Summertime Chi

Summertime Chi

If you ever thought two days is not enough time for a vacation, you are sorely mistaken.

This weekend I went to Chicago for the first time and honestly, this post went through an insane amount of editing to get it down to a . So far, I have left all of the cities I have traveled to making a list of things to do next time; however, my cousin, Tanya, managed to show me every corner and crevice of the city to the point where if I didn’t visit for another year, I would still feel like I had done enough. But I mean this in the best way possible because I got to see the city from a native’s eyes.

Where I stayed: Country Club Hills, Illinois
Fortunately again, I had a place to stay when I visited. I stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins about 45 minutes south of the city (without traffic).

What I did:
1. Skydeck Chicago
I went to the infamous Skydeck where you go to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower and step into the glass box overlooking the city. I am not afraid of heights so I never anticipated feeling scared, but once I stepped in, it was a crazy feeling. I felt pretty nauseated, and it also didn’t help that the person/people in the box next to me were jumping up and down. But once I remembered there is nothing forcing me to look down and that this has obviously been tested for stability, I turned my focus toward getting a good shot with my limited time.
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It is best to get here right when the Skydeck opens at 9:00 a.m., and even better on an off day where tourists aren’t ready to be out early in the morning like a Friday or Saturday. Frankly, you need to have or know someone with good editing skills because if it’s a sunny day, don’t expect to get a good shot of both the city and yourself. Continue reading “Summertime Chi”

Merry Times in Maryland

Merry Times in Maryland

It has only been a week and I am still thinking about the most amazing Labor Day weekend I have ever had. Besides spending a four-day weekend in a city I have never been to before, I shared these days with an incredible group of friends.

Where I went: Baltimore, Maryland

Where I stayed:
Fortunately, I have two friends who live in Baltimore so I was able to utilize both of their places during my stay. For first-time visitors looking to stay near ‘the action,’ I would recommend Fells Point or the hip neighborhood of Federal Hill–not just because my friends happen to live there.
ANE_0343 Continue reading “Merry Times in Maryland”

Boston Part One

Boston Part One

Welcome to a recap of my first part of my trip to Boston! This is due to the fact that apparently Boston wasn’t ready for my arrival this time around.

The first day of my trip consisted of an unprecedented, nearly-three-mile trek in jeans and 80% humidity. Then, my second day was dedicated to exploring downtown Boston, but cut short around 2:00 p.m. by an extreme downpour that eventually canceled my flight for Thursday morning. All and all, I left Boston with not nearly as many photos and sadly without my souvenir shot glass for my collection., but this is all the more reason that I will need to visit again very soon!

Where I stayed: Somerville, MA.
My friend Brad courteously hosted me for my two-day stay on the border of Somerville and Cambridge. Somerville is about a 15-minute drive from downtown Boston (without traffic), or 20-minute subway ride from Harvard Square Station to Government Center.

ANE_0279 (2)If you are looking to stay outside of the city, are visiting Harvard, or just want a cheaper alternative to the inner-city prices, I recommend this neighborhood. The subway system is extremely efficient and inexpensive and Boston is up-to-date offering uberpool and LyftLine.

Continue reading “Boston Part One”

The Big Easy

The Big Easy

This week, I went to New Orleans for the first time!

My dad and I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and started our day at The Gumbo Shop because who goes to New Orleans and doesn’t get gumbo? Anyway, I feel I should express here that I thought that besides Bourbon Street, there wasn’t much to do in New Orleans aside from some plantation tours and eating and drinking. I was pleasantly surprised to find that we had a full couple of days.
We took a walk around The French Quarter to see the sights like Jackson Square, Decatur Street, and Steamboat Natchez. If you are not familiar with Steamboat Natchez, it is New Orleans’ only steamboat that takes you on a two hour cruise along the Mississippi River.

Continue reading “The Big Easy”

4th of July Fail

4th of July Fail

I spent my 4th of July in LA for the second time and it was as big of a fail as the last. But at least the rest of the week wasn’t.

I happened to have an even longer ‘weekend’ this week so naturally I flew to a place that I would actually need that much more time: my second home. My friend Cynthia picked me up on the morning of the 4th and we spent most of the day at my friend Alex’s house. Initially, we planned to go down the street to the Queen Mary to watch fireworks, but those plans changed last minute when most of the group decided on Redondo Beach.IMG_5248IMG_5200After a 30-minute drive and an endless search for parking, we walked another 10 minutes only to find out that the firework show was about 20 minutes and the finale was all of 10 seconds…meaning we missed it while we were walking… When I saw fireworks there in 2015, I don’t remember the duration because we were so far away we could barely tell the show was even going on (a.k.a. The First Fail). But when I asked people if that was really it, everyone seemed confused why I would think it was longer. I was pretty over it and ultimately decided that I wouldn’t try 4th of July in The City of Traffic again. The true highlight was the cute pictures we got at Alex’s house earlier that day! Continue reading “4th of July Fail”

Casually in Cabo

Casually in Cabo

So, I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for two days. And it was…quite the [great] journey.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ilseย found out that she would have days off that fell on my days off. Considering it was her birthday week, we decided to travel together to somewhere warm where we could have fun and relax at the same time. Enter: Cabo San Lucas!
IMG_5156Getting to Cabo was sort of a hot mess. Originally, I sent out on a 7:30 a.m. flight out of Dallas to connect in Houston on the way to Cabo, while Ilse would fly nonstop on American. As luck would have it, the first flight out of Dallas to Houston got canceled which rolled paying customers onto the next flight. I fly standby which, for those who don’t know, means I do not have a confirmed seat. I kept getting rolled over so I assumed I wasn’t going to make it out of Dallas and ended up canceling. I decided to Uber home from Southwest headquarters and made it out to the employee shuttle, but somehow ended up getting on the wrong shuttle.
ANE_0014Considering I had to be taken back to the airport anyway, the passengers on the shuttle convinced me to give my trip one more try and to ask a gate agent to help me out. Once I arrived back at the airport, a lovely lady named Summer helped me out by re-routing me to L.A. I made it onto the flight with a minute to spare and one seat left. Once I got to L.A., I had four hours until my completely open flight to Cabo where I spent most of my wait time chatting with a couple of people at one of the restaurant bars. As we prepared to board, two of the ladies I was chatting with asked me about my plans and offered to drive me to my hotel considering they were already getting a rental car for their week-long stay in Cabo as well. Yay! Or so I thought. Continue reading “Casually in Cabo”

The Travel Bug

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not, in any way, to boast about or show off my travel experiences over the past couple of years. I know that traveling is not feasible for everyone for various reasons, but I want to share how it can be possible even on a budget.

Is it just me or does it seem like in the last year or so, traveling has become sort of a trend? With all the different discount websites/apps and opportunities through college and internships, it makes sense. But why? Why, all of a sudden, is everyone rushing to travel the world? Well, for me, taking that plunge to travel to a different country was life-changing. I know, it’s clichรฉ to say your study abroad experience was ‘the experience of your life,’ but it truly was for me. If you have been following my blog since the beginning, you already know this.

Before I studied abroad, some of my friends claimed that, besides the financial component, they did not have the desire to travel, that they feared missing out on a semester on campus. At that point in my college career, which was midway through junior year, I definitely understood; classes were not beating me down, I made some amazing (and life-long) friends, and I finally had someone to drive me around and explore L.A. (thanks, Cynthia!). But I had been dreaming of studying abroad since I went on a spring break art trip to France and Spain in 2009 and my senior trip to Italy in 2012. By 2015, I felt it was my last chance to see what was out there without any obligations in life.

Chรขteau de Versailles

I know some people have been bitten by this travel bug recently, especially with apps like Instagram where people can consistently show off their amazing travel shots. But some people, even with the financial means, see it as something that will be a luxury to them later in life after they have worked a few years. Here is my suggestion to all of you: if you can, TRAVEL NOW. I say ‘now’ because if it is something that has crossed your mind that you have consciously decided to put off for a few years, your experience will be totally different than what you are imagining at this stage in your life.

Pont des Arts bridge

Like my friends, my family had to suffer through my endless talks about London and other countries I visited. My parents are completely content at this stage in life in not having seen the world, but even my brother never thought much about traveling since having his senior trip in 2010 to Costa Rica. He explored the idea of studying abroad in Japan during college, but ultimately didn’t. Like most people, it was mainly a financial thing, but after I persuaded [re: forced] him to go to London with me last summer before I started my internship abroad, he said it was the best trip of his life. Still, this trip would not have been as great as it was had we not planned as much as we could.

Here are five ways you can make traveling an option sooner than you think: Continue reading “The Travel Bug”