You can read about part 1 of my travels here (which arguably is more exciting, since I go on a tour of Japan and Russia): A Traveler’s Reflection of 2019 (part 1). The second half of 2019 was quieter in terms of travel, and around September, I started making an active effort to travel less and spend more time at home. After a while you just want to get more value out of your monthly rent!
New York City, New York
I spent two months in New York, and it was exciting for a number of reasons. One is that I always wanted to try living in New York City, the city of dreams and excitement. The second was that I got to fly on lay-flat airplane seats for the first time ever and it was honestly magical. I loved the energy of New York and the true diversity of its people and the fact that you could get a slice of pizza at 2am. But in the end, I learned I’m a west coast girl at heart and was glad to return to sunny San Francisco.
Highlights: Some truly fantastic food and afternoons spent wandering around New York City’s neighborhoods. Also Levain cookies will always have a place in my heart. 6 trendy desserts to eat in NYC
Atlanta will always be the first place that I called home, and this visit was particularly memorable because I was showing someone around town and got to experience Georgia as a tourist. I hiked Stone Mountain, went to the Georgia Aquarium, and walked around the Beltline. The hot, humid Georgia summer was everything I remembered from growing up.
Highlights: I could watch the Beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium all day, everyday. Also hit up the Dwarf House for the original Chick-fil-a, where you can get nontypical specials like chicken and waffles.
I very quickly popped into Chicago for a conference. I remember eating some great pizza and meeting some great people.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island was a wonderful, tranquil beach trip to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I’m actually not much of a beach person, so I spent most of my time curled up under an umbrella sipping on sparkling water.
Denver was another short trip where I spent the weekend relaxing and enjoying nature. A highlight was ziplining for the first time. I actually thought crossing the bridge to get to the last two ziplines was the most terrifying part. All I could feel was the rickety bridge swaying and all I could see was the steep fall below me!
Highlights: Ziplining Seven Falls, which started with a gentle zipline through the woods and ended with a drop-dead (literally) gorgeous zipline through the canyons.
Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. I fueled my days in Seattle with some excellent Pacific northwest coffee. I remember catching the last beautiful weather of a Seattle summer, and finally feeling like work was making sense.
Yosemite National Park, California
After 6 years of living in the Bay Area, I finally made it to Yosemite, and it was just as stunning as everyone said it would be. One of my favorite parts of living in San Francisco is all the wonderful hikes that are so easily accessible. I hiked 10 Lakes Trail, and I remember huffing and puffing and dying as I climbed up the final peak, and then seeing the first lake glistening down below.
Highlights: Spending multiple hours trying to start and maintain a fire so we could make s’mores. The wood we used was wet, so it was the smokiest fire and my hiking clothes still like a barbecue. Backpacking 10 Lakes Trail in Yosemite National Park
London reminded me of the sophisticated, classier older sibling of New York City. I never quite got over jetlag, so I spent my trip wandering London into the early hours of the morning. I enjoyed everything from the delicious food to rich history to streets spilling with nightlife.
Highlights: After seeing the Parthenon in Greece four years ago, I’m glad I got to see the rest of it at the British Museum. I’m also a huge high tea fan, so I’m glad I went all out at sketch. 72 hours of eating in London
I spent a quick week in Washinton D.C., and it just happened to be the week when impeachment hearings were just kicking off. Ironically, I stayed at the Watergate Hotel.
San Diego, California
San Diego was sunny and beautiful, and my days were blessed with 70 degrees and cloudless blue skies. I enjoyed the more laid back atmosphere, and was able to spend some evenings swimming laps and enjoy the breeze among the palm trees.
Similar to Austin, Honolulu was another trip with undergrad friends, and it was just what I needed for my soul. I ate a lot. I floated among the waves. I laughed with abandon. It was a wonderful trip.
Highlights: Did I mention that I ate a lot? I especially loved the Musubi Cafe in Waikiki and ate their an absurd amount.
Mill Valley, California
Mill Valley was a weekend getaway for my two year anniversary with my boyfriend. We spent a weekend cooking and hiking in an absolutely charming little Airbnb.
Highlights: A short 3 mile hike up Mt. Diablo for gorgeous views of the Bay during Fleet Week.
Punta Mita, Mexico
I ended my year of travelling with a family trip to Mexico. My family can really only handle beach vacations, or our heads will collectively explode from the stress of planning. Nothing like a sunny beach Christmas to wrap up 2019!
2019 was a whirlwind, and I’m already looking forward to more travel in 2020. Right now I’ve got trips planned to:
- Paris, France
- Quito, Ecaudor
- Galapagos Island, Ecuador
- Patagonia, Chile
- Patagonia, Argentina
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
It’s going to be a year of adventure!