When the professor walked in, the class quickly realized our teacher wasn’t a female either but a guy who was at most 25. Nonetheless, the semester was filled with multiple presentations of Michael Jordan and one guy who did a presentation on taking care of a hamster.

On that first day of class, Jamie had all of us find a partner and within ten minutes introduce them to the class. Conveniently next to me was One Ball. We started with the basics:

“I’m from the pacific northwest”

“Me too”

“I lived on an island”

“Me too”

“I have all sisters”

“Me too”

And just like that, a friendship prospered. I left class that day to grab a bite with some friends and when I hopped in the back of the car, Jay was already sitting there. Since then, we have traveled to three different countries during our collegiate career and have spent countless hours playing sports and snowboarding. He’s the brother I always wanted from my parents, just had to let fate find one ball on its own.




About Levi

Rooted from the pacific northwest, undergraduate student in Colorado

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