2020 Travel Highlights


2020 was an incredibly weird year.

Thanks to the global pandemic that will be forever known as covid-19, I spent most of the year NOT flying. The last time I flew was in mid-February, right before the pandemic really took ahold in the U.S. beginning in March.

When I moved to San Francisco earlier this year, I seriously considered selling my car.

I’m so glad that I didn’t.

Although I spent most of the year in California, after our lease ended in May 2020, and with a paid off car, I spent most of the year living a digital nomad-like lifestyle: working my typical 9-5 during the work week, and exploring the outdoors over the weekend.

Here’s where I went in the U.S. in 2020:  


  • Saw the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
  • Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake
  • Hiked around Bonneville Trail in Salt Lake City 
  • Visited Park City Utah 
  • Went to Capitol Reef National Park
  • Went to Canyonlands National Park
  • Saw the Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
  • Went mountain biking around Moab Utah 
  • Jogging around Cottonwood Creek Trail


  • Spent a few weeks in Glenwood Springs, Boulder and Denver! 
  • Drank wine in Paradise in the Colorado River Valley AVA 
  • Kayaked on the White River near Denver
  • Got up super early for a sunrise view at Maroon Bells near Aspen
  • Participated in an impromptu rally for Black Lives Matter in Aspen 
  • Visited Aspen Museum of Art and had delicious beer al fresco 
  • Hiked to Hanging Lake, outside of Glenwood Springs 
  • Saw ancient pueblos at Mesa Verde National Park 
  • Walked around and spent a night in Durango CO
  • Almost hit a giant Eagle on our way to Steamboat. 
  • Walked around and spent a night in Steamboat Springs CO
  • Visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park 
  • Drove the Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Durango
  • Did a morning hike to Deer Mountain at Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Sandboarded at Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa 
  • Visited Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs
  • Went running along Boulder Creek in Boulder 
  • Jogging around Cherry Creek Trail in Denver
  • Visited the Colorado State Museum 
  • Running / walking along the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Colorado River, in RMNP! 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Arkansas River on our way to Alamosa! 
  • Visited Telluride CO! 


  • Went to a scenic stop along the Oregon Trail near Gering

South Dakota: 

  • Saw buffalo cross the road for the first time at Custer State Park 
  • Sunset and incredible colors at Badlands National Park 
  • Finally saw Mt. Rushmore in all its glory 
  • Visited Crazy Horse Memorial

North Dakota: 

  • Running along the Red River in Fargo ND
  • Walking along the Missouri River near Bismarck, the state capitol 
  • Visited the State Capitol! 
  • Had delicious Jewish food at a deli in Fargo 
  • Discovered Horenbacher’s, a ND grocery chain. 


  • Saw a massive Paul Bunyan statue 
  • Walked along the Lake Superior shorefront in Duluth 
  • Visited the massive Mall of America 
  • Walked along the Mississippi River around downtown Minneapolis 
  • Went to the Hmong Village (felt like Asia!!) in Minneapolis 
  • Running around Lake Calhoun aka Bde Maka Ska
  • Visited the grounds around the Minnesota State Capitol in St Paul  


  • Day trip out to see the Apostle Islands State Park 
  • Visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin 
  • Had delicious cheese and visited my first cheese-factory: Marieke Gouda 
  • Almost ran over a black bear. 


  • Snuck across the border from Wisconsin to cross this state off the list! 
  • Hiked to a waterfall near the Lake Superior / Wisconsin state border


  • Running along the Iowa River in Iowa City 
  • Having surprisingly good boba in Iowa City / University of Iowa 
  • Visited the State Capitol building in Des Moines 


  • Had delicious BBQ in Kansas City at Q39. 


  • Saw the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka 
  • Survived a crazy wind / rain storm on the drive back from Kansas City to Denver! 


  • Visited the Wyoming State Museum 
  • Visited the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody
  • Saw the super interesting looking geysers at Yellowstone National Park 
  • Incredible views of the Rocky Mountains at Grand Teton National Park 
  • Hiked along Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park 
  • Spent a weekend in Jackson, WY 


  • Hiked the incredible 14-hour round trip High-Line trail to see glaciers at Glacier National Park 
  • Took some nice photos around Flathead Lake 
  • Went running around Missoula
  • Spent a week enjoying the pleasant mountain air in Big Sky
  • Visited the Montana State Museum in Helena 
  • Hiked to Ousel Falls, just outside of Big Sky 
  • Finally had Taco Johns (like a Midwest Taco Bell) in Helena 
  • Saw the headwaters of the Missouri River! 


  • Went running along the Boise River in Boise
  • Went to the Idaho State Capitol 
  • Saw the massive Shoshone Falls 


  • Did a train trip along the Virginia and Truckee Railroad in Virginia City 
  • Walked around the Nevada State Capitol in Carson City 
  • Walked around downtown Reno 


  • Visited some incredible wineries, including Stags Leap, in Napa 
  • Walked along the Sacramento River and Sundial Bridge in Redding
  • Visited Joshua Tree National Park 
  • Went wine tasting in Lodi 
  • Visited the California State Museum and State Capitol 
  • Running around Noe Valley 
  • Hiking up to Bernal Heights Park, Twin Peaks and in the East Bay 
  • Visited the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley


  • Visited Crater Lake National Park 
  • Drove along the Oregon Coast 
  • Visited another cheese factory, the Tillamook Creamery, in Tillamook
  • Day trip to Astoria to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Spent two weeks living in Portland’s Pearl District
  • Running / jogging all around the Pearl District 
  • Eating voodoo doughnuts in Portland 
  • Hiking around Eugene
  • Visited my dad’s college in Corvallis 
  • Walked around the University of Oregon in Eugene 
  • Experienced Oregon Wine Country, visited Stoller Family Estate 
  • Day trip along the Columbia River Valley to Mt Hood


  • Experience Washington Wine Country, went to Yakima Valley 
  • Went back to Woodinville and got drunk at DeLille Cellars
  • Rode the Washington Ferry from Edmonds to the Olympic Peninsula 
  • Hiked Hurricane Ridge, outside Port Angeles
  • Hiked in the Hoh Rainforest, outside Forks 
  • Went to Ruby Beach, my first beach on the Washington Pacific Coast!
  • Lived for two weeks outside Seattle in Lynwood, WA
  • Visited the Washington State Capitol in Olympia 
  • Walked around the downtown area in Bremerton 
  • Re-visited Pikes Place Market in Seattle 


  • Visited Taliesin West in Scottsdale
  • Hiking around Saguaro National Park outside Tucson 

New Mexico: 

  • Stopped for a fantastic scenic view of Las Cruces just off the I-10. 


  • Dipped my feet in the Rio Grande at Big Bend National Park
  • Hiked at McKinney Falls State Park on Christmas Day
  • Hiked at St Edwards Park on Christmas Eve 
  • Visited the San Antonio Missions
  • Finally went to see The Alamo 
  • Walked along the RiverWalk in San Antonio 
  • Hiked around two parks around La Canterra in San Antonio 
  • Experienced Texas Hill Country Wines at Becker Vineyards
  • Walked / hiked around Austin, including RiverPlace Nature Trail 
  • Had some delicious frozen margaritas at Lake Travis 
  • Visited Zilker Park / Barton Springs Pool in Austin 
  • Discovered the local Texas grocery chain: H-E-B. 
  • Went to the highest peak in El Paso and saw Ciudad Juárez

2019 Travel Highlights


Usually at the end of each year I’ll spend a day or two looking back at the highlights of the year.

In 2019 however, I spent the last two weeks of the year moving cross country from the Washington DC area to the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, I did not have a chance to write up my travel highlights from the year until now!

For the sake of tradition, although a full year late, here’s my travel highlights from 2019: 

  • MLK Weekend in Charleston and Savannah  
  • Went to Big Island to see my grandma in February. Visited a coffee plantation and a brewery.
  • An incredible gastronomic experience in Bogota
  • Spent an evening at a lovely Hacienda Plantation 
  • Trekked to an equatorial glacier at Parque Nacional Los Nevados 
  • Exploring Hilton Head Island over Memorial Day Weekend
  • SF Pride, followed by July 4th Weekend in Santa Barbara 
  • Orcas Island and Seattle for a long weekend in August 
  • Annual Atlantic City / Jersey Shore trip! 
  • Running the San Jose half-marathon in early October
  • Day trip to the Hudson Valley from NYC in mid-October
  • SF visit in late October and again in late November 
  • Day trip to Salem from Boston 
  • Walking around the skyline in Columbus OH 
  • Visiting a Frank Lloyd Wright House in Springfield OH
  • Visiting the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield IL 
  • Seeing St. Louis atop the Gateway Arch
  • Visiting Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville!
  • Visiting a massive greenspace / park in Tulsa  
  • Christmas Midnight mass in Oklahoma City 
  • Walking around Santa Fe NM 
  • Visiting the native american museums in Albuquerque
  • Seeing the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend  
  • Driving through winter storms to reach Monument Valley in Northern Arizona 
  • Sunrise hike in Zion National Park 
  • Seeing the incredible hoodoos at Bryce National Park 
  • Walking along the rim trail at Grand Canyon National Park 
  • Celebrating NYE in Palm Springs 

2018 Travel Highlights


Despite not traveling so much this past year due to a focus on saving for grad school, I still managed to travel to a few places this year. Here are my highlights from 2018:

Cities Visited: 17
Countries Visited: 4 countries
Miles flown: 47,511 miles
Weekends away from DC: 13
Total miles redeemed: ~100k (for flights to Hawaii and Asia)

January – Louisville


February – Maui

Sunset in Lahaina

February – Big Island

Early morning run in Hilo!


February – Vienna, Austria

Visiting the palaces of Vienna, Austria

February – Bangkok, Thailand

Rooftop bar in Bangkok

February – Siem Reap, Cambodia 

Visiting Angkor Wat!

May – Las Vegas

Rock formations at Red Rocks State Park near Las Vegas

August – Brussels

Flight of beer in Brussels!

August – Gorges du Verdon, France

Swimming and kayaking at Gorges du Verdon in France

August – Nice, France

Biking and walking along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France

August – Monaco 

Wandering around the streets of Monaco.

August – Paris

Visiting Paris for the first time!




August – Paso Robles, California

Visiting the wineries of Paso Robles, Central Coast, California

November – Albany, New York

Visiting the NY State Capitol in Albany

December – Ashville, North Carolina

Honey tasting in Asheville!

December – Nashville, Tennessee

Visiting the music city of Nashville!

December – Southern Kentucky

Walking through caves (including this cool suspension bridge) in Southern Kentucky


December – Charleston, West Virginia

Visiting the West Virginia State Capitol


2018 in Review


I’ve neglected to post on this blog the whole year, but it would be strange if I didn’t post an annual review! Hard to believe I’ve been doing this for nearly the whole decade! And after doing this throughout my 20s, I’m writing this blog post as a now 30 something! You can check out my previous annual reviews here:  2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.

How did with my 2018 goals?

Keep running and lifting

  • I only did one race this year, and it wasn’t even a half marathon! As a result, I didn’t set a new PR. Additionally, while I have consistently gone to the gym throughout the year (yay!) I haven’t increased my weights all that much. Perhaps I need to switch it up this year with classes?

Running the 2018 Cherry Blossom 10-Miler Run!

Keep cooking

  • This one surprised me. While I did continue to cook throughout the year instead of eating out, I didn’t really expand my repertoire of dishes to make…thanks Trader Joes!

Keep saving and investing

  • This one was a bit tough considering I was saving so much for grad school while paying down more student loans. I managed to contribute about ~$5k to retirement this year, but didn’t add to my emergency fund or set up a 529 plan.

Keep improving my Mandarin Chinese

  • Surprisingly, I did have a tutor (briefly) for the school year in the months leading up to grad school.

Get my Private Pilot’s License

  • I completely failed on this one. I didn’t even schedule a call with flight instructor to do a demo flight. This is still something I want to do, but not quite sure when it’ll happen. Now that I’m not doing grad school, hopefully I can get to this goal.

2018 Areas of Focus:


  • By far the big thing this year was my decision on doing a career change from marketing to international affairs, and the possibility of starting grad school. I finally applied, was accepted and started grad school at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Between juggling school and work full-time, quickly realized that while I LOVE learning about other cultures, international affairs as a career was no longer for me. So happy that I went through the process. I can finally move on with my life!
  • Switched jobs again from marketing analytics back to marketing automation. Realized that I (1) still prefer being on the execution rather than strategy side of marketing, (2) I operate better working in smaller rather than larger organizations, and that (3) it’s better to work for a company as a full time employee rather than as a contractor.

Getting an award for my efforts at my day job!


  • Continued to grow in my relationships, both with myself, my significant other and friends.
  • So happy that things are going well on this front! 

Friends visiting my apartment for my 30th Birthday Hangout/BBQ!


  • Managed to maintain my weight throughout the year, as well as continued to workout and cook my own food several times a week!

Meal prepping for the next few days! Shrimp and spinach linguine


  • Visited four new countries and crossed a few places off my bucket list: Ankor Wat/Cambodia, Brussels/Belgium, Paris/France, Monaco.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat!

Sunrise at Angkor Wat!


  • Paid off two additional student loans (roughly ~$7k) and have just one loan remaining!
  • Paid in cash my first semester of grad school (roughly ~$13k)
  • Didn’t get to saving more as a result of my focus on education expenses this year.

2019 Goals

After having done these year-end reviews for now 8 years, I’m realizing that most of my goals are pretty much the same as they are every year. Perhaps this means I need to think bigger and outside the box. In order of priority, here are my goals for 2019:

  • Finances: Pay off my car ($6.8k remaining) and Penn student loans ($4.2k remaining)
  • Traveling: Visit at least 3 new countries this year, go to someplace new in the U.S.
  • Career: Get certification in either Salesforce/Pardot/Marketo (tools I use for my day job)
  • Health: Gym at least 4x/week; PR my half marathon time.

That’s it for now, let’s see how this new (and final year of the decade) plays out!