A Scenic Accommodation in Tacoma: Hotel Murano

A View of Mt. Rainier from Hotel Murano - Tacoma, Washington - USA

I heard about Hotel Murano before I arrived in Tacoma. When I was researching a trip to the area on my own months previously, Hotel Murano came up time and time again in my search. I kept thinking how nice of a hotel it seemed, at least online, and how I would love to stay there at some point.

That trip never came to fruition but fast forward half a year later and I was on my way to Tacoma on an InstaFAM trip with Travel Tacoma and Visit Rainier.

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An InstaFAM Tour through Washington State

mt-rainier-national-park-washington-instaFAM-tour-travel

When I received the email from Matt at Travel Tacoma, inviting me on an InstaFAM tour with a bunch of talented Instagrammers and photographers, I was beyond ecstatic.

For those of you who aren’t bloggers or in the media, a FAM tour stands for “familiarization tour.” It’s generally a tour that is a number of days, hosted and put on by a tourism board or company to promote a destination or brand. This one was solely focused on Instagram and finding the prettiest spots around Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Mt. Rainier. In other words, I was immersed for 4 days in finding the best views and most beautiful hidden spots in Washington. It was heaven.

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My First Visit to Mt. Rushmore & the Black Hills

Mt. Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota - USA

I’ve been taking advantage of my time stateside for the last year or so. I’ve managed to travel to a handful of new states – including Hawaii, Florida, Montana, Illinois, Michigan, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota – and in the process I’ve hit my fair share of Americana sights and monuments.

One of the most iconic ones I finally got to see this summer was Mt. Rushmore. Yes, it’s just a bunch of white dudes carved into a mountain, but it also represents 150 years of American history.

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A Short Road Trip through Scenic Idaho

Road Trip through Idaho - USA Travel

As I mentioned in my last post about Boise, it was my first time in Idaho this summer. It’s not a hugely popular place for tourism, compared to other states around the US, and I found it to be highly underrated as a destination. Idaho is lovely in so many ways.

I only spent about 7 days road tripping through the state, but I was amazed at the scenery and natural beauty found everywhere. All of the Idaho license plate slogans say “the scenic state” and I could see why as soon as I hit the road.

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How to Spend 3 Days in Boise, Idaho

How to Spend 3 Days in Boise, Idaho

I had the pleasure of seeing a new state last month: Idaho! Surprisingly, I had never ventured into Rocky Mountain territory until this year. As I’ve traveled this area more, I’ve only become further impressed with the amount of natural beauty that lies in this region of the states.

I knew I wanted to go through Idaho at some point this summer while I was planning my road trip around North America. Boise was high on that list since my blogger friend, Brianne from Everyday Runaway, is from there originally and she had great things to say about it.

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A Quest to Find the Best Pizza in Chicago

A Quest to Find the Best Pizza in Chicago, Illinois - USA Travel

One of my major goals with my birthday trip to Chicago was finding the best pizza in the city. I took the hunt seriously and had pizza every single day I was there, to the glee of my taste buds. I based my pizza journey off of my own research, other bloggers’ tips, and recommendations from locals.

I’d only tried deep-dish pizza a few times at one of my favorite pizza places in Portland, called Via Chicago. I don’t think anything could’ve prepared me for the feasts I had in store once I arrived in Chicago, however. From having pizza within 30 minutes of arriving to the city, to eating pizza on my way to the airport on my last day, I may have gone a little overboard. It was all in the name of research though! Right?

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Celebrating My 26th in Chicago

Celebrating My 26th in Chicago, Illinois - USA

It has been almost two months since my birthday shenanigans in Chicago, and I haven’t had the time to sit down and talk about it until now. Sadly, my hard drive with all of my data just crashed and I lost all of my photos from my birthday trip, among many other travels (besides my Snapchat and phone pictures), so I guess I’ve been putting off this post in a way.

I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m 26, it’s a new age that’s unfamiliar to me. I’m still at that point where I have to pause before answering, “…um, yeah, I’m 26.”

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The Cheapest Asian Destinations to Fly into this Summer

Cheapest Flights to Asia this Summer from the USA

Summer can be the most expensive time of the year to travel, but it’s also the most likely time of the year that Americans will use their vacation days. A lot of my fellow Americans have this idea that travel has to cost a lot of money and can only be done every once in awhile since it’s so expensive (or you only have two weeks of vacation every year).

Now, I can’t help you with increasing those vacation days, but what people don’t realize is that travel can be incredibly affordable if you know where to look. Travel doesn’t have to mean resorts and constant indulgences either, the best kind of travel is truly when you’re meeting locals and getting an overview of the local culture.

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On Coming Home to the Land of Fear

On Coming Home to the Land of Fear - America Travel

I’m tired you guys. Exhausted might be a better word. I try my best to spread positivity on this blog and to focus on the good, but sometimes, sometimes, I have to be honest and talk about the negativity too.

The America I left 3 years ago, is not the same one I came back to last March. Perhaps I was blinded by my love for my country, never having spent a decent amount of time away from it previously. I know this was not a sudden change, it’s something that has been building throughout the decades, probably, to be honest, since America was born. But the America I came back to last March, the one I’ve been living in for the past year and a half is unrecognizable to me now.

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Notes on Visiting Detroit

Streets of Detroit, Michigan

Before this year, I didn’t think much of visiting Detroit. It’s located on the other side of the country, known as one of the most dangerous places in the USA, and abandoned by droves of people not all that long ago. It doesn’t exactly scream postcard fun travels.

One of the aspects that beckoned me to visit, however, is my fondness for all things Motown. I wanted to see the birthplace of an era that had a huge impact on my love for music.

In Detroit, I discovered an enticing vibrancy to the city, even with all of the misconceptions I held previously. My Uber driver dropped me off at Eastern Market from the Greyhound station, and he said it best as I hopped out of the car: “If there’s one way to describe this city, it’s that it has a whole lot of soul.”

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