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.
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.
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.
When thinking about the Oregon coast, images of rugged cliffs, turquoise blue waters, and windswept forests come to mind. The untouched beauty of this stretch of the West Coast is appreciated by many, but it rarely feels overcrowded. The Oregon coast is the place to catch the best storms and listen to ghost stories. There’s an eeriness as well as a raw attractiveness that make people come back again.
I especially love the long stretches of the southern Oregon coast that are a lot less developed than the north. You feel disconnected from the rest of the country, winding through the curved roads that look out over breathtaking views.
There has been only one other time in my life that I’ve been on a jet boat, and that was on the famous Shotover Jet Boat Ride in Queenstown. Now it’s hard to beat that one. It’s a raucous 20 minute ride that is reminiscent of an amusement park ride where there are death-defying spins and close calls with cliff sides. In other words, it was an adrenaline rush in the best ways.
The recent jet boat ride I did with Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach, Oregon was very different in a lot of ways. There were still spins here and there, but the main purpose of the tour wasn’t for the giddy-inducing stomach flips. It was for the scenery, and let me tell you, the Rogue River knows how to set a beautiful scene.
With the stress of the US election and its results still ringing in our ears, I think we could all use a post that reminds us of the beauty that still exists in America. Last month, I visited the southern parts of the Oregon coast for a short trip, only to find some of the most striking and ethereal spots in the state – and that’s saying something!
I started my journey in the small seaside town of Brookings and continued all the way up to Cape Blanco, before cutting back to the Eugene area after my trip. The drive took two days in total and there were a lot of gems along the way.
When you think of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, you may have flashbacks to your high school American history class. Gettysburg was an important location to the Civil War in early July of 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg had the largest amount of casualties than any other battle in the war, and it is thought of as the key turning point for the Union forces. In addition to the famous battle, it’s the city where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address.
The Gettysburg Address is arguably one of the most famous speeches in American history, and perhaps what makes it so great is that it’s still relevant to today’s world – promoting the idea of equality for all humans.
Even with its profound role in American history, Gettysburg is often an underrated and forgotten about city in Pennsylvania. What many don’t realize is the amount of activities there are for travelers who want to have a well-rounded all-American experience.
Ashland, Oregon is stunning at anytime of the year. I visited the city for the first time last summer when I went to my first Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production. This year, I had a chance to visit again in the early fall and I fell in love with this cultural capital again. One aspect that Oregon does well is fall foliage and although Ashland is almost to the California border, it still has beautiful mild seasons and colorful leaves in the fall.
This time I didn’t have full days of trying to fit in as much as possible like I did last summer, but a more relaxed and local experience that sat well with me. I still managed to get to another Oregon Shakespeare Festival play to my excitement and I squeezed in a pint at Caldera Brewing, but other than that, I had a lot of new experiences that further endeared me to the city.
Travel and history so often go hand in hand. It’s one of the aspects I enjoy most about a new place, learning about the events and the people that came before I was standing there myself. I remember the many field trips I would go on around the Bay Area in California, to learn about the California Gold Rush or the lifestyles of the early Mexican immigrants.
When I visited Europe, I was in awe for a whole summer to see monuments and pieces of art that I had only seen in the pictures of my history books. In Australia, I would go to spots like Cockatoo Island to learn about convict history, or Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park for the rich Aboriginal heritage. In New Zealand, I would spend all afternoon in Wellington at Te Papa to educate myself on Maori culture, and the struggles and strides they’ve made in the last 176 years since the Treaty of Waitangi.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” // Martin Luther King Jr.
I’ve gone back and forth about whether I wanted to write about the last year and a half I lived in Portland, Oregon. It seems to be a city that is loved by many and disliked by none, but if I’m being honest, it was a city that constantly made me feel depressed and negative on a regular basis.
I’m generally a positive person. I try to focus on the genuinely good aspects in life and shake off the bad. I tried my best to adhere to that positive mentality while I lived in Portland. However, there was an underlying nature to the city that I could not get on board with.