I was very excited the other day to find out that I'd been chosen as the "Where I've Been" $500 Mobile Giveaway winner. The nice folks over at WIB (Abby, Eddie and Katy) have told me that the only stipulation is that I need to use the money for travel..a challenge that I'm totally up for!
So, I've put together a mini itinerary of where I'm going to go and what I'm going to do (feedback welcome!):
Tuesday, Sept. 22nd
- Head out early for the 3 1/2 hour drive down Route 1 along the coast stopping in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and Carmel-By-the-Sea.
- Arrive at Treebones Resort and pitch my tent in their "Ocean View" campsite and take in the beautiful sunset.
- Head on over to their on-site restaurant "Treebones Wild Coast Restaurant" for dinner.
- Do some star-gazing and drift off to sleep listening to the waves crashing below.
Wednesday, Sept. 23rd
- Get up early to watch the sunrise.
- Have breakfast at Treebones.
- Head out around 11am to drive down to San Simeon and do a tour of the famous Hearst Castle.
- Spend some time exploring San Simeon.
- Drive back up to Treebones Resort to read on the deck or take a late afternoon dip in their beautiful ocean-view pool.
Thursday, Sept. 24th
- Get up early and pack up the tent to head on back up to the East Bay.
I'll be sure to blog about my adventure as well as post some photos to our Flickr page when I get back.
Dave and Dawn flew up from LA on Thursday and the four of us took off Friday morning for Tahoe. Dawn found a great place for us to stay just a few steps from the gondola at Heavenly. The weather has been beautiful everyday, and even though I'm not snowboarding, I took the gondola up on Saturday to enjoy the view and get a little sun. Dave and Michael actually got a little TOO much sun on Friday and Saturday, and everyone felt a little tired, so they decided to take the day off from skiing. We packed some sandwiches and headed out in the car to find a nice place by the lake to do a little walking or hiking. We found our way to Emerald Bay, where we hiked down from the parking lot to the lake to enjoy lunch and a short nap on the dock. After that, we completed the loop all the way around the lake. The weather and the views were beautiful--we were all happy that we got to explore the area a little more and we definitely want to come back again soon.
We finished the day with dinner at Fire and Ice, which we decided should be renamed due to the not-so-pleasant-smelling side-effects the food seemed to have on all our gastrointestinal systems.
The other 3 are out getting in one last day of skiing, then we're headed back to the East Bay later today. It's been a great long weekend!
Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! Megan and I hope that everyone is able to be with their loved ones this holiday season.
After visiting the McAra clan in Michigan and Rob and Aly in D.C, Michael and I are now at the Brandt House in western Massachusetts, where we got married two years ago. It's great to be back here, it always feels like home, just nicer. It's still pretty much the same here, with some nice little improvements like new furniture in the sun room, luxurious carpeting on the stairs and more great artwork throughout. They've also gotten rid of the tennis court out back and are converting it into a zen garden space with a gazebo-type structure.
We drove over to Amherst yesterday to walk around campus and get a burrito at Bueno y Sano. We stopped by the International Programs Office and luckily JoAnn was there so we got to talk to her a bit. JoAnn was super helpful and inspriring to both of us back when we were planning our study abroad trips to Siena, London, Freiburg and Heidelberg. Unfortunately, the university has cut just about all of the IPO's money, which means they now have to charge students more.
We're off to the cape this afternoon--Dave and Dawn are getting married on Sunday! Can't wait to see everyone, should be lots of fun!
Well, it's been almost two months since we've written anything here. I guess the best remedy for that is to sit down and write. Luckily we have something interesting (and travel related) to write about:
This coming Tuesday we'll be flying to Cancun, Mexico for Scott and Charlotte's wedding! Megan and I are very excited for them. Neither of us have ever been to Mexico so we're looking forward to taking advantage of the sight-seeing opportunities. I want to do a bit of research regarding the area of Cancun and its history and the things other travelers recommend doing. I'll probably visit some of the websites we used when planning our round-the-world trip: BootsnAll, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.
I've been harboring a not-so-secret desire to get a new digital camera since the small preview screen in ours stopped working. The one I like best for performance, style and price is the Canon S2 IS. It's the same one our friend Aly uses. I explained to Megan that being able to take decent photos at Scott and Charlotte's wedding was the perfect reason to go buy a new one. I thought I had a good chance of convincing her until she reminded me of why our current camera first stopped working. When we were on the beach in Ghana I put the camera into my pocket which happened to be full of sand. That little mistake meant we wouldn't have a working camera until we reach South Africa and cost us $200 in repairs. Considering Charlotte and Scott are getting married on an island the chances of something sand-related happening to a new camera are probably pretty good.
I won't make any promises that we'll post updates while we're in Mexcio but I will do my best to post something when we get back. Good luck to Charlotte and Scott with the last minute preparations. See you soon!
Megan and I spent time this weekend cleaning up our site. We updated our homepage with photos from our recent travels, took down the links to the wedding information and consolidated the navigation.
We've each been struggling with trying to figure out how to keep posting to our travelogue now that we're back and into our daily routines. It's much harder to think of interesting things to write about now that we're not taking 29 hour train rides across India, teaching in remote Akha villages or fooling everyone that I am a kung fu master and Megan dyed her hair red.
After some discussion we came to the conclusion that we'll probably never consider ourselves "settled" and actually think of our lives as a perpetual journey. Plus, with the amount of visitors we have coming to stay with us this month and Charlotte and Scott's wedding in Mexico next month we should have plenty to write about.
Megan and I flew into Washington, DC National Airport at 8am this morning. We're here to attend and celebrate the wedding of our good friends Rob and Aly. Megan's currently at the Bridal luncheon and I'm at our favorite cafe Tryst sipping a blended Mocha and taking advantage of their free wireless internet access.
It feels great to be back and Megan and I have planned visits to some of our favorite places: Rosemary's Thyme, Cactus Cantina and maybe visit the first neighborhood that was home for us - Cleveland Park. We'll be sure to upload some photos from the wedding.
I can't believe it'll be 6 weeks since we've moved in to our new place in Oakland. Time is seriously flying by. I'm sure it has a lot to do with how busy we've been during the week and over the past few weekends. Two weeks ago we had our official Housewarming Party (nicknamed a "Birthwarming Party" because we were celebrating Alexa and Megan's birthdays - both in February - and our housewarming). It was a lot of fun and provided us with the impetus to (almost) finish decorating the place.
This past weekend we officially celebrated Megan's birthday and David and Sanna came down from Harbin to spend the weekend with us. On Saturday Megan and I went into San Francisco and had lunch at Cafe Gratitude, a vegan and raw food restaurant. It was one of the best vegetarian meals I think we've ever had. And the place had a great vibe to it with friendly staff.
Alexa's really busy with studying and teaching at Berkeley and Megan's working 3 jobs: developing curriculum for a charter school in Brooklyn, tutoring students through an after-school program, and was just hired today to start working 20 hours a week at Trader Joe's! I've been doing lots of web design and development work for green businesses since getting out here.
I promise we'll get photos of our new place online soon (while it's still able to be considered "new"). We hope all our friends and family are well.
On Tuesday we signed a one year lease for a 3 bedroom apartment in Oakland, just over the border from Berkeley. It's in a quiet neighborhood but still very close to the university and good places to go out. It's a split-level and we get the 2nd and 3rd floor with a spiral staircase connecting them. The top floor is one big room that we're going to use as part living room, part office and part guestroom. It has a nice backyard and I'm hoping to start a small vegetable/herb garden in the Spring.
We spent most of today making trips to Target, Ikea and Trader Joe's to get all the things you need when you get a new apartment. We're excited to finally have the chance to use some of the wedding gifts we'd received almost a year and a half ago. Megan's busy finding places throughout the apartment where our stuff will live. Sanna and David will be here tomorrow to see the place and bring us some things they were holding on to for us. We'll get some photos posted soon so you all can see the place too.
We spent the last few days looking for apartments in the Berkeley/Oakland area. There are quite a few on the market and Craig's List has been our main means of sorting through them. We also used Google Maps to see how close each candidate is to downtown, UC Berkeley and good restaurants and cafes.
We found one place in particular that stood out among the rest (see photo). We weren't able to go inside and take a good look around because the stairs were falling apart and there was a "No Trespassing" sign posted on the boarded up window. Plus it didn't look like anybody was home anyway. Well, if we don't get this one we'll have to just keep on looking.