San Diego (Act 1)

First – A brief reflection on traveling

If you have seen my other recent post, you might notice that a large portion of my travels are spent in parks and areas with stunning landscape often displaced from metropolitan areas. I do not necessarily have a preference on either, and I have the privilege to have experienced both.

In the United States, I am more inclined to appreciate the calm and preserved vast wild nature that are present in the many parks around the US. Traveling in National or State parks is a much more ground to earth experience filled with soggy ramen and food scrapes (although no camping for us – we’re not quite there).

To me, cities in the US are less integrated with history and antiquity; which are much more evident in cities abroad. Here, it is more about the experiencing the new, the modern, the advanced; this experience comes with the price of losing peace within foot traffic and car traffic, likely rude encounters with strangers, and general inability to calmly and fully take in the surroundings. With that being said, I greatly enjoyed my two visits (2018, 2019) to San Diego and the many different experiences there.

Both times, I stayed in small motels in the Little Italy district. I absolutely adore Little Italy and really value the ability to easily walk to the block in the morning and night time.

*quarantine thought – I love open markets whether thats huge farmers markets, local farmers market, or street stalls. I feel for the families who’s livelihoods may have been permanently displaced as I am sure the function of open markets will forever be changed. I hope to be able to support them through this time and look forward to their return.

Little Italy Farmers Market

I love walking within the stalls that are so neatly packed outside the Little Italy restaurants. The air is fresh and there’s always great people watching (and food watching)

Torrey Pines State Park

I never boast of physical ability or endurance for a reason. I have an embarrassing low level of cardiac endurance. Hikes that are described as “relatively level and easy” on park website are actually translated to – sweat soaked hunched over physical activity in my world. As I worked myself up the hill that LEADS to the beginning of the Torrey Pines many different hikes, I could not help but notice the many joggers, joggers with children in strollers, joggers with children on their back, joggers holding a full conversation between each other – that could overtake my pace at least a few times. It has always been my goal to improve my cardiac endurance with the aim of never being held back during travel or otherwise, by my physical ability. I hope to update with positive improvement in the future.

The hike we took was the Beach Trail which looped back down to the beach side. The trail closes after a certain time due to the tide and also closes if there is rain, I would suggest checking beforehand. The hike has beautiful panoramic views of the beach along with the rocky cliffs unique to San Diego.

Tip – park in the spots parallel to the beach before entering the official park lot, it will save you ~$20 in parking fees

Thanks for visiting – stay anticipated for a part 2 and *possible part 3* San Diego blog with further reflections (rants) on city travel!

Pacific Coast Highway

California State Route 1 is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the United States. The route hugs the Pacific Coast starting from the Oregon Southern Border down to San Diego. I have had the pleasure of traveling this route twice, once in 2015 (spring) and again in 2018 (winter). Below I will post a photo montages of those prospective trip. In 2015, we had been able to road trip from Seattle all the way to Los Angelos during the peak of spring. On the route, there was an abundance of spring flowers and animal sightings. In 2018, we traveled from Las Vegas to San Diego, the weather certainly was colder and windy in comparison. However, there were less traffic and crowds.

The coast line with wild flowers

This image is the exact location as fourth picture above, you can see how the water has receded – perhaps a result of the different seasons and climate change

Thank you so much for dropping by! Let me know if you have also enjoyed the pacific coast scenic drive along with any other scenic drives that you have been on that you recommend. Have a good day!


Monterey County is a gorgeous idyllic cluster of seaside cities on the Pacific Coast of California. It is highly advised to drop by for a night or two if you’re enjoying the California Pacific Coast Highway road trip.

Within Monterey county are it’s most well known cities, Monterey and Carmel by the Sea. Monterey offers several beautiful attractions including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and 17 mile Scenic Drive. We had prioritized the 17 mile scenic drive which allows you to coast along Pebble Beach with a several specific attractions that offer a beautiful outlook into the coastal scenery.

*PROTIP – The 17 mile scenic drive is a two way drive with entrance and exit on both sides. Most start at the Inn at Spanish Beach – I HIGHLY SUGGEST starting from the opposite end at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. We had gone on Christmas Eve starting at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. As it got later in the day, we started to realize that the opposite side traffic was as a standstill while we were driving freely. This is because the parking spots are limited at each attraction leading to an eventual car pileup from the direction that more people take. It was to the point where we were driving and realizing the opposite side had several miles of cars lined up to wait for parking to clear up or just waiting to get past.

I am not certain which specific points the following photos were taken at, I will put the attraction if I am able to, but I hope you enjoy this montage of beautiful coastal photo collage.

Lone Cypress Tree

Thanks for dropping by! Hope you’re having a good day!

Sequoia National Park

*circa 2018

The trip to the Sequoia National Park started at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada mountain range where we drove along beautiful full streams while climbing up higher through the range. We even spotted a deer on the side of the road.

The further up, the colder the landscape became, evident with the snow on the ground. The giant sequoia trees are such a sight to see and breathe in. I was surrounded by these unbelievably gorgeous red tinted trees that had extended all the way to touch the sky. The photos truly cannot do them justice.

“The sequoias belong to the silences of the milleniums. Many of them have seen a hundred human generations rise, give off their little clamors and perish. They seem indeed to be forms of immortality standing here among the transitory shapes of time.”

Edwin Markham

After spending enough time in the park, we decided to start heading back down the mountain range. On our way, we spotted a look out post into the Californian valleys. It was an unplanned and unexpected stop that was absolutely amazing. We decided to stay and wait an hour or so until sunset.

*Although the sunset was one of the best I’ve seen, the drive down was much harder after sunset when fog started to settle. With no road lights on the winding downhill mountain road, it was a difficult nervous drive, with one person watching google maps to give heads up on upcoming turns, and two other people keeping a sharp eye on the road ahead.

Three Rivers

Three Rivers is a beautiful little area that we stayed at before entering Sequoia National Park the next day. We parked next to the river and spend our afternoon exploring the riverwalk. The area is absolutely beautiful and ethereal, the rocks are white and smooth, the trees were colored red and orange, even the fog on the hills was otherworldly stunning. If you have a free morning or afternoon in your trip to Sequoia National Park, I would highly suggest having a picnic or short excursion out here!






Feel free to leave a comment for any questions or photography advice!
Thanks for dropping by!


Death Valley

Death Valley (contrary to its name) is a very large National Park that is filled with an amazing variety of landscape and life. However, living up to its reputation, traveling within Death Valley requires careful and considerate planning. Even when we had visited in late December, the mid-day heat and sun were no joke. It is important to have an abundant supply of water, extra car tools and parts, and sunscreen.

The first attraction we visited upon entering the park was Dante’s View.


After a short climb in the car, we arrived at a picturesque viewing point of the valley floor. The valley was white with the natural ground salt while the mountains and red and blue with different mineral compositions. 2

Another small hike that rewards with beautiful views is Zabriskie point.


The point feature rows upon rows of golden and crimson hills. There are many hikes and routes to take at this location to explore the hills.

One of the unique features at Death Valley is the incredibly low altitude at several hundred feet below sea level. Unlike with elevated geographic locations, the low altitude doesn’t present any challenges such as low oxygen level, difficulty breathing, altitude sickness, etc.

The low elevation can be properly experienced in Badwater Basin with its vast salt fields and open space.


Ubehebe crater is a little drive out where the scenery immediately changes into black volcanic sands and debris.

Another simply stunning landscape is at Artist’s Palette on Artist’s Drive. As seen down below, the name is well deserved with hills that are painted with shades of green, pink, and orange.


Lastly, we dropped by the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.


This was my first time experiencing such massive amounts of sand. On the dunes, the sands are malleable and soft under your bare feet. It was a fun experience to fall in the warm sand and run across the dunes.

Death Valley was a fascinating trip and many beautiful sights. I hope that you will have a chance to explore this National Park someday as well!


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NSLI-Y South Korea 2015

I’m already back from 6 weeks in South Korea. No doubt my best experience so far in life and I honestly did not anticipating making friendships that depth that I did. But I guess when you’re with 14 other people 24/7 for 6 weeks, welllll, you become attached.
I plan on recounting my experiences in Incheon, Seoul, Andong/Kyeongju Camp, Sudeoksa Temple Stay, Boryeong Mud festival, DMZ, interactions with Korean High schoolers, and FOOD (ofcourse).
But for now, I have a recap video that shows some of my favorite snapshots throughout the trip.

NSLIY – South Korea

1                To me, South Korea as always been a fantasy like land, reachable only through my laptop via K-dramas and K-pop (aka popular culture). In the world of K-pop, idols have risen to God like statuses and in Korean dramas, the simple average girl somehow snatches two heart-brooding males’ attention. Although, I am personally not particularly attached to the specific Korean dramas nor do I revere K-pop idols, the Korean culture has somehow integrated itself into my daily life. From craving bibimbap to tearing up during a heart wrenching drama scene (the part where someone gets amnesia) or from Eat Your Kimchi videos to fangirling with friends over idols, I must admit…I have developed severe wanderlust for South Korea.
                 Thus I am excited to say that this summer I will be studying abroad in Songdo, South Korea with NSLI-Y. National Security Language Initiative for Youth (affectionately and conveniently shortened as NSLI-Y), is an U.S Department of State’s program that offers high school students scholarships to study in 1 of  7 different languages for a summer or year duration.  I applied for Korean, the summer duration and much to my excitement (and disbelief), got in. For more information on NSLI-Y – click here.
             This will be my first study abroad experience and I am extremely excited to go as South Korea has always been on my bucket list. I would consider myself relatively experienced in traveling, but I cannot help but feel excited and nervous for the start of this adventure. As there are only 3 days before I leave, packing has been…rather stressful and messy. My Korean language skills on the other hand….has also progressed at a snail like pace. I will make another post on packing, the pain is real I tell you.
               If anyone has information or questions about Songdo/South Korea, experiences they’d like to share, or unexplained excitement when thinking about the Korean culture, feel free to shoot me a comment or msg!

Festival of Colors

A month ago, I participated in my first ever Holi. Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the start of spring though a massive colored powder fight. Everyone throws the naturally dyed rice flour – resulting in the large scaled color explosion.
At the University, there was a DJ shuffling through from Bollywood hits to Taylor Swift love songs. In front of the blasting stereos, there were around 200 people jumping and dancing – of course while throwing and being hit with color34b. At times, I cautiously tried to navigate through the moving bodies with my large camera secured in the arms -avoiding powder and water – sneaking shots when it felt relatively safe. Random people would come up – grabbing chins, smearing fingers across cheeks, or asking to close your eyes in preparation for a blast of rice flour. The rice flour was quite bitter – but we were safely assured it was safe to consume (in reasonable quantities of course).
  564The experience was exhilarating and I had a lot of fun participating and taking pictures. It was interesting how as everyone became covered in colors, it was hard to tell each other apart – reminding me that even in the most diverse of groups, similarities and differences serve as a connection. I look forward to participating in this again next year!

Sleepless in Seattle

Road Trip – Day 1: Sleepless in Seattle
The starting place of my spring break road trip is of course, fabulous Seattle. For some reason, I have always felt extremely fond of Seattle – despite only been there once. It probably stemmed from my childhood love of Frasier, the skyline of Seattle  captured my heart every time.  Having arrived quite late into the night, we just picked up our car (you know you’re in Seattle when your car stinks of weed) . 
Early in the morning – I headed out towards Pike Place market in hopes of snatching up some breakfast.
IMG_9294IMG_9255IMG_9296IMG_9283IMG_9285IMG_9286For breakfast, I ended up with donuts from Daily Dozen, a croissant from Le Panier, and a piroshky from Piroshky Piroshky. The warm ham and cheese piroshky was undoubtedly my favorite, next the soft mini donuts, and then the croissant (it failed to impress)
Pike place market a great start to my day. I decided to walk to the Space Needle/Chihuly Glass Garden. Instead of going up the Space Needle, I opted out for the Chihuly Glass Garden.
IMG_9449IMG_9450IMG_9412IMG_9446IMG_9443IMG_9416Chihuly’s work is truly amazing and beautiful. The pieces were carefully arranged in rooms that emanate the art’s spirit in music and mood.
I decided to drop by the UW Seattle campus.  Although going there for undergrad is unfortunately a dream I can’t afford (literally), I wanted to check our their famous cherry blossoms
I was breath taken by the grandeur of the flowers, they covered the sky like snow flakes rather than petals.
IMG_9517IMG_9511IMG_9483IMG_95134IMG_9514-RecoveredThis was the first time I’ve seen cherry trees! It was around noon now, and the Japanese garden seemed appealing. The garden was much more peaceful than the people packed Seattle campus.IMG_97211
24536To get the best view of the Seattle skyline along with Mt. Rainer, we went to Kerry park. The park is located on a high hill (which was scary driving up/down to be honest).
For dinner, I went back to Pike Place Market and had a relatively chill night.
It was a short but fun 24 hours in Seattle, I truly hope that sometime in the future, I’ll be able to live here.
The next day we packed our suitcases and started driving towards Portland.

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