Tag Archives: Road Trip

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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Postcard from Point Reyes

Point Reyes Lighthouse - California

I looked at our map which probably hadn’t been used since 1980. I traced my finger up the California coast through all the spots I knew so well and stopped just north of San Francisco. Point Reyes. It sounded familiar, a place that my friends from the Bay had mentioned countless times before, I’m sure, but one I had never ventured to myself.

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The Art Deco Capital of New Zealand

On our way to Gisborne for a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend and I stopped in Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand, and one that I was immediately charmed and enamored with.

When we parked the car and hopped out, we were inundated with the feeling that we had just walked into The Great Gatsby.

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Located in Hawke’s Bay, which is known for its wine (especially Chardonnay!), the sleepy city of Napier takes you back to another time and place.

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In 1931, there was a 7.2 Hawke’s Bay earthquake which leveled the town and killed over 250 people in the region. The downtown of Napier was catastrophically destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Being the 1930s, at the height of the Art Deco period, the downtown was rebuilt in the style that was popular at the time.

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Most of those buildings still stand today and many of the storefronts remain untouched, not remodeled into modern aesthetics. I see this as a homage to all those who perished or were effected by the 1931 earthquake.

It makes for a really interesting and photogenic city, one that is actually one of the most photographed tourist attractions in all of New Zealand.

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Every year in February, people flock to Napier for the Tremains Art Deco Weekend. Unfortunately we weren’t there for the weekend, but I’ve heard it’s a sight to see with the number of old cars from the early 20th century and people dressed up in 1930s fashion.

Napier goes all out to relive the Art Deco period.

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We had a grand time grabbing lunch, walking around the downtown streets, and taking pictures of the colorful personality of Art Deco Napier.

I would highly recommend making a stop and checking it out for yourself, especially if you have ever wondered what it would feel like to live in another time.

Napier is a great stopover if you’re on your way to Gisborne, or taking a road trip around the North Island.

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Have you ever been to a place that still feels like another time period?

A drive through the L.A. beaches

California Road Trip, USA

Maybe I’ve changed a lot in my tastes since living abroad, but the enamored feeling I once had towards Southern California no longer seems to be there.

I still enjoy visiting the sunny side of the state, and I still love many aspects of San Diego, but the attitudes in L.A. and Orange County made me realize it’s probably not where I’d want to end up.

Between the bad drivers, the traffic, and the stifling smog, I found myself stressed out more often than not. It would be an adjustment to move to the L.A. area, something I’ve thought of doing in the past for my career.

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It’s astounding the amount of foreigners I’ve met abroad who have only been to L.A. and immediately write off California as a whole as being overrated.

That’s like saying Auckland represents all of New Zealand (fact: it’s actually the complete opposite to the rest of the country), or Sydney represents all of New South Wales. If you go to New South Wales, visit Byron Bay and Sydney, compare the two, and you’ll know what I mean.

The great thing about California is there is so much versatility, even between cities, and especially between regions, as you find with many places around the world.

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Even still, I can’t deny that there are a lot of stunning places to discover in L.A. if you know where to look, and a good place to start is the L.A. beaches.

Towards the end of our time in L.A. and Orange County, we decided to spend the whole day driving up Hwy 1 and popping into random beaches along the way.

I was meeting a friend in Malibu for dinner, and we were just coming out of our high from Disneyland in Anaheim, so it sounded like a great idea to get out of the city and give Los Angeles another chance.

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I will still always consider Santa Cruz to be Surf City USA rather than Huntington Beach, but it was impressive touring the spotless and pristine beaches south of the city.

I mean, there is a reason why so many of these beaches have been seen on TV shows.

Huntington Beach

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Long Beach

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Redondo Beach

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Manhattan Beach

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Venice Beach

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Santa Monica Beach

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What’s your favorite O.C./L.A. beach?

This is the beginning.

I’m sitting in a new cafe in a town I used to call home. Everything is the same yet different.

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Transitioning back to the States, and more specifically California, has been more overwhelming than I thought it would be. Little things I never used to think of now rattle me, and make me realize a lot about my own culture.

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Showing someone who has never been immersed in West Coast culture my old life, that’s only an added challenge.

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me and monica

Regardless of the unsteady ground I sometimes find myself on back home, I love it here. If you’ve noticed that I haven’t posted a lot lately it’s because I’ve been wrapping my mind around this place I used to know.

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And I think I’m finally there.

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Without a doubt I’m a different person than when I left, but my core personality is still ingrained in California culture, and it’s surfacing again. That spontaneous, beach-loving, carefree person with a touch of oddity, that’s me and California brings out the best parts of it.

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I can’t wait to share with you a piece of home. I don’t really know how to start, just that this is the beginning.

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me and sis

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I still have quite a few posts to catch up on from New Zealand and Hawaii, and they’ll make an appearance here in due time.

I’m heading to Coachella for the weekend, and after that it’s going to be one crazy ride, slowly making my way up the coast of California – including the likes of roughing it in Joshua Tree, the glamor of Hollywood, the chill vibes of Santa Barbara, and all the way through to the family I’ve been missing for so long in the Bay Area with many and more stops along the way.

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me and tim and peter

This is the beginning of taking my blog to the next level. This is the beginning of a more personal style to my writing. This is the beginning of trying new things on here, such as vlogging about the countless breweries I’ll be stopping in at, or simply making a video montage of the beautiful places I’ll be visiting.

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This is the beginning, and I hope you’ll come along and join in on the journey.

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Cheers to a new life Stateside, and to all those wonderful people I met abroad these past two years. I couldn’t be more grateful to where my life has led me today.