New post, new blog!

Sorry I’ve been absent from this blog for a while.  Big changes have occurred in my life.

1. I moved out of DC to my new home of Huntington Beach, CA

2.  I just completed a bike trip from Seattle to San Francisco.

3.  I started a new blog a couple of months ago

Once I establish a source of income here (yes, I moved without a job -at the expense of worrying my parents insurmountably), I will be back to making silly posts about the recent recipes I try out, the art I discover, and the knowledge I gain.  So keep an eye out for me!

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Seattle

I started my adventure in Seattle.  After spending 3 days in the city and taking countless pictures, here is the city summarized in ten photos.

And the journey begins….

In Seattle now and will be for the next couple of days.  Then my friend and I will begin our long bike journey south to California!

Here’s the exact planned route:

Seattle…Olympia…Sand Island Marine Park…Portland….Salem….Eugene…Tahkenitch Dunes Campground….Humbug Mountain State Park…. Jedidah Redwood National Park…Arcata… Humboldt Redwoods State Park…MacKerricher State Park…Ukiah….Santa Rosa…San Francisco!

Not sure how often I will be able to post items, but I will certainly try each night we have internet access!  Check them out here.

Let’s Be Realistic Here

A few weeks ago, my roommate and I revisited our bike trip plan from DC to Austin, TX…..and we nixed it for Seattle to SF.  Although the Pacific Northwest is more popularly traversed than our original route, there are several reasons that convinced us to switch:

  • the temperatures will be much cooler (70 vs 90 degrees)
  • more bike trails will be available (Washington is one of the top bike friendly states)
  • the route will take us about half the time (about 2 weeks).
  • there will be more opportunities to camp throughout the entire trip

We figure this will be a good starting point for any future long-distance we pursue.

Now, our route will include the following cities:

Seattle, WA

Portland, OR

Eugene, OR

Arcata, CA

San Francisco, CA

Departure Countdown: 26 days!!!!

Portland!!!!

Portland is a city of passion.  It seems like people do what they love -whether it involves food, art, bicycles, music, beer, or cars.  Everyone takes time to enjoy and do things consciously.  No one is in a rush to catch the Max rail.  Even more amazing, drivers will even spare a few seconds to simultaneously stop on a four-lane road and wave pedestrians across the street the instant they reach a crosswalk.  Although there seemed to be a record amount of smokers, the city is a place with which I felt a connection.

The little time I was able to spend exploring the city outside of working a conference has inspired me to snap out of the end-focused DC mindset and start living every day with happiness in mind.  Thank you, Portland!  You are a gorgeous city with wonderful people!  I hope DC adopts a thing or two from you!

Pervading The Threshold

I am sitting in the Portland airport after a week of working a conference and exploring the city.  I was going to just sit at my gate per usual, but I turned into the business corner that was on the way to use my laptop, check my e-mail and kill time watching some mindless videos before boarding a flight to return to the East coast.  It is here that I had a realization.  When I go back, I won’t have a home.  I have moved out of my house.  My friend is graciously housing my belongings in her house, and I will sublet her room for a couple of weeks while she is gone on vacation.

Then, I’m off.

A new chapter. A clean slate. The open road. Whatever else you want to call it.

I knew the day I would leave DC was coming for a long time.  Even with the date set and visible on my calendar,  it all feels so surreal.  It’s funny because I don’t think I am any closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life for a living.  I know that I have not encountered whatever it is.  Maybe it doesn’t exist and I need to create it.  Right now, all I want to do is just that- do.  Do everything that appeals to me. That challenges me.  That scares me.  That is unknown to me now.

That is my plan.  Thank you, Portland, for inspiring me.

Here’s to many future firsts, small victories, and crossing out of bucket list items:

August 5- I work as a staff for a conference.  Almost 5,000 ecologists in one convention center.  And I got a name badge. I feel so special.

August 7- I climbed a rock wall. In cowboy boots. Hardcore.  Even the Army soldier was impressed that I was able to lift my leg so high in stretch jeans.  Totally gave the public a crotch view in doing so though.

August 8- I ate at Voodoo Doughnut.  Too… much… sugar…. But hey! I was a tourist for a moment.

August 9- My friend and I walked through a drive through at 11pm.  The Wendy’s employee at the window was not happy, but we made the truck driver behind us laugh.

August 10- I got my first pat down.  Not as invasive or humiliating as I thought it would be.

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Photography and travel – two of my greatest passions.
And they are combined in this photography gallery of the 24th Annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.  There are four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Check it out!

Photo by Alessandro Cancian.

DC to Austin via bike in 30 days – It’s happening!!!

Last night, my roommate and I spent two hours brainstorming supplies and a detailed route for our bike trip to Austin, Texas (which may return to the original plan of DC to LA depending on circumstances).

We will be biking on average about 75 miles a day with a few days of exploration and relaxing in between.  To keep our costs at a minimum, we will primarily be camping in Virginia and North Carolina.  In bigger cities, we will stay with friends or couchsurfers.  The key pit stops are….

Charlottesville, VA

Blacksburg, VA

Boone, NC

Asheville, NC

Athens, GA

Atlanta, GA

Mobile, AL

New Orleans, LA

and then…..Austin, TX

(If you are along this route and are a couchsurfer, let me know!)

The countdown begins….

We have 88 days before our scheduled departure date of September 1.  In between now and mid July, we hope to get a majority of our equipment together, start fundraising, and go on a couple of trial long-distance trips to Mt. Vernon and Harpers Ferry.

So exciting!!!  Mosquitos and crocodiles of the bayou – bring it on!  Austin, here we come!

New York, New York

For my 24-hour trip to New York, one conclusion is clear: I held on to a misconception.  After my two previous experiences in New York (both coincidentally also 24 hours or less),  I had previously compared NYC to the Buenos Aires of North America -chaotic, dirty, and overwhelming.  Perhaps is was because I had only been to the tourist center or that I spent them chasing after my friends who had a definite plan of the day’s activities.  Nonetheless, from the masses of people who passed me on the sidewalks, I had found Central Park to be the refuge for one to not be yelled at for stopping to tie a shoe or just admiring your surroundings.

This time, my friends and I had no plan but to eat brunch.  We found a small French cafe in Soho, from which we ventured to an art gallery containing works of Picasso and Matisse.  Cars still honked.  People still crowded intersections.  Despite it all, I enjoyed being able to see the sky without tilting my head to an unhealthy degree for my spine.  At night, we went to a bar where a man just gave our table of 7 girls 2 boxes of his leftover pizza.  Yum.

After a few drinks, I left the city catching Megabus at 1:15 am.  As I watched the skyscrapers that before gave me a sense of claustrophobia pass in the skylight,  I couldn’t help but think, “I’m sorry, New York.  I love you, and  I will be back soon -this time for an entire weekend.”