Travel

The Perfect Place to Graduate

If anyone was wondering the perfect place to graduate, I found the spot – Point Loma Nazarene University.

It’s probably the cheapest ocean front property that you can get in San Diego. There were not one, not two but many occasions that Brother #1 would share mesmerizing sunsets captured from his dorm room. On Saturday, that same brother graduated with his family and those oceanfront views behind him..

I often capture pretty skies, tree silhouettes and tide breaks. There is something predictable about nature’s movements. Looking at my photos, it’s clear that I probably like the consistency that nature provides? It’s like a stable best friend that always picks up when you need her to.

Humans on the other hand, quite unpredictable creatures. Human emotion is swift, turbulent and fleeting. I’ve never liked staged pictures (just ask my mom). And I find it hard to capture authentic human emotion. Yet, since college graduations happen once in a lifetime, I needed something tangible for our family to reflect upon. Photos that reflect who we are, in that moment and yet at our core.

Here are those photos, and these are my people.

Walking to the Golden Gate Bridge

 

When visiting San Francisco, one must walk to the Golden Gate Bridge. Fun fact, it is not in fact golden, rather a burnt bridge. This weekend, my mother and I found ourselves walking, or rather hiking, to the Golden Gate bridge. Inspired by a Kourtney Kardashian, we sought a piece of beach near the Golden Gate bridge to no avail. Instead, I wound up with these pretty pictures.

A Day Trip to Big Sur

California! For the time being, this is my temporary, permanent change of scenery. I ended up back on the West Coast after originally pursuing a similar opportunity in Chicago. As I dove into this adventure, I had to convince myself that no reason to stay was a good reason to go. Cliche as it sounds, it was now or never.

Chicago holds a dear place in my heart; but I began to associate it with some dark memories and events from the past year. Friends always tell me that California leaves me glowing so I’m happy to make that glow permanent.

Equipped with a car, I took it upon myself to take a day trip and drive down the California coast. Driving through California farmland to the Pacific Ocean is a mesmerizing drive – and probably not best for solo drivers (like myself). I found the greenery reminiscent of  Ireland’s foothills, cascading with life.

Day trip guides to Big Sur are aplenty but I’d recommend stopping in Carmel prior to completing the drive since pitstops and cellphone service are limited. I found this guide helpful. Enjoy!

New Year’s Eve at the Top of the World

Whenever I travel home for the holiday season, I make an effort to hike Laguna Beach’s Top of the World for some physical activity and sunset views. With the end of a year, watching sunsets at Top of the World leads to catharsis, washing away of the previous year and ushering in ta new dawn. As a closing curtain to the disappointments, accomplishments and growth that occurred, these final sunsets serve as a final bow, of sorts.

It is always a joy to find other couples, families and friends that revel in the same sort of adventure. I can count numerous engagements that I almost interrupted and many a special moment. Top of the World is a special place in Laguna, and it’s sunsets are nearly magical. On this particular day, the marine layer obstructed a cotton-candy cloud formation (but I think the pictures turned out alright).

December in Maui, Hawaii

 

To close out the catastrophe that was 2017, we escaped to Maui in search of sun, sand and surf. We were met by all three, plus some tropical showers. Despite Maui’s December rainy season, its December sunsets are just as beautiful as those in the summer. We enjoyed many a night on the beach, watching the sun sink into the Pacific. When it wasn’t raining (and even when it was), you could find us on the beach – hoping, wishing and waiting that the sunset would be as ethereal as the night prior. While staying in Wailea, we managed to find a few favorite spots:

  • Monkeypod in Wailea (the BEST Mai Tais, friendliest bartenders and free pie)
  • Leoda’s Pie Shop (delicious sandwiches to grab and eat at Kalepolepo beach)
  • Maui Tropical Plantation (beautiful setting to enjoy a meal)
  • Pa’ia Fish Market (great fish in Pa’ia)

The Road to Hana Travel Guide

The Road to Hana is a 65-mile journey in Maui, Hawaii. Beginning in Paia, the Road to Hana winds alongside Maui’s oceanside coast, with frequent switchbacks and breathtaking scenery. Needless to say, it’s quite a trek. On a cloudy Maui day, we set out to tackle the Road to Hana, once and for all.

Prior to departing, it is necessary to fill up one’s gas tank, pack snacks and water and secure directions (we used the Road to Hana Driving Tour). Cellular connection can be spotty alongside the coast so the app came in handy to recommend stopping points and direct our journey.

Favorite Road to Hana Stops

  • Keanae Lookout
  • Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread (allegedly the best)
  • Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach (such a fascinating natural occurrence!)
  • Hana Fresh (great smoothies + sandwiches in Hana)
  • The drive itself!

The views are incredible. Given the rain, we observed many waterfalls from our rental car. Similarly, we were not able to make it to the Seven Sacred Pools due to their December closure. I’d love to hear your Road to Hana tips and adventures!

The Sky is On Fire

A day when the sky was on fire. When I complain to people about California, I generally say that the weather is monotonous. Always sunny and 75, day after day, week after week.

My brother provided an interesting nuance to my perspective. He said: while the weather is the same, the sunsets are always different. Every time I go back home, I make sure to make my way down for a sunset or two, to see the sky on fire.