Lately I’ve been getting this feeling a lot.
I’ve been saying to myself (and at times to others) “I wish I could just travel and blog about it.” Well, I can and have decided to do so. I don’t consider myself a world traveler or anything (and as an employee of a not-for-profit organization, I can’t really afford to be) but I really do love to travel, eat, explore new cities, stand in awe of the natural wonders of this world, meet up with old friends in new places, and simply explore and experience the beauty of this world and its peoples.
I was born in Hong Kong and moved to New York City when I was 18 months old. From 1.5-17.5 I didn’t do much traveling outside of the Northeastern U.S. and the neighboring regions of Canada (save the occasional trip back to HK to see family). When I was applying to undergrad I was determined to go somewhere different – so I did. Six out of eight schools I applied to were in Southern California (despite the fact that I had never been there before. No, I did not visit before applying). After getting accepted and accepting a school in Los Angeles my Mom decided to move to CA with me (to San Jose rather than LA) and that we should pack our car and drive across country (we always went on long road trips so it really wasn’t too far fetched for my Mom to suggest this), so we did.
A long drive through a lot of grass and occasional trees later, we arrived at the Grand Canyon (Northern Rim). It was pretty cool (honestly, my breath was not taken away, it was just – pretty cool). After taking a strenuous hike down and up the side of the North Rim, we decided to head off for some more driving. Then, it happened. As the sun set and the darkness of the night began to tire us out, we were driving on a pretty normal looking small road in search for a place to crash for the night. Suddenly, the road turned orange and became extremely curvy. We were dumbfounded but being pretty sure we were on the right track we didn’t want to turn back. After some time on these winding orange roads, we came across a small town (what I now know is Springdale, UT) and stayed the night. The next morning changed my life forever.
As I stepped out of the hotel that morning, I looked up and saw the most beautiful thing I have ever seen – an enormous bright orange canyon in front of a perfect blue sky. My heart stopped and the world stood still . In that moment, all sadness, despair, depression, bitterness, NY jadedness (okay maybe not all of it, but some) was completely irrelevant. My soul was completely saturated by the beauty of this canyon and there was no room left for negative thoughts and feelings.
I later learned that the winding orange road was the 9, a road that my Mom accidentally ended up on that goes right through Zion National Park in the southwestern area of Utah where Utah, Arizona, and Nevada meet (a road that is sometimes found in the front of your United States Map, if anyone still has one of those, and looks like the road in car commercials that show off how fast and smooth a nice car can go on a curvy road). It was the best accident that had ever happened to me.
Since then, my family has had four consecutive yearly trips to the canyons adventuring beyond Zion into Bryce Canyon, National Reef, Canyonlands, Arches and even over to Mesa Verde in CO. We have also visited national parks (although mostly not canyons) in CA, where I lived for four years, including Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon as well as Great Basin in Nevada. I have also been lucky enough to have lived in Beijing for three months where I traveled to nearby cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Ping Yao, Ten Crossings and of course back to my homeland of Hong Kong. Most recently, I had the great adventure of traveling throughout Tanzania with two of my best friends visiting Mikumi National Park, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanga, Mt. Kilimanjaro, Moshi, and Arusha. However, most of my travels are much closer to home. Some of my personal favorites include the Delaware Water Gap, Mystic, CT, and Washington D.C. There’s nothing like a beautiful view whether close or far from home.
It is a bit unfortunate for me that I had not kept a record of each and every one of my travels but I do hope that this will be a start. I believe that traveling has helped me to better understand and appreciate the world and its people (although I do still get disgruntled a lot – I mean I am a human being living in NYC so it only makes sense). But whether its a local trip to a nearby city, a new experience in my city, or to a completely new and foreign place, the people I meet and spend time with as well as the beauty that I see on my trips help me to keep smiling, to find hope when I feel hopeless and strength when I feel weak.
This is my blog about my adventures big and small.
There are many things that I am unsure of in this world but one this is for certain:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20