Thursday, December 11, 2008

Random Travel Update 34

Last Location: Costa Rica
Arrival Date: November 7, 2008
Departure Date: December 9, 2008

Current location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: December 9, 2008
Departure Date: December 26, 2008

Next location: Banff, Canada
Arrival Date: December 26, 2008
Departure Date: January 4, 2009

Photos at:

Costa Rica is an amazing country. I should have written more from the beach, but I think the photos speak for themselves. If Samara is any indication, then there is no understatement about the quality of beaches in Costa Rica. While in Samara, I explored tide pools and isolated beaches, walked along (and once by accident through) horse fields and river deltas, photographed monkeys and iguanas, was followed and befriended by several local dogs, took Spanish, dance, yoga, aerobics and jewelry making classes on the beach, tried the local firewater (, went on a canopy tour ( of the rarest type of forest in the world-dry tropical, and experienced several dozen turtles all laying their eggs at night on a nearby unoccupied stretch of sand.

After returning to Heredia via a five hour standing-room-only bus trip from Samara, I packed my last week in Costa Rica with a historical music concert by the 10-time Grammy winner Juan Luis Guerra and his band 4 40 (cuatro cuarenta) from The Dominican Republic; a trip to the discotheque for some salsa con mis amigos; a tour of the local Café Britt Coffee Plantation in Barva and a tour of the Rainforest in Nacional Parque Braulio Carillo, in addition to my 20hr/week Spanish lessons.

All of the above activities were outstandingly wonderful and mind tingling. The Juan Luis Guerra ( concert was of pure luck. The show was scheduled for Sunday but was rescheduled due to rain. My teacher told us about it in class on Monday and when I asked the school receptionist about getting tickets, a friendly English student offered to give me and two of my amigas a ride. Getting tickets was another effort since their advertised price was 22,000 colones each (US$40). Way out of budget. After more effort, we discovered that 2 for 1 tickets were being sold for only 18,000 colones at the bank. After going to the bank, we discovered that the deal only applied to those holding a specific credit card which none of us had.

After pondering a bit more and almost giving up, our salsa instructor offered to call his friend who had the requisite card and ask him to pick up some discounted tickets at the bank for us. Since there were three of us, we were going to have to buy an extra ticket, but upon arriving at the bank we found a person selling her ticket for 8,000 colones. So, in all, we ended up with three tickets for a total of 26,000 colones ($16 each) just in time to drop off our books at home, eat a snack and head out to the show which, turned out to be nothing short of magnificent despite the six-inch deep mud trenches we had to trek through on the way there that nearly destroyed all of our shoes.

I spent the rest of the week studying and making the best of my last week at the school. On Friday, I met up with two friends from dance class and their two friends for a night out at the discotheques. Of course, I was terrified about the cigarette situation, but I figured that it was my last weekend and if I got sick, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I really wanted to experience Salsa in its correct content.

After driving to our preferred club, we found that it was reserved out for a private party so we proceeded to drive to three more discotheques, all booked out by private parties. I didn't mind being driven around since two of the friends we were with were locals and we were able to exchange useful language tips with each other. We ended up at a sort of discotheque mall with over a dozen bars and clubs all in one main area. We found a dance club with a cheap cover that turned out to be perfect. They played salsa and meringue and cumbia and socca and hip hop and even I think a moment of techno. The best part is that it was big and airy with no active smokers in sight. So I was able to stay out late without getting sick.

The next morning I woke up naturally for breakfast at 7am, studied some, and then headed out for my walk to the nearby town of Barva for a tour of the Café Britt coffee factory. It was a sunny blue day and my walk was delightful. The tour too was delightful, if a little bit cheesy, and the tour guides let me demonstrate the proper coffee sampling technique for the audience, which was fun and won me a prize. I can demonstrate later if anyone is interested. Before heading home, I walked to the city of Barva town center and strolled around the central park where they just happened to be having a festival.

On Sunday, I woke up early again to catch a bus from Heredia to the capital city of San Jose in order to catch another bus from San Jose to Guapiles via the Parque Braulio Carillo about an hour north. There I took a delightful tour of the rainforest by Aerial Tram, which you can find info about at It was pouring when I arrived, but I figured that it was likely going to be a lucky day for me since I had just seen the biggest rainbow of my life a few moments earlier on the bus ride up. So, despite being assured by the park staff that it had been raining all week and that it would continue to rain all day, I decided to wait in the giftshop just in case it stopped raining, which it did 15 minutes later.

There were no other tourists around so I had a tram and guide to myself, which meant that I could ask all the questions I wanted, practice my Spanish and have the binoculars all to myself when wildlife emerged. The tram tour was perfect because it traversed all layers of the forest from almost ground level to above the canopy. Did anyone else have the Reading Rainbow when they were kids? Being on the tram felt like being in a scene out of The Reading Rainbow, like I was suddenly transported by rainbow into this densely interesting and educational environment in a far away place.

After the hour and fifteen minute tram ride, my guide took me on a hike through the park pointing out significant or interesting plants along the way. We came across a tiny red and blue poison dart frog and a larger non-poison cute frog taking a nap on the orchid display, a coati, a very cute red oversized rodent-like animal, a huge ant, and a bunch of toucans, including rainbow-billed ones, which are especially pretty looking. Photos are at: Though, the nature of being in the wild and not at a zoo was that the animals ran away pretty quickly in general and so it was not possible for me to get photos of most of them. I was lucky to get an up close shot of the toucans. There are a few more quality-looking photos of wildlife in Costa Rica posted at

After spending a few more minutes writing postcards and sampling the Café Britt chocolates at the gift shop, I returned to Heredia, checked out a dance performance by the local UNA university and ate dinner at my favorite Lebanese joint in Costa Rica, aptly named Comida Lebanesa. At 8pm, I hopped on a bus to Alajuela to catch up with a group to go white water rafting the next morning. Unfortunately, rafting was cancelled due to an overabundance of water on the river so I spent Monday hiking the coffee farm outside the hostel, socializing with the other hotel residents, checking out Alajuela proper and documenting the ant behavior on my bedsheets.

Tuesday saw my return home on a long series of short flights from Alajuela to Houston to Los Angeles to Tucson. Though sad to have left Costa Rica, I am thrilled to be back at home with my mom, dad, hot shower and bug-free bedroom.

Thanks to everyone for your travel tips and Costa Rica advice. It looks like I will have to return to Costa Rica someday to see everything that I missed out on this time.

Now to all my Canada peeps: let me know what's up in Alberta for New Years!



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Random Travel Update 33

Last Location: Heredia, Costa Rica
Arrival Date: November 7, 2008
Departure Date: November 14, 2008

Last location: Monteverde y Volcan Arenal, Costa Rica
Arrival Date: November 14, 2008
Departure Date: November 16, 2008

Current location: Samara Beach, Costa Rica
Arrival Date: November 7, 2008
Departure Date: December 9, 2008

Next location: Undecided

Photos at:

Hola! Estoy en Costa Rica estudiar espanol. Yo quiero escribir esta cartra en espanol, pero no es possible por mi ahora. Tal vez en tres mas semanas…

I love it here. Before it even touched the ground, I understood why my plane was packed with tourists eager to spend their precious little vacation time on this rich coast. As my aircraft descended, the clouds parted to expose the luscious green landscape below:

Costa Rica is thoroughly beautiful, the tico (Costa Rican) culture is relaxed, the environment is generally well protected, and the infrastructure is simple. I live with host families of which I have two, one in Heredia and one in Samara. The accommodation, like the infrastructure, is simple but charming. My mama ticas are wonderfully caring and make me two delicious vegan meals a day.

My tico families don't speak English and I get plenty of practice between them, the staff at my school and my fellow students. My Spanish is improving rapidly, though I think that perhaps I am better at forgetting English than I am at learning Spanish.

I will leave the rest of the details to the few photos I have already taken: There is much here to do and I am keeping busy between my studies and all of the activities my school has available for us to participate (in Spanish, of course). I will add comments someday when I am back in English-speaking mode. In the meantime, I will do my best to reply to emails during my breaks. Extra points if you help me practice by writing in Espanol- though please try to keep language simple.



Friday, November 7, 2008

Random Travel Update 32

Last Location: Los Angeles, California
Arrival Date: October 27, 2008
Departure Date: November 6, 2008

Current location: Heredia, Costa Rica
Arrival Date: November 7, 2008
Departure Date: December 9, 2008

Next location: Undetermined

Of all the places I have been or could have been in the world, there is nowhere that I would have rather been then right where I was during the eight days leading up to the most historical election of my lifetime. On Tuesday, November 4th, Californians passed a ballot initiative to end the intensive confinement of calves, pigs, and egg-laying hens in crates and cages so small the animals can't even turn around or extend their limbs. When implemented, the new law will affect 20 million animals, making their lives a little bit better in a significant way.

The landslide victory, 63 yes to 37 no, shows that treating the animals we raise for food with some standard of common decency is a mainstream value accepted by people from every demographic and political ideology. To those of you who contributed financial resources to this campaign or otherwise helped out, thank you and congratulations. For those of you still in the dark about Proposition 2 or the plight of animals on modern day factory farms, visit or the Humane Society's homepage for more information about this landmark victory for farm animals.

My gratitude goes out to Josh Balk who suggested that I come out to California; to Paul, Brian, Eric, Sandy and Ryan who were amazing company during the last few days of the campaign; and to Jane and Mark Garrison (as well as Tuffy, Little, Daisy and Tiny) who put us all up with amazing hospitality in their gorgeous vegan utopia on Redondo Beach.

Another congratulations goes out to those of you who supported Obama for president. I have always been proud to be an American, but never in my lifetime have I been so proud of Americans as I am right now.

Pictures are up at
Click on the Prop 2 Campaign 2008 photo album.

I will send an update from Costa Rica soon.



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Random Travel Update 31

Last Location: DC metro area & Coopers Rock, West Virginia
Arrival Date: October 3, 2008
Departure Date: October 13, 2008

Current location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: October 13, 2008
Departure Date: October 27, 2008

Next location: Los Angeles, California

So this was going to be my "Why I love America" update, but there were too many reasons and too much pressure to phrase them eloquently so you will just have to trust that I love America and I will cover the subject again in more depth at a later time.

My visit to the DC-metro-area was refreshing. The leaves were displaying gorgeous color and the temperature was just perfect; still summery with the occasional breeze. I was able to see several good friends, visit my favorite places for good vegan cuisine, run a few long-over-due errands, attend the annual Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary Fundraiser, listen to a live Jazz concert on the mall, finally go to the top of the Washington Monument, pick apples at an Orchard and try my hand at bouldering in West Virginia with Jon and his rock climbing posse.

Being home in Arizona has also been nice. I have been keeping myself busy organizing the house, spending time with the parents and preparing for my next adventures. On Monday, I will head to Los Angeles for ten days to help out with the Proposition 2 California ballot initiative campaign to end the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small the animals can't even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs. For those of you in California, and/or who believe that animals should be treated with compassion and dignity, make sure to visit: for info on how you can contribute to this historic cause. I shouldn't have to remind any of you to VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4th, but if you are still having trouble deciding, feel free to contact me and I will tell you why I am voting yes for Barack Obama and no for Prop 105 (Arizona only). For more easy-to-read endorsements for those residing in Arizona, visit:

From LA I will head straight to Costa Rica where I will study Spanish for a month. If you have ever been to Costa Rica, now would be a good time to write me ;)



Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Travel Update 30

Last Location: Seoul, ROK
Arrival Date: July 16, 2008
Departure Date: September 28, 2008

Last location: San Francisco, CA
Arrival Date: September 28, 2008
Departure Date: September 28, 2008

Current location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: September 28, 2008
Departure Date: October 3, 2008

Next location: Washington, DC

New photos:
Jon's Blog:

So this is my story of the last few weeks. It is a sad story and also a happy story.

Jon and I did glorious things while he was in Seoul. After returning from our tranquil temple stay, we watched two movies at the DVD bang (room). Thelma and Louise and The King and I. Both were perfect for the mood I was in. I had forgotten that The King and I is about an English teacher! Really, it was perfect. DVD bangs are fabulous inventions. They consist of a small room with a big comfy couch and a big screen TV. You can watch any released movie you like there, with or without subtitles. Also, you can bring in whatever snacks you like and go wild. It is really a lot of fun.

One day, I made Jon walk along the Han River with me from my apartment in Chungdamdong, past the Olympic Stadium, through Hangang Park, across the Jamsil Bridge, through Riverside Park where we discovered an outdoor free rock climbing wall, then past another park, across the Yongbigyo Bridge at which point the sun set and the bugs started eating us so we jogged another 2 km before grabbing a cab near Oksu Station. Along the way, we stopped to take pictures of flowers, butterflies and kites, drink 1000W ($1) iced coffees with 900W ($0.90) soymilk, and paddle along in a paddleboat shaped like a swan. I think we totaled about 15 km. My goal was 20 if it hadn't been for the bugs.

After Jon left, things outside of work were really good. I made more time to see my friends, went out with my co-workers and found a gym five minutes away that let me try for a week free. I took a pilates class and a body sculpt class in Korean! It was so cute how the Koreans in the class would help me along the way to make sure I was doing the moves correctly. They were so sweet.

At work, however, things got complicated. Early Saturday morning I made one of the saddest decisions of my life, to leave Korea after my school failed to pay me for a month of work. I can't fully detail how sad it was. The weather had just gotten really good, I had just found my gym and also just found Cheewoo, a friend from Java Green in DC who recently returned to Korea and turns out to be one of the most wonderful people I know. I had plans to go bungee jumping in Bundang, to a film festival in Busan and was hoping to start hiking regularly in the Fall weather.

If you were one of the people who was there to see me off Saturday night (Cheewoo, Tre), to help me pack all night (Jordy) or to see me off that morning (Meghan) then you know the story. If not, I can explain the comedy of errors later. I don't feel like focusing on it now, but I am sure the whole episode will seem funny later.

I have returned safely to my hometown of Tucson, Arizona and I can't help but wonder whether, as much as I miss my friends in Seoul, maybe I was meant to return here all along. I have barely been here four days and I already have so many important things to do, like learn Spanish and help my parents lay wood flooring upstairs. Also, I will be coming to DC next week. So watch out for me. Maybe send a message if you want to meet up at Asylum, Java Green, Sticky Fingers or somewhere else awesome. I'll be living it up after ten and a half weeks in the vegan train wreck that is Korea.

In the meantime, check out new pictures and the last additions to my Korean Food Scrapbook at: Also, check out Jon's new blog for his take on things:

I look forward to seeing many of you American types soon!



Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random Travel Update 29

Last Location: Seoul, ROK
Arrival Date: July 16, 2008
Departure Date: September 28, 2008 (2pm)

Last location: San Francisco, CA
Arrival Date: September 28, 2008 (8am)
Departure Date: September 28, 2008 (9pm)

Current location: Tucson, AZ

Today was the most magnificent day. I can't describe all the ups and downs of the last few tumultuous weeks but today I can say that I came a bit closer to understanding the purpose of it all.

Today I saw the sun rise twice. Once blurred through my foggy window in Seoul and another time crisply through the window of my airplane just as the west coast of he United States came into view.

Today someone told me, "welcome home" and I felt a deep sense of gratitude for being an American.

Today someone asked me "What makes you feel free?" And a million things that were that moment came into my head.

Today I returned to the same place I was a year ago last week when I took my first flight to Korea. I saw good friends, ate good food and felt happy.

Today I came across at least a hundred things that are worth more than the money I left behind. And I felt utterly content.

Today, I discovered the clarity that I am perpetually in search of. Today was nothing like what I would have thought it would have been just a few days ago, but it was better than anything I could have planned.

Today I would write more, but it has been a 40 hour long day and I am ready for bed. Thank you to all the people in life who make this living such a wonderful experience: Mom, Dad, Jon, Jordy, Cheewoo, Meghan, Ben, Haiete, Francky. You bring sparks of light to my heart. Thank you for being there.



Monday, August 25, 2008

Random Travel Update 28

Last Location: Youngpyungsa Temple, Gonju, ROK
Arrival Date: August 23, 2008
Departure Date: August 24, 2008

Current location: Seoul, ROK
Arrival Date: July 16, 2008
Departure Date: Undetermined

Next location: Undetermined

I love Dos Tacos. Not the way people love their significant others or family members even. No. This is that kind of pure, intelligently emotional love, reserved only for a perfect business design that has emerged miraculously as if from out of one of my dreams.

Dos Tacos has everything that a vegan internet junky from Arizona living in Seoul would want: wireless internet, fresh (not pre-mixed) margaritas, sautéed mushrooms, vegetarian refried beans, cilantro, guacamole, salt, cacti and a 3am closing time. All within walking distance from my home and work. I don't know if it possible to describe the significance of this find but I think it rivals that of marriage or maybe even college graduation. I am tempted to send out invitations.

I forgot to write a one-year anniversary update. I am sure you didn't notice, but the fourteenth marked a year since I wrote my very first update 28 updates ago (see attached email). This month also marks a year since I left DC and next month marks the anniversary of my first flight to Korea. So be impressed or don't. I am going to take a moment to feel nostalgic.

Ok. Back to Dos Tacos. Really. If you live in Seoul come meet me here. I may very well stay here all week. If you live in the US or Australia or some other country that has a large diversity of ethnic vegetarian cuisine to choose from, don't email me back. I don't want to here about your happy cosmopolitan ways. I will tell you what it's like to eat some combination of rice cakes or vegetables and rice for lunch five days a week. They don't even give me soy sauce half the time. Gangzajm.

I am posting pictures soon. Find them at:

Perhaps I will write about my job someday. (Yes I do work.) I teach children. I am now officially in the position of authority that I always dreamed I would never have. So much for dreams, though it isn't as bad as one might think. I just let them do everything I wish my teacher had let me do when I was their age. Hmm. It doesn't feel like that was so long ago. Another moment for nostalgia please…

Jon and I spent last weekend contemplating the meaning of life and aesthetic at a Buddhist Temple near the town of Gonju, about two hours South of Seoul by bus. It was idyllic and the weather was perfect for us. Pictures will explain more. Think lotus flowers and spiny chestnuts. I will try to have them up by next week. Not trying to be too ambitious ;)



Thursday, August 7, 2008

Random Travel Update 27

Last Location: Suwon, ROK
Arrival Date: August 2, 2008
Departure Date: August 2, 2008

Current location: Seoul, ROK
Arrival Date: July 16, 2008
Departure Date: Undetermined

Next location: Undetermined

Today is a good day for an update. I was waiting for the best day to write an update. Yesterday was an excellent day and I would have written then but the day started to early and ended to late. It was a good thing, because today turned out even better.

My acclimation (or "acclimatization" for you Kiwis and Aussies) is moving forward steadily. I now have a bedsheet, wireless internet, towels, door mats, laundry detergent, placemats, veggi-meats and an apartment walking distance to work, complete with several nearby coffee establishments and the like. I also have a handful of new friends that I have been checking out the town with.

Last weekend, I went with my ex-neighbor, Jeremy to visit his childhood friend, Korah, in Suwon, a satellite city of Seoul. The three of us spent the day hiking the Hwaseong Fortress and then settled into the evening with a huge dinner, some kiwi soju and live entertainment at Korah's hotel.

Sunday was spent getting to know the expatriate vegetarian community. There are apparently at least two vegetarian social groups in Seoul: one for Korean-speakers and one for English-speakers. Who would have thought? Goes to show that Korea has pretty much everything. We checked out a hidden hole-in-the-wall all-vegetarian Korean restaurant near the Hoegi metro station, just to the west of where I was living before my move. Lunch was at 2pm, but we decided to spring for ice cream afterwards and ended up hanging out swapping veg secrets at the Purely Decadent soy ice cream shop late into the afternoon.

Monday night, I met my new Korean friend and fellow student-type, Sun (pronounced San), after work at one of the coffee shops near my house where I discovered "double mocha snow" which is apparently like a quadruple shot frappuccino in the states. I had one of those and didn't get to sleep until 5:30 the next morning. Sun and I have agreed to meet at coffee shops in the mornings from now on.

Tuesday morning, I made Sun wake me up and we took a trip to Itaewon for lunch. Itaewon is the foreign district (think reverse Chinatown) and thus has the best diversity of food. It also hosts my favorite falafel restaurant, Marrakesh, which offers a $5 lunch special with a falafel sandwich, fries, tabouli salad and a drink. Really good, considering most places charge about $3 just for a soda! Unfortunately they just moved into a nicer building and I am worried that they are eliminating the lunch special. So call before you go. Email me if you're in town and I'll send you the details.

Wednesday night was spent in Seoul's most ritzy neighborhood, Apgujeong, which borders my new neighborhood Cheongdamdong. We went for some drinks and tempura at a decently-priced and classy Japanese restaurant off of Rodeo Drive. Apparently, there are a few Rodeo Drives around the city. I recall someone telling me that Cheongdam is the Beverly Hills of Seoul. However, Korea is nothing like California. New York City? Maybe. LA? No.

Last week was productive. I switched apartments, met new friends, and visited friends from the last time I was in town. It is hard to keep track of time. I have been here three weeks as of today.

The only thing Korea is missing, other than perhaps decent weather, is Jon. And he just purchased a ticket to Seoul this morning and will be arriving in 16 hours. It's like a fairygodmother came and waved her magic wand and *poof* Jon was on his way to Korea. I feel like the Disneyland theme song should be playing in the background, "When you wish upon a star..."

I hope everything your heart desires comes to you, wherever you are.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Random Travel Update 26

Last Location: Farmington, Utah
Arrival Date: June 5, 2008
Departure Date: July 16, 2008

Current location: Seoul, ROK
Arrival Date: July 16, 2008
Departure Date: Undetermined

Next location: Undetermined
July 16, 2008
I am in the Salt Lake City airport awaiting boarding for my flight to Seoul via San Francisco. I stayed up most of the night, more out of tradition than an actual need to accomplish anything. I packed early this time to avoid the frantic organizational frenzy of stress that usually precedes my international adventures.

Yesterday was a great day. I feel as though there is some force out there conspiring to make my life really awesome. Jon had a mountain bike race at Solitude. I sat and watched the race, contemplating the mountain scenery and fresh air, wondering why I would ever voluntarily leave it. They gave each participant a raffle ticket, and because she had to leave early, one of the lady racers gave us hers. We won on both tickets. Headphones and sunflower seeds.

I ran all of my errands with spectacular grace. The people at DHL corrected an invoice they had overcharged me on and let me pay over the phone rather than having to wait for a paper invoice to arrive in Utah. The people at the optometrist had run out of contacts in my prescription and so offered to ship the whole year's supply to me in Korea free of charge. The people at the Apple Store online told me not to worry about returning a case that I didn't like, they would ship me a new one, worth $80 more for no additional charge. (I love Apple).

Jon's mom Kathy, baked our favorite vegan "Better than Sex" cake, for my going away. I think it consists of chocolate cake plus chocolate pudding plus chocolate chips plus chocolate frosting. I ate it for three of my last five meals. I figure I won't be getting much Better than Sex cake in Korea.

Jon stayed up with me last night and took me to the airport this morning. Such a gentleman, he parked and waited with me all the way through the security line until the last minute when I had to say goodbye. It is hard to leave Jon.

July 19, 2008
It looks like we may be returning to the days where I write updates over several days time and send them off whenever. I have arrived in Seoul. I have no internet, no cell phone and no power adapter to charge my computer. I also have no luggage. The 15 minute delay in my flight out of San Francisco threw the baggage people off enough to not transfer my checked bag in time. Luckily, I considered this possibility and took an extra carry-on bag with toiletries and clothes to last me a week.
July 23, 2008
It has been just about a week since I left the US. Things are going well. I have a cell phone, luggage, sleeping bag (no sheets yet) and I finally learned how to operate my water heater. My Kiwi neighbor and fellow teacher, Jeremy, has been the biggest help in my acclimatization. He has lent me a towel, a power adaptor, comforters, his clothes drying rack, soap, Korean friends and numerous other essentials. Last night him and our other neighbor, Marcus, had a breakthrough with the internet so I now a get intermittent wireless signal in my room. I will work on getting a more powerful router this week to see if that helps.
I will explore a bit longer and then tell you what it is like here. I am not taking too many photos, I figure that I already have two albums dedicated to Seoul on Picasa, but I will collect a few to send later on of things like my school, my neighborhood, recent attempts at vegan cuisine, etc. I hope all is well wherever you are.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Random Travel Update 25

Last Location: Snake River, Idaho; Jackson, Wyoming; Yellowstone, Wyoming; West Yellowstone, Montana
Arrival Date: July 4, 2008
Departure Date: July 6, 2008

Current location: Farmington, Utah
Arrival Date: June 5, 2008
Departure Date: July 16, 2008

Next location: Seoul, South Korea
Arrival Date: July 17, 2008
Departure Date: Undetermined

Of the 39 states I've visited, I think Utah is my favorite. It has a significant, cultured, metropolitan area with several vegan dining options; several recreational areas with opportunities for outdoor adventure including but not limited to skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, shooting, 4-wheeling, and boating; a well educated population contributing to a healthy economy; and a superb social support network consisting of well executed community projects and initiatives. Also, Jon's family lives here and his mom Kathy makes the best low-fat vegan cookie dough ever.

We arrived back in this awesome state on June 5th, in time to attend one of Jon's best childhood friend's wedding celebrations. I think I forgot to send an email out about our trip to Oregon, though I swear I wrote one. I just can't find it in my outbox or saved drafts.

So briefly on Oregon: My freshman year "suitie" ("roomie" is to roommate as "suitie is to suitmate) Diane was there getting ready to join the Peace Corps in Africa. We met up with her our second day in town to do some awesome vegan munching and to check out some of the sites around Portland. Admittedly, we spent more time on eating than on site seeing, but I think that's okay when you're visiting a veg-capital like Portland.

We spent the next few days hanging out with my graduating cousin Mathew, my slightly younger cousin Michael, my mom's sister Rosemary and my uncle Patrick in the picturesque town of Linfield about an hour outside of Portland going 35mph on small town roads. I had a really good time catching up with Mathew and Michael who I haven't seen in maybe a decade. We have way more in common now than we ever did growing up. Mathew is a talented musician and performer who studied philosophy and Michael works at one of my favorite places in the world, The Apple Store.

After parting ways with the extended family, my parents (and Jon) drove us five hours south to Klamath Falls from where we planed a series of excursions to Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Park and the little town of Ashland famous for its outdoor Shakespeare theater where we watched an evening performance of Othello.

Then we left from a little airport on a little plane bound for Utah by way of Portland. I don't remember much about that, other than it being very early and us not having to wait in line to check our luggage.

Utah has been splendid. Many of our stories can be told by photo at I just posted a bunch this week. We have really been making the most of our time with Jon's family and friends before we split for another year of adventure. We went to a local theme park, Lagoon, with Jon's sister that is located one exit down from Jon's parents' place on the freeway. We went to Antelope Island located inside the ever-shrinking Great Salt Lake. I had the time of my life 4-wheeling with Jon and his parents at Simpson Spring, about two hours southwest of Salt Lake. We attended The Salt Lake City Arts Festival in downtown Salt Lake City while Kathy and Jon's sister Alex vacationed in Hawaii.

We visited one of Jon's good childhood friends, Jason, on the set of High School Musical 3, a Disney cult classic for 11-17 year olds. I'm not going to lie. It was pretty sweet to check out a movie scene production. It was everything one would imagine it to be complete with an eccentric director carrying a mini-size dog around the set, a body builder in spandex, several techies on their Macbook Airs, catering service, choreographers doing head-spins on cafeteria tables, and actors and actresses running around giggling and looking cute for each other. We even got to see Zanessa/Troyella in person (minus points if you know what that means).

We have been to the shooting range a few times with Jon's dad, Paul, and brother, Nate. Paul has an impressive arsenal of firearms, I think there are two rooms and half a garage dedicated to his armory. I am getting progressively better at my aim. It helps that Paul has a rifle with a scope on it. I have been working on my handgun skills as well. I think the little guns are cuter, and they are more compact to carry around if you want to kill someone.

Last weekend, the whole family, except for Nate who had to work, sailed down Idaho's Snake River on Paul's drift boat. After a night camping out on the river, we hitched the boat up to Paul's truck and headed up to Wyoming where we checked out Jackson Hole, The Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone. This was a treat for me as I have never been to the country's oldest national park and have been dying to see it since I found out it is a mere five hour drive from Utah. I also got to check off three more US states since we went through Montana on our way out of Yellowstone.

So it has been pretty much awesome. Yesterday we went ice-skating at the rec center for only $5. Shortly, we will head up to Park City to ride the alpine slide and then head back down to the city to see a free outdoor concert. One of my favorite groups, The Roots, is playing. Don't know yet what we'll do for the weekend, but it will be something awesome. I just booked my ticket for Korea. I depart on the 16th, and arrive in Seoul next Thursday, one week from today. A year of international travel will follow. More updates to come…



Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Travel Update 24

Previous Locations: Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; San Antonio, TX
Arrival Date: May 20, 2008
Departure Date: May 25, 2008

Last location: Tucson, AZ
Arrival Date: May 26, 2008
Departure Date: May 30, 2008

Current Location: Portland, OR
Arrival Date: May 30, 2008
Departure Date: June 1, 2008
Next Stop: Klamath Fall, OR

The trip home began with a Versace Mansion Party in South Beach, an afternoon diving the Florida Keys, and an all night 13 hour drive from the Southernmost tip of the US to the gulfcoast town of Mobile, Alabama, with a stop along the way to visit with a good friend of mine from college. The trip ended with a beer-enhanced float down a river in New Braunfels by tube, a brief trip to the Alamo and another 13 hour drive from the east end of Texas back home to Tucson, Arizona. In the middle there was New Orleans.

We arrived in New Orleans later than expected, due to an issue we had with a box that had in it a particularly dear item that we had left at a do-it-yourself carwash in a questionable Mobile neighborhood. The box was a lost cause until, while eating at a Taco Bell is Pascagoula 30 miles closer to Louisiana, we received a phone call from a gentleman at the Laundromat next to the carwash explaining that the contents of the box had been retrieved by the previous night's employee and was safe there at the Laundromat. This loss, and the accompanying find, was the lowest point and highest point of our trip west.

There are pictures of the Mississippi gulfcoast that will be posted on Picasa soon. A short drive later, we arrived in Louisiana. The French Quarter is more like Europe than I had expected and unlike other tourist-ridden locations, it has a terribly authentic feel to it. Many signs are in French, the streets are narrow and occasionally cobbled, customer service is provided with an attitude, food is generally overpriced, and you can drink in the streets. They also serve Absinthe. Needless to say, we had a marvelous time.

My favorite part, of course, was the jazz. Unlike our disappointing Beal Street blues experience in Memphis, we were able to find packed jazz clubs with real jazz musicians who played soulful music that drew one from the street to their door to listen. The second night we went out was perfect. The all-day rainstorm kept people off the streets but didn't stop the musicians from playing until 2am.

We arrived in Tucson early Monday morning (think 1am) just in time to get some sleep and prepare for Memorial Day lunch with the family while Jon and the Mom went off mountain biking with my cousin, Cal. And now we are in Portland for my other cousin, Matthew's, college graduation. So as one journey ends, another begins.

A big thank you goes out to those of you who generously hosted us at some point in our travels, especially to my parents and even more especially to Jon's parents whose gorgeous home has been our base for the last several months. If it weren't for you, these emails would be awfully plain.



Saturday, May 17, 2008

Random Travel Update 23

Last Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Arrival Date: May 15, 2008
Departure Date: May 16, 2008

Current location: Key Biscayne, FL
Arrival Date: May 16, 2008
Departure Date: May 19, 2008

Next location: Mobile, AL
Arrival Date: May 20, 2008
Departure Date: May 20, 2008

Jon and I have been traveling like crazy the last two weeks. We have been to ten states, over a dozen cities and several state and national parks. We have experienced spectacular American infrastructure, cities dedicated to old music and memories of the past, glorious meadows, rain-soaked forests, vast tree-covered hills, jaw-dropping cliffs, shimmering plains and vibrant green pastures lined by piercing blue skies. We have seen vultures, fox, four-foot long iguanas, cranes, pelicans, brightly colored warblers, idyllic white cows and one dead armadillo. We have eaten from Styrofoam cups at truck stops, out of camp-ware in the rain, at American favorites like Taco Bell and Subway, and at one of the world's best raw foods restaurants in America's oldest city. We have driven just over 3,500 miles and filled our tank just over ten times. We have made it to the most southern tip of contiguous America and our destination: The Florida Keys.

Of course, the more I have to write about, the less time I have to write it. I had wanted to describe the sites of the last week in detail leading you from the western tip of Tennessee, through the world's largest cave in Kentucky, to the gorgeous grasslands of North Carolina and up and down the Great Smoky Mountains on our way to the epitome of southern charm and grandeur in Charleston, South Carolina. But this story will have to be left to the pictures.

Today is wedding day and I must now turn my attention to Kirk and Michelle. After all, it was their wedding that inspired this great journey across the country. Kirk and Michelle are our uber-fit, exceptionally educated, athletically inspired friends from Maryland. It was them who motivated us to hike 50k from White's Ferry, Maryland to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia last Spring.

Their wedding was beautiful, set in a charming Episcopal church on the sea. The bridesmaids were glowing and the groomsmen looked dashing in their pink vests that complimented the bridesmaids' pink gowns. The priest was well spoken and succinct. The parents were jovial and all of the details came together with perfect timing and grace. Kirk's mom, Judy Saylor, is an esteemed artist and her work created a soothing ambiance for the reception, which featured a pesca-vegan menu and gorgeous beach views. Both Jon and I were honored to be in the bridal party and can't wait to spend tomorrow morning sea-kayaking with the bride and groom.

Florida is Florida. Sunny, humid and hot. We were greeted by embers along I-95 as we ventured into the state and we have heard word-of-mouth that the Everglades are on fire, which explains the never ending BBQ scent we experienced this evening.

After tomorrow, we journey back west to Arizona stopping in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas along the way. In the meantime, I will work pictures onto Picasa via my overwhelmed 40gig hard drive. I will send a message when they are up.



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Random Travel Update 22

Last Location: Palos Duro State Park, TX (near Amarillo)
Arrival Date: May 5, 2008
Departure Date: May 7, 2008

Current location: Sallisaw, OK
Arrival Date: May 7, 2008
Departure Date: May 8, 2008

I don't know how many of you all watch CNN. I am thoroughly annoyed by their repetitive, drama-ridden, angst-inspiring, unprofessional coverage of the primary election and "news" in general. However if you were forced to watch it, as I am many mornings when Jon introduces its unintelligible chatter to our otherwise peaceful motel room, then you may have heard about the tornado warnings we have been getting through the tornado belt. We are currently staying at a Days Inn in Sallisaw, Oklahoma near the Arkansas border. We buckled down here last night after driving for ten hours in massive thunderstorms that followed us from Palos Duro State Park in Texas, where we narrowly escaped being flooded in (Go Prius!)

We ate a great lunch at Gupuram Taste of India in Oklahoma City and then proceeded to peruse the town despite the torrential downpour that was upon us. We took some pictures and decided to be on our way around the same time that the emergency broadcasting system went off, complete with sirens and hour-long radio interruptions, warning us of "tornadic activity" in the area. Unfortunately, the rain was too thick to be able to see the funnel clouds that were reported to be just to the north of our path of travel.

We rode horses through Palo Duro on Tuesday and then hiked a quick six-mile trail to their Lighthouse Peak, which winds through a canyon spattered with lush green shrubbery, wildflowers, cactus fruit, bright yellow berry-like chili peppers, and unique geological formations. Jon agreed with me that it looked like The Great Valley in The Land Before Time movies.

We returned from our hike just before nightfall and Jon took me on an authentic turkey-hunting experience (minus guns and bloodshed). Jon speaks fluent turkey and was able to communicate with the Toms (adult male turkeys) roosting a few hundred yards from our campsite. We stalked them all the way to their roost just in time to see their silhouettes, perched high up in a tree, against the fading night sky.

Back at camp we cooked dinner, read a Lonely Planet and tucked into our tent just in time for the torrential thunderstorm and lightning show that kept us awake a good portion of the night and flooded the roads out the next morning (pictures of flooding to come.)

Must go now. On to Devil's Den State Park in the Ozarks. More to come…


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Random Travel Update 21

Last Location: Southern California
Arrival Date: March 20, 2008
Departure Date: March 30, 2008

Current location: Farmington, UT
Arrival Date: March 30, 2008
Departure Date: April 30, 2008

Next stops: (Tentative)
Tucson, AZ (May 1-5)
Amarillo, TX (May 5-6)
Devils Den State Park, AR (May 6-8)
Memphis, TN (May 8-10)
Red River Gorge, KY (May 10-11)
Gatlinburg, TN (May 11-13)
(Great Smokey Mountains)
Hickory, NC (May 13-14)
Charleston, SC (May 14-16)
Key Biscayne, FL (May 16-18)
Mobile, AL (May 19-20)
New Orleans, LA (May 21-23)
Houston, TX (May 23-24)
San Antonio, TX (May 24-25)
Big Bend, TX (May 25-27)
Tucson, AZ (May 28-30)

Thanks to those of you who recently sent me your contact info! Do let me know that you get this email. If you are interested in receiving past updates, let me know and I will send you a link. I haven't gone anywhere since I last wrote so I suppose I ought to call this a pre-travel update. Jon and I leave tomorrow morning for Tucson, then head across country by Prius, stopping in every southern state along the way. I will try to hit an internet café every few days and send updates along the way, but it is hard to say how much down time we will have or how much wi-fi we will encounter. In the meantime, it would be nice if some of you would send me updates of your own. Last week one of my good friends from college wrote and it was refreshing to hear her story for a change.

It was nice to be "settled down" for a few weeks. I have been pursuing my ski bum dream and intermittently planning future adventures. In my spare time, I have been working for the Salt Lake City School District as a substitute teacher. I don't think it had occurred to me that I am now officially an adult until the day that I went to use the bathroom between classes and encountered an "ADULTS ONLY" sign on the door to the faculty restroom. I had to pause for a moment to consider whether I was at the right door.

Teaching has been great. I must give my mom credit for suggesting the idea. On lucky days—like yesterday, I get to teach high school, which means reading a book or writing a letter while students study. On other days, I teach elementary or middle schoolers, which is still great but requires some patience and a significant amount of actual instruction time. I have decided that AP Literature is my favorite subject to teach. I will l try to get a job teaching this in South Korea.

Now I must return to packing. In the next month, Jon and I will pass through over a third of the United States: Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Oregon. I have attached a link to our tentative path. Let us know if we can visit you along the way.



Thursday, April 3, 2008

Random Travel Update 20

Last Location: Las Vegas, NV to Joshua Tree, CA to Los Angeles, CA
Arrival Date: March 20, 2008
Departure Date: March 30, 2008

Current location: Salt Lake City, UT
Arrival Date: March 30, 2008
Departure Date: May 1, 2008 (tentative)

Next stop: Tucson, AZ (tentative)

The last update was update 19, not 18, so I have updated this one to 20 accordingly. This update is late. We have been on the road again, this time with Jon’s siblings.

Jon’s sister, Alex, is a junior in high school and was exited to go on a wild and crazy spring break this year parent-free. So with planning help from Jon and funding from mom and dad, we came up with a 10-day itinerary to sunny southern California that I think most college students would envy.

It was Jon (24), Nathan (21), Alex (17) and me cooped up in Jon’s mom’s Volvo station wagon that was just barely large enough to fit the four of us plus: Alex’s two huge duffle bags full of clothes and hair supplies; Nate’s bag of unfolded clothes and an additional garbage bag full of cowboy boots; a cooler full of bottled water; enough fruit snacks to feed a mid-sized African village; a Cosco-sized container of Pace salsa; three bags of chips; a folding chair; and Jon’s idea of what is needed to camp and climb out in the desert for two nights. There was barely room for the laptop, purse and backpack-worth of clothes I had brought along.

Our first stop was in Las Vegas, which was good because I wasn’t ready to spend another 9-hour day in the car just yet after so recently having returned from Texas. All of the Cirque du Soliel shows were sold out that weekend so we had to wait for an hour and a half in the standby line to get four seats together to see Ka. Luckily, we were the first in line and were able to get great seats. The show was good, about a village in war doing crazy kung-fu stunts in the air to combat evil forces, but we suspect that they missed a few tricks. Corteo, which we saw in DC with my parents a year back, is still our favorite. I liked Love a lot too, which is a tribute to the Beatles and has great music that takes me back to the two decades immediately preceding my birth.

We departed Las Vegas the next morning only after stopping by Ronald’s Donuts for what should be world-famous vegan donuts. We stopped there again on the way back so that Jon’s parent’s, Kathy and Paul, could experience the amazing-ness. Next stop was Joshua Tree, a National Park a few hours east of Los Angeles. As it’s name implies, Joshua Tree is covered by Joshua Trees, a very cool plant that looks like a cactus trying to look like a tree. There will be pictures.

We spent the rest of the weekend rock climbing and sleeping under the stars. It turns out that Jon’s siblings are natural climbers, which probably explains why Jon is so good. His sister climbed 27 meters up a rock face without injuring her beautifully manicured newly filled nails! I think that is comparable to running a race or chasing down super villains in high heels.

We left for our hotel in Redondo Beach, just south of LA, on Easter Sunday. We were hoping the holiday would dissuade the Californians from clogging the highways, but we had no such luck. It took us about four hours to travel 140 miles, though it may have helped if we had taken the right exit instead of heading 25 miles towards San Diego before turning around. Jon insists that we saved time in traffic by doing this. I remain un-convinced.

We spent our first day (and in general some part of every day) sipping Jamba Juice and laying on the beach. Everyone but Jon came home with a tan. Jon has a great system for avoiding UV exposure. He applies a thick layer of SPF 30 and then keeps his shirt on for as long as possible. This allows him to nearly replicate the level of whiteness that his Norwegian ancestors would have historically maintained.

On Tuesday we woke up at 6am to get to Disneyland in time to get tickets without having to wait in line. This meant getting there an hour before the park opened. It also meant getting Jamba Juice before the sun came up. I was very cold sipping mine at 6:30am, but my Matcha Mantra with peaches, mangos, soymilk and ice still beats a Soy Latte in terms of health and sustained energy. Matcha is one of my favorite things ever invented by man. I learned about it originally while taking a History of Tea class at Kino in junior high. Now Jamba Juice uses it in a few of it’s drinks, but it is otherwise pretty hard to come buy short of ordering it from Asia. I wikied it as I do most things:

We had a magical 15-hour day from 7am to 10pm and never had to stand in line for more than 30 minutes thanks to a schedule that Jon had printed off from the internet recommending a strategy for reducing line time. Though, I think it may have been my last trip to Disneyland. The rides are much smaller than I remember them being when I was last there in 1996. The best part of the day was the fireworks. Apparently, they have a magnificent firework show every night at 9:30pm. It’s funny, because I always remember leaving the park before dark when my parents said it was closing. I can’t blame them though. I don’t think I would ever take my children to Disneyland. Many of the parents at the park looked like they were on the brink of a panic attack.

On other days we went to Manhattan Beach, Laguna Beach, Santa Monica (we go here a lot because of the good veg food), Hollywood, and Venice Beach. On Friday night I met up with my friend Thrace who I haven’t seen since elementary school. It was great catching up and I think we have a surprising amount in common still. It would be nice if she would visit Utah. Thrace, confirm that you get this email.

We went to Venice beach on Saturday, which was my favorite day because we met up with Tristan and Jackie (we stayed with them in December if you recall) and also Nancy (who we met campaigning for Obama in Texas.) We had a blast riding beach cruisers down the coast, haggling with the street vendors and watching Jon show off on the oversized monkey bars at Muscle Beach.

Our drive home was well timed. A front of cold and precipitation entered both Utah and California on Sunday, which made for miserable beach weather and perfect ski conditions. We stopped in Las Vegas again on the way to eat at Veggie Delight, which was good and cheap (Alex and Nate went vegan for the week!) and also to pick up more donuts. Really, go to Ronald’s Donuts if you are ever within an 8-hour drive of Las Vegas. It is worth it and the owners are so nice that they were leaving the parking lot when we pulled in and they re-opened the store so we could load up on a dozen (aka 15) donuts and apple fritters for the road. We managed to only eat ten on the way home, which I think showed considerable restraint.

On Monday Jon and I rejoiced the fact that we neither have to go to school nor work and instead spent half the day making calls and running errands that surprisingly still exist in absence of work. Then Jon took me up a treacherous road to a secret pristine forest where we strapped on snowshoes and made first tracks in the fresh powder.

Yesterday we met up with some fellow ski-bum travelers to hit the powder at Brighton. I took my snowboard out for the first time since Steamboat and had a great time talking about past and future travels while realizing that I still can’t really carve black diamonds on my board. Luckily, in turns out that I still have a month to practice since Snowbird has committed to remaining open until after we leave for Florida in May (travel update to follow.) We are getting a great deal on end of the season passes which will allow us to ski for about $15-20 per day compared to the usual $80 lift ticket price.

After a great day on the slopes, Jon took me to an Asian Market in search of Jasmine Tisane and Matcha (no luck) but we did find all the ingredients necessary to make vegan sushi, including fake eel! We made it for dinner and it rocked. If our political careers never materialize, we may consider going into the business of vegan sushi. The Asian Market also carries the cough syrup that cured me of my cold in record time when I was in Beijing. I am making a mental note to get it the next time I am sick.

I am done traveling for a few weeks and hope to get the best of spring skiing through April. Jon however, is leaving for Nevada tomorrow to rock climb with some friends who are flying in from the east coast. The 5-hour drive there and back doesn’t phase him. He’ll be happy to be in his GTI.

Next month, we’ll be driving through the South, and sampling good old vegan soul food. In the meantime, check out my photos at Check out Jon’s at We will both strive to have new albums up by tomorrow.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Random Travel Update 19

Last Location: Tucson, Arizona
Arrival Date: February 14, 2008
Departure Date: February 23, 2008

Current location: Austin, Texas
Arrival Date: February 23, 2008
Departure Date: March 4, 2008

Next stop: El Paso, Texas

So the journey looks like it is far from over. Jon and I arrived in Tucson just over two weeks ago to visit family and friends for a few days and to pick up a few th¬¬ings to bring back to Utah. Now we are in Texas campaigning for Barack Obama (you GOPers can think of it as campaigning against Mrs. Clinton if you prefer.) We have been here for just about ten days, gearing up for the Election Day that is now upon us. The campaign hooked us up with amazing supporter housing. Our hosts are wonderful in so many ways. And they have a precious 17-year-old cat named Bandit who I love dearly.

It is a lot of fun here. Texas is excited to be playing a pivotal role in a primary election for the first time in 20 years. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton have all been here to speak in the last few days. I will be posting pictures up on my Picasa page shortly.

Austin has a great vegetarian scene and its own awesome vegan bakery complete with dairy-free oat ice cream, mocha "cheese"cake and tiramisu cupcakes.

The weather has been gorgeous. On our first week here we were greeted by sunny days with highs in the 70s and 80s. Yesterday it cooled down a bit. People here refer to weather in the 60s as a "cold front".

What they say is true; everything is bigger here. The Whole Foods is the size of a shopping mall, the parking spots are twice as wide as those in DC and the freeways never end. The political system is seemingly bigger too, and a bit complicated. Instead of voting once in the primaries or attending a caucus, Texans must both vote in the primary and caucus to utilize their total vote. We have been going door to door to explain the system to voters in hopes of gaining a significant caucus turnout.

After the excitement here subsides we will head to Hueco Tanks, an area just north of El Paso so that Jon can do some rock climbing. Then back to Tucson to drop off the Prius and head back up to Salt Lake City by way of Breckenridge, Colorado to visit and ski with some of Jon’s friends there.

More adventures to come.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Random Travel Update 18

Last Location: Breckenridge, CO
Arrival Date: February 09, 2008
Departure Date: February 10, 2008

Current location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Arrival Date: February 10, 2008
Departure Date: February 14, 2008

Next stop: Tucson, Arizona

After four days, 22-hundred miles and nine state crossings, we arrived in what Jon calls the Promised Land: Salt Lake City, Utah. No lie, it felt good to drop into the Utah Valley after days of driving in Jon's two-door Volkswagen hatchback packed to the brim with barely enough room for me to squeeze into the passenger's seat, provided that I carry several items on my lap and several more under my feet. By the time we crossed the Utah-Colorado border, my legs hurt more than when we walked 32 miles from Whites Ferry, Maryland to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.

Salt Lake City is as beautiful as ever. The sun has been shining and the weather's been great. My room here is cozy and for the first time in six months I have a set of drawers and a closet to keep my stuff tidy. Jon's family has a heard of deer who frequent their neighborhood and snack on the landscaping. It is quite idyllic really.

Today we busied ourselves printing resumes and looking for jobs. We will go out tomorrow morning to apply in person to several prospective employers. In DC, 90% of the hiring process is done online or over the phone. Here, 90% is done in person.

On Thursday, we will fly to Phoenix and eat a Valentine's Day dinner with my parents, who have kindly offered to pick Jon and me up at the airport. Then down to Tucson to load up the Xterra with my skis, snowboard and winter clothing. I plan on staying in Tucson for a few days, but we have to be back in SLC by the 20th for an interview and Jon wants to take a slight detour to visit some friends and ski in Colorado. We want to test his theory that Utah has better mountains and better snow. This has been an ongoing debate between us for several months. As it turns out, he's only skied Colorado once.

If you are or will be in Tucson over the weekend, email me and we will try to meet up. For those of you in Phoenix and Flagstaff: email and we will try to swing by on our way north.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Travel Update 17

Last Location: Steamboat & Denver, CO
Arrival Date: December 29, 2007
Departure Date: January 5, 2008

Current location: Silver Spring, MD
Arrival Date: January 5, 2008
Departure Date: January 11, 2008

Next stop: Charlottesville, Norfolk & Virginia Beach, VA

The weather has been great here in Silver Spring, though we are starting to get some rain now. I'll be heading down to Charlottesville in a few minutes to visit UVA Law. Then some more law school visits along the east coast next week. Nothing too exciting. It is really good to see my friends here, a big thanks to those of you who have come out or made plans to see me. Still, I'm looking forward to heading west again.

All pictures from Mexico through Colorado are finally posted, have fun with it:



Saturday, January 5, 2008

Random Travel Update 16

As it turns out, my travels are far from over. I struck gold a few weeks ago when my parents invited me to come with them to Steamboat, CO for a week-long ski vacation. I changed my LA-DC ticket in for a LA-Tucson ticket and was able to spend the holidays with the family in Arizona before making the 16 hour trek with my parents to Colorado.

Tucson was great as usual, though a little cooler than I would have liked having just come from the 80F summer beaches of Australia. But it was probably good to acclimate to winter at 30F before heading to what would get as low as -20F in Steamboat.

Spending Christmas with the relatives was refreshing. I had been craving a traditional American family dinner after being abroad for several months. The best part is that my cousin Mary surprised me by baking a vegan chocolate cake that tasted of pure chocolaty goodness. Unfortunately, I am a sucker for chocolate, despite it being generally at odds with my goal to one day eliminate refined sugar foods from my diet. I should have taken a picture.

Colorado is an amazing place. Steamboat is breathtaking, a snow junkie's paradise. It is also surprisingly veg-friendly for a resort town. We had great weather on the slopes for four out of six days, though I only went out for three since I managed to come down with a sinus/throat infection after dinner on the 25th. I still have a cough...wish I had more Chinese medicine.

Tomorrow I will fly back to the District of Columbia. If you live in DC, now is the time to call/text/email/message me to meet up. I will also me doing my best to answer emails that I haven't responded to yet. Please re-email me if I should have written you back and didn't.

There are a few more pictures on Picasa: I will try to have even more up by the end of the week after I commit to purchasing additional storage.