Seriously, it was fun to follow Geena Urango on Instagram.
Such awesome trips around the world.
And she played some pretty stout pro beach volleyball, too,
But just like that, in March of last year, it was all gone.
That’s just another reason why the AVPNext in New Orleans two weeks ago was so much fun, because top-level players like Urango were back in the competitive sand, and, in her case, she was traveling again.
After all, she hadn’t played since competing in AVP Hawai’i in September 2019. Of course, there was no glamorous travel after last March.
So heading to Louisiana was a big deal. Urango played with Falyn Fonoimoana and they tied for fifth.
Urango, 31, was a senior at USC when the 6-foot-4 Fonoimoana was a freshman.
“We were both looking (for partners) and I heard she was getting back into the sand and training, and I had played with her at USC. We always had that mutual respect for each other,” Urango said. “The timing before was never right. I was either playing with someone consistently or she was playing with someone else.
“Now we’ve teamed up and it’s been awesome. Her energy on the court is just what I need because she has so much confidence and fire and I’m a little cool and calm.”
During the pandemic the 5-foot-11 Urango, who is Mexican-American, took a work-from-home job with Crediverso, which she described as “a free financial help platform for the Hispanic community.
“This company is so cool because it’s the first and only place where Hispanic people can get a credit report in Spanish. I do marketing for them and it’s great because it’s part-time and I’m able to train and travel still.”
Ah, yes, travel.
“It’s been a hard time for everybody,” Urango said. “I’ve gone a little stir crazy at times.”
Urango went to South of the Border Volleyball Vacations in Cabo, Mexico, in early 2020. It’s one of the biggest, fun party tournaments around.
“That was literally the week everything shut down,” Urango recalled. “We came back from Mexico thinking it was OK, back in America, and we landed and it was like the apocalypse. Not a single soul.”
That was, however, a fortuitous trip for Urango in developing a relationship with another beach pro.
“Eric Beranek, we spent some time together and totally hit it off. We’d known each other a long time but we’d never really had like a hang out,” Urango said with a smile.
“So we totally hit it off and this whole year he’s been the special lining through it all.”
Beranek also played in New Orleans (he and Troy Field tied for third) and after the tournament they spent time in New Orleans as tourists.
Not exactly international, but …
“A goal of mine is to go to one international country a year that’s not related to volleyball,” Urango said.
It started with a trip to Australia. Then the Phillipines, Iceland, Chile (and Patagonia), and then New Zealand in 2019, all with different friends.
“The south island of New Zealand and that was by far my favorite place I’ve ever been,” Urango said.
With travel opening again, Urango can’t wait to hit the road, both for volleyball and fun.
“It’s unfortunate I haven’t been able to travel,” she said, “but I’m planning on some fun things this year.”