Travel Bucket List

I catch myself talking about this travel bucket list of mine yet I never sat down to write one, well I’ve finally gathered my thoughts to write one. I can’t wait to cross out places while adding new ones. Here is my bucket list:

In the states:

  1. Seattle, Washington
  2. Havasupai, Arizona
  3. The Wave, Arizona
  4. New York, New York
  5. Multnomah Falls, Oregon
  6. Painted Hills, Oregon
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Umpqua Hot Springs, Oregon
  9. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
  10. Grand Canyon, Arizona
  11. Yellowstone Park
  12. Niagara Falls
  13. Alaska
  14. Watkins Glen State Park, New York

 

Out of the country:

  1. Greece
  2. Italy
  3. Spain
  4. Austrailia
  5. Iceland
  6. South Africa
  7. Cuba
  8. France
  9. Croatia
  10. Argentina
  11. Peru
  12. Ecuador
  13. Colombia
  14. Costa Rica
  15. Tulum, Mexico

 

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Four Waterfalls in One Day

Days of searching every hashtag and pinterest post, I finally made my way to McCloud Falls and Burney Falls. I have always said that the farther up north you drive, the more enchanting California becomes. Never did I experience the charm of northern California till one day I packed up my bags, filled up my gas tank, and set my GPS.

The trip was a total 5 hours (no longer than a trip from San Jose to Los Angeles). While getting closer to the destination, I was greeted with scenic views of forest trees passing by as I drove through Shasta County. With just an hour left of traveling, Mount Shasta came into view. It’s frosted top glistened as it started to prepare itself for the Autumn season.

I arrived to the Middle Falls parking lot. For the people who aren’t into the hiking aspect of exploring, there are three parking lots for the tree water falls. One located at lower, middle, and upper falls. For the people who love the hiking aspect, the total hike is three miles from lower to upper. It is an easy trail with breathtaking views. If you’re anything like me, you could space out the trail by sitting at every falls to savor it’s beauty with every moment or start up conversation with other visitors.

 

Autumn was soon approaching, therefore the water and weather would soon get cold. For the most part, I was right. The point of traveling to the falls was to cliff jump from each one. I took my time at the lower falls as an opportunity to build myself up for the upper falls jump. Once I convinced myself to jump the lower falls, knowing the water would be freezing, I still not was prepared. It was by far the coldest water I have ever swam in. However, the experience was one hundred percent worth it. Now that I’ve seen the falls, I’m excited to go back when the weather becomes hot and the water becomes warm.

Visiting McCloud falls did not take as long as I expected so it was a no brainer to make a  detour to Burney Falls on the way home; a thirty minute drive from McCloud. President Theodore Roosevelt had once claimed that the falls is the eighth wonder of the world and if you have ever come across it, you would believe it too.

The parking lot is very accessible to Burney Falls as well. Just park your car, take a walk down the stairs, and you’re there! As for the hikers, there is a one mile trail loop that you can take.

The trip was a total of one day but I’m sure if the water was warmer, the day would have been longer. All four waterfalls reminded me how beautiful the world is and how much I have been missing. I even witnessed a bear run across the road, which is something I thought I would never see. I had a wonderful time and I recommend everyone to take a trip far up north, past San Francisco, to experience Shasta county. I, myself, look forward to the next time I visit in the spring.

Irish I Was Back in Ireland

We all have preconceived ideas about countries we have never visited but I can tell you one thing is for sure, Ireland lives up to the expectations. When people think Ireland, they usually think of a country that is filled with big green fields, livestock, and friendly people. For the most part, you’re right! Being a small town girl it was hard not to love Ireland simply because it is not overwhelming and it somewhat reminds me of home with its laid back vibes. It’s a country that I could see myself going back to for more than just one more time.
DUBLIN:

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From England to Ireland, I traveled 3 hours by ferry. Upon arriving to Dublin, my tour group and I took a detour to Glenalough, Wicklow Mountains National Park. If you have seen the movie “P.S. I Love You” you might recognize the lake with its magnificent scenic views. After spending time in Glenalough, it was time to make way to Dublin.

In Dublin it is easy to get the small town feel along with its urban city characteristics. I was able to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral — Ireland’s largest church which conveniently has a gift shop inside (not your typical church).
Dublin is beyond amazing but a must see is Phoenix Park; where the only person to vacate the area is the Ambassador of the United States of America to Ireland. To experience Dublin in an exotic way, I rented a bike to cover more unseen land but happened to come across a folk of deer. Wanting to get a closer look, the people I was with and I made our way to the field where we were greeted by two deer. It was an amazing experience that I believe will be impossible to forget. The park was great to visit due to the people and the location.
IMG_0911After parading around the park, a good pint was needed. I made my way to the Guinness Storehouse. Another must do while there because it’s a sin if you don’t, especially for my beer drinkers. There are tons of bars along the streets of Dublin and the  famous Temple Bar is a spectacular place with live music and a great selection of beer.
 Even with a killer hangover after nights of going out, Dublin was still shinning bright.
CLIFFS OF MOHER:
It’s as beautiful as you would imagine it. Every part of the cliff is captivating. People use to believe it was the edge of the earth but I can see why; I don’t think they believed it was possible for anything to exists past the beauty of the cliffs. Not only was I able to see the view while on the cliffs but I was able to view the cliffs from the ocean while on a boat.
GALWAY:
Before I start, I want to make sure we are all on the same page. It seems like it is an “american thing” to pronounce it “gal-ah-way” but don’t. I don’t think the Irish like it and you seem a tad bit misguided if you pronounce it that way. Correct pronunciation: “Gual-way”.
Just like Dublin, it was also really fun and inviting. People were beyond friendly and I was in awe with the way people held themselves. At this point, Irish people were my type of people.
ARAN ISLAND:
A small island that is gave you a sense of Irish traditions. Again, I was able to explore the land on a bike ( which was only five euros to rent for a whole hour – BARGAIN).
I was luck with the weather my whole trip there, it stayed at a 70 which felt a lot like home back in California.
 A lot of Ireland made me feel like I was home and maybe that is why I fell in love with the country. I cannot wait to travel again.
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Great Scot(land)

Although Scotland is apart of the United Kingdom, I would have never thought to travel there but I am glad I did. I traveled to Scotland via train; from King’s Cross Station in London to Waverly Station in Edinburgh. Traveling by train was by far the best way to travel within the two countries; the train ride granted me with gorgeous scenic views that left me in awe. I was able to catch glimpse of little towns on the way to my destination along with plenty of grasslands and British beaches.

EDINBURGH:

Staney TucciMy first day in Scotland I met 20 other individuals from all over the states and my tour director who is from Ireland. I was apart of a tour group called EFCollegeBreak and thanks to them I was able to meet and exchange information with these people through dinner. During dinner I tried the local dish, haggis(sheep’s liver), which was not too bad but the texture wasn’t favorable. As far as beer went, my goal was to taste as much local beers since we don’t have them back here in the states. Walking out of the restaurant caught sight of Stanely Tucci casually walking in the into the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.

On my second day, I went to the Edinburgh castle which serves as an active military base while being a tourist attraction. I was able to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, and other medieval items, such as, swords, art, armor etc.

The Kelpies
The Kelpies in Fallkirk, Scotland
I then took a stroll in old Edinburgh and enjoyed local history followed by a night out at the local pubs.It still puzzled me that the sun was setting at 9 pm which was just crazy considering that sunrise was at 4 am. There really is no such thing as an ordinary walk through the town without being captivated by something. Old Edinburgh was my favorite, mainly because that was where I mainly wandered about but the Royal mile is a street build for tourist looking for a good pint and wish to see street performers.

The last day I boarded a coach bus to the Stirling Castle, which played an important part in the battles for Scottish Independence, then made way to Trossachs National Park. On the way we made a pit stop to see the magnificent Kelpies. The Kelpies are two horse-head sculptures that stands approximately 98 ft in Fallkirk, Scotland.

Scotland is a great place to sight see since everything is so close together. Streets are packed with pubs, shops, and restaurants. Plus there is Arthur Seat near by if you want to get away from lively pavement streets for a nature walk. If I were to do Scotland again, I’d travel up north and to more places but Edinburgh something you cannot miss if you’re ever in Scotland.

 

 

 

England Calling

I’ve dreamed about England since a child. Despite Hogwarts being located in Scotland, I blame J.K. Rowling for my need to visit England. To me England was magical – yes I know that magic isn’t real… or maybe it is, who really is to say it’s not? The point is that when the plane circled the beautiful city that is London, I felt every bit of magic when the city’s skyline came into view.

LONDON:

I arrived at 7 am BST which meant I had a full day to myself. So me being me didn’t want to waste a second of it. As soon as I checked in my AirBNB that was located in Soho I went straight to Frifths Street Tattoo which was ironically a street down from where I was staying. The people in the shop were very nice and welcoming. I am absolutely in LOVE my tattoo ! The rest of the day went pretty well as I was walking around London; getting lost a few times if I’m completely honest. Luckily there was city maps located at almost every corner so I was able to find my way around. Being in a different country brought me back to my childhood years when my parents would have to print out the directions before leaving the house just to get to somewhere new. For me I had to go back to the flat(apartment) I rented to use wifi and screen shot the directions. After a day filled  exploring the city, I headed back to the flat to get ready for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child play. Needless to say, the play was AMAZING! I bought the 2 day play package. Part one was on Thursday and part two I watched on Friday. 10/10 would recommend!

 

 

My second day was another free day for me to explore, so for breakfast I made my way to one of the famous Instagram worthy places in called Neal’s Yard in Covenant Garden. Then I headed to the British Museum – best 4 hours spent! I had lunch at Nandos which was very satisfying and then had enough time to check out the artist of the Wizarding World, MinaLima.

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Neal’s Yard
I decided to then visit the landmarks but this time at night. Everything was beautiful when lit up. People were out about walking, musicians were on the sidewalks playing music and the landmarks were brightly lit.I explored more of the landmarks my second time around because I knew my tour group would cover it. I got to see the famous Elizabeth Tower / Big Ben. I was able to watch the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We also not only seen the London Bridge but we also took a walk inside using their glass walkway.

One the last day in London, I went to Abbey Road and rode on the London Eye along with a trip to Kings Cross Station. All fit the nostalgic criteria and worth seeing.

It is a underestimation to say London has a good night life. Everywhere is packed, the sun doesn’t set till about 9 pm, and transportation is easy to come by. One of the things I truly admired about London is how there was so much historic landmarks mixed with modern day buildings.

 

 

 

STONEHENGE AND BATH:

I boarded a coach bus for a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. The overall tour was great and I was able to meet people from all over the world. Stonehenge was a sight to see because instead of seeing countless photos online and in my text books, I was only a few feet away from the prehistoric monument. Our tour then went to Bath, home of Jane Austin, where the buildings seemed only like the ones you’ve seen in movies. Truthfully – everything seemed like it did in the movies! For the fews hours I was there I spent time at the Roman Baths where I learned about the romans and how they used the baths. And according to my tour director, Actor Johnny Depp use to live in that city, which seems pretty cool.

 

 

CAMBRIDGE:

I saved the best for last! Cambridge my favorite little town out of all. Everything about it was beautiful, yet I was only there for two hours. I don’t recall if it was the architecture or the people in the city that made me like it so much but it was gorgeous. I went on a relaxing punting tour on the Cambridge River where I learned about the history of the famous University and town. If I ever go back to England, Cambridge is definitely on my list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 11 Day Trip in Mexico

I don’t know what age it started at but I do remember how it started. I remember looking at pictures that people took from around the world, I remember the scenery photos of grasslands or city life of other countries and I was hooked. I remember thinking, even as a young soul, “there is so much more” and I still think that today. At first a small town was all that I knew, everything else just seemed a little scary. I remember taking my first plane ride by myself to meet up with some friends in Kansas when I was in 5th grade and my second plane trip to Colorado.

I felt this serenity that filled me. I’ve always had a hunger for traveling but at that moment, it grew. When I finally was able to drive and had money to do my own travels, I would take last minute trips to Los Angeles or the beach- pretty much anything to get a little taste of something different than my usual surroundings. Sure it wasn’t far but it was still something. Then I took another plane trip by myself but this time it wasn’t to another state but another country. It was more nerve wrecking than any trip I’ve ever taken, not because I went alone but because I was going to a country where I only could speak half of the language.

Once I did that, my next trips to Mexico was a breeze including my 11 days in Mexico with my dad this year in April.

Day 1 -2(Guadalajara):

My father and I arrived at Guadalajara Airport then we were off to my aunts house. We went out for dinner that night and spent more time talking about what was going on in our lives back here in the States. This time around, I knew more Spanish however talking to my cousins was still a task. Thankfully my cousins new a little of English so whatever I didn’t know, I was able to say in English.

The next day we woke up and headed our way to visit my mothers side of the family. I haven’t seen them since I was about 6 years old but I still remembered many things about them. The nerves were creeping in and I wasn’t too sure if they still remembered me. When I was younger I remember always hanging around the plaza and in that plaza my family owned taco stand(which is still stands there today). We walked up to the stands and instantly my aunt put on this huge smile in her face for she knew exactly who we were. We stayed and chatted with both my aunts who were working. We ate and talked(that is pretty much what we did the whole trip). The smiles that I received and the feeling of being welcomed from my family was amazing. It was great to know that I am able to feel at home in a place so far away.

Day 3-4 (Uruapan, Isla De Janitzio):

Day three me and my dad headed to Uruapan to visit, wait for it, more family. But this time, it was a little more difficult for me because they did not know any English so it was a bit of a challenge. Then my dad took me to the centro there to look for shoes and maybe find some things to take back to my friends. It was more 30533040_unknown30533424_unknownpacked than usual given that it was getting close to Easter. After the centro, we went to a national park located within the city. It was a beautiful park filled with trees and waterfalls. We did a ton of walking . Once we exited the park there was men doing a traditional dance called “Danza de Los Viejitos”.

The day after we headed to Isa De Janitzio, an island located in the middle of a huge lake. We took a 30 minute boat ride to get to the island and had to walk up steep steps to make it all the way to the top which had a museum.

Day 5-7(Arteaga):

The first day we settled into my dad’s hometown, said hi to everyone, and of course ate more food. I kid you not, I’m practically related to the whole town. My uncle and aunt who have lately been coming to visit the states more recently were happy to see me visit them in Mexico for a change. They had tears in their eyes and gave me tight hugs.

The following day I went out for a run a little bit outside of town with my aunt. After the run we went back to the house and went off to the beach and relaxed most of the day. Of course we also took a dip in the ocean and walked on along the shore.

The last day was by far the laziest day. All I wanted to do was lay down on the hammock and for the most part that is exactly what I did. Then my dad convinced to go get out and see this Mexican Easter tradition in which they have a group of people, mainly boys, walk around town dressed up in masks asking for donations. Then they hold a ceremony that is called “The burning”(in English translation). The whole town gathers to watch a paper based Manichean and burn it in symbolism to Judas betrayal. After the ceremony, once the sun sets people gather again to do a silent walk to honor Jesus.

Day 8(Moreila):

Now to my favorite part of the trip. Thankfully my dad was up to visit a place that I kept asking about(mainly cause my aunt and cousin kept talking about it and ya girl is a curious soul). The town was amazing, the architecture, the food( great now I’m craving the food from there), and the night life. I would 100% go back and recommend everyone who is able to go- go! I was definitely enamored with the city.

Day 9-11(Guadalajara):

When we arrived back to Guadalajara we went straight to my uncles house and they held a barbecue solely to celebrate our visit. The day was mainly filled with adoring family talking and laughing together. Then someone had suggested to go out for drinks and dancing. So we went from a family barbecue, getting ready, to ending up at a night club.

Day 10 was hard, at this point I just wanted to go home to cuddle with my cat. I know it sounds like something a typical cat-lady would say but homesickness was hitting me hard. We lounged around the house, went to the bank, walked around, and by that time, we went to have dinner with the family once more before our early flight the next day.

The final day was definitely a bittersweet. I was happy to go home but I know I would miss my family dearly. This trip was great and I broadened my Spanish vocabulary( I mean it’s still not the best but way better than what it was). I was able to see the Mexican traditions in a way I have never seen and I was able to see family that I have not seen in a long time. It has to be one of my favorite trips up to date so far. I am very grateful for my family in Mexico and I’m looking forward to the day I can go back.

Going to places that I never have been to made the trip much more exciting and I cannot wait for my next trip: Scotlond, England, and Ireland.