Browsing Category: North America

Wrap Up: November 2017

Wrap Up November 2017 | The Atlas Heart

I can’t believe I’ve been back in California for over a month already. It has gone by super fast, probably because my schedule has been filled with plenty of work, family time, and catching up with my closest friends who live in the Bay.

I tested out doing a sober month in November for the first time ever (at least since I’ve been drinking alcohol, obviously), and it was actually really nice to take a break from drinking.

I only broke it for one weekend when I had a fun couple of nights out with some friends in San Francisco – but even still, that whole weekend I only had one beer and two glasses of champagne. So all in all, my first sober month went pretty well.

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Travel Destinations for 2018: Where I’m Going

Travel Destinations for 2018: Where I'm Going | The Atlas Heart

Where I might be living, visiting, and going back to – these are my potential travel destinations for 2018!

It’s my favorite time of the year! And no, I’m not talking about the holidays, although to be sure November and December can be some of my favorite months, especially when I’m surrounded by loved ones.

I even used to say that winter was my favorite season, but really I think that’s because I grew up in California and it gave me an excuse to play the Mariah Carey Christmas CD as much as I wanted.

Spoiler alert, fall and spring are now my favorite seasons, because they’re usually perfect for travel without the crowds, and I love that feeling of the changing of seasons, of new beginnings.

But, I digress.

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Wrap Up: October 2017

Wrap Up October 2017 - Road Trip around Ring of Kerry, Ireland | Europe Travel

I know I say this every single month, but whoa, where did the time go? I’m not sure how we’re already into the second week of November, but here we are.

With that said, one of my goals before the end of this year is to get into a better habit of mindfulness. I want to be able to value the passing of time more, to take one day at a time, and to not always feel like I’m running one step behind.

October was bursting at the seams, which is probably why I felt so exhausted by the end of it – I barely had time to catch my breath. Note to self: slow down in November and December. Your body, mindset, and bank account will thank you.

The month started with a fun travel blogging conference, then turned into two weeks of road tripping and traveling around Ireland by myself, and finally ended with my return to California after over a year of being abroad.

So, let’s dive right in and get to the good stuff. This was my October!

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Why I’m Choosing to Settle

Shore Acres State Park, Oregon - USA Travel

Here it is. That dreaded post that eventually happens to most, if not all longterm travel bloggers. The post that says they’re finally ready to stay in one place.

When I say I’m settling, I don’t mean in the way that I’m settling for less than I deserve, but more  that I’m settling for my sanity and productivity. I’m settling for me, and I’m okay with that.

I remember reading these types of posts from the bloggers I used to follow religiously, and I would always feel let down, like they were a sellout somehow. That they gave up on travel. But the truth is, this lifestyle that I’ve been living for the past 4+ years, it’s not sustainable, at least not for me.

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11 Photos to Inspire a Trip to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon in Arizona - USA Travel

The Grand Canyon was always one of those spots that I wanted to see in the US. I mean, it’s huge. It takes multiple hours to drive from one side of the Canyon to the other. Your brain can’t register the size of it because it seems to go on forever.

Jaw-dropping is one way to describe it. I was mesmerized as soon as I went to the first lookout. I stood there for ages, trying to take it all in, noticing the heavy fog that would roll in within a few minutes and dissipate just as quickly.

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My Travel Plans for the Rest of 2017

My Travel Plans for the Rest of 2017 - The Atlas Heart

I don’t know where this year has gone already, but I am left gaping every time I look at a calendar and realize it’s already May. May, people! That’s the fifth month (my birthday month, woot woot!), as in, 2017 is already almost half over.

In other words, I need to get my bum into gear. I had so many plans for this blog in 2017 and I’ve only incorporated a few of them so far. I’m ready to throw myself completely into my passions and not look back.

As I mentioned recently on here, I want the rest of this year to be a year to myself. And no, I’m not meaning I want to go be an anti-social hermit and have no friends. I mean I want to focus more on what I want this year, and not make compromises in my life to make someone else happy.

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Packing Guide for Winter Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

Hiking in the Pacific Northwest in Winter - USA Travel

This last year I had the chance to do a lot of day hikes around the Pacific Northwest. I found myself chasing waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, exploring mountainous landscapes at Mt. Rainier National Park, and even adventuring around the epic scenery to be found on Vancouver Island. Although a lot of these hikes were during spring and summer, the great majority of the hikes I did in Oregon were in the midst of winter.

I used the beautiful nature that was anywhere from 1-3 hours outside of Portland to get rid of any lingering winter blues. The Pacific Northwest is notorious for gloomy, rainy, and wet weather. It does snow occasionally too. Basically, if you’re hiking during the winter, you should be prepared for any kind of weather. The weather can also change multiple times throughout the course of a day.

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2016, A Year of Perseverance

The Atlas Heart in Taroko National Park, Taiwan - 2016

It’s that time of the year again. 2016 is already coming to a close, and I’m preparing for a new 12 months of goals, travel, and life. When I look back on 2016, I see a year that was difficult, challenging, and a whole lot of fun too. I based myself in North America this year and had many wonderful adventures starting from the Pacific Northwest.

This was an epic year of travel for me. I traveled to more US states than I thought possible in a year, and, to my glee, I finally added Canada to my destinations. In fact, I visited Canada four separate times throughout the year. I just couldn’t get enough of the Great White North.

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The Best Places Around the World to Celebrate Christmas

The Best Places Around the World to Celebrate Christmas - Holiday Travel

If you dislike Christmas, you may want to pass on this post because it’s all kinds of gooey hot chocolate goodness and holiday fun. I’ve always been a fan of Christmas and winter in general. There’s something about curling up with a good book by the fire, the Mariah Carey Christmas album blasting, and the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree.

The holidays may be too obnoxious and materialistic for some, but I really appreciate the family time and Christmas cookies that come about this time of the year. Sadly, I won’t be at home this Christmas, but I’ll be tuning in with a Skype call to still spend time with the family, and hopefully enjoy my own Christmas feast in Myanmar.

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Why I’m Thankful & Why We Should Acknowledge the Other Side of Thanksgiving

Why I'm Thankful and Why We Should Acknowledge the Other Side of Thanksgiving

No matter which side of the American election you were on this November, you’ll have to agree that where America stands on the world stage is a bit uncertain right now. My country has decided to put someone in power who has no previous diplomatic or political experience. We have decided to choose a leader that wants to close America’s borders, and increase the ethnocentric mindset that already exists in this country.

This has caused alarm for a lot of American travelers and expats. I’m unsure if visa regulations will change for the worse in the next few years. I’m dreading how much anti-American sentiment I’ll get from other foreign travelers for simply being from a country who elected someone like Trump. I’ve already received backlash from other travelers in the last couple of weeks and I didn’t even vote for the guy.

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