How to Navigate the Unknown in Banff

Top 5 Tips for Banff:

  1. Dress Warmly
  2. Research restaurants in advance
  3. See the National Visitor Center
  4. Stay in Canmore/Dead Mans Flats
  5. Go on the Teahouse hikes and visit Peyto Lake, Lake Louise and Lake Moraine

For our annual labor day hiking trip in 2018 we decided to hop across the border and go to Banff National Park.  Banff is located in Alberta which is close to Calgary, Canada and is about two hours north (flying) from the Bay area.  The last time I was in Canada was in college during a short Toronto conference so I was excited to see another side of the country.

Even though it was September which is normally very warm in California, Canada was an entirely different story!  The weather was so cold, I don’t think I’ve ever hiked in temperatures that low.  I brought a fleece, wool hat, light gloves and a waterproof jacket but I still should have packed warmer clothes!  It was so cold that during our hike I was afraid I was getting frostbite – my hands were so swollen and red that I took my rings off.  Please dress extremely warm!

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Unforgettable Places to visit in Cartagena Colombia

Top 5 things to do in Cartagena

  1. Visit Palenque
  2. Go on a city/food tour with Colombia Connection
  3. Day beach trip to Islas de Rosario
  4. Eat at fantastic restaurants (Cande, La Cevicheria, La Vitrola)
  5. Stay at a boutique hotel (Casa del Coliseo)

After hiking in Peru for 4 days last June 2018 (I’m late I know), Nelli and I knew we wanted to have a completely different experience (read: lazy beach bums).  I’ve always wanted to visit Cartagena after seeing pictures on travel blogs and I had/have a growing fascination of Black people’s experience outside of the USA.  I’m embarrassed to say that some of my introduction to AfroLatino culture came from Spanish soap operas like la Esclava blanca and Celia (Cuba post coming soon!).

Cartagena was considered in 2018 the next hot place to visit by Conde de Nast and the beautiful Instagram influencer pictures in front of the picturesque doors certainly don’t hurt it’s tourist industry either.  Boco Raton used to be the hot spot for rich people and tourists in Colombia – Cartagena was actually where the outcasts lived, it was literally a ghetto until gentrification (surprise!).Read More »

10 things I’m Grateful For In 2018 

I wrote this post in Cuba, what a great place to get inspired to pursue your creative outlets.  I pushed myself to spend my time reading, writing, doing yoga, and abstaining from all social media.  My mind became so clear regarding my goals for this year and I was able to reflect on 2018.

2018 was a busy year…Nelli and I celebrated our first year of marriage and we were fortunate enough to start new positions at our company.  We also found the time to spend time with each other, our friends and family by exploring the world! Here are our top 10 experiences (in no particular order).

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Traveling As An Asian Couple Is Easier Than You Think — How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch Feature

Being Asian, But Not Identifying With It

Fran:“I’m Black.”“Really? Are you mixed with something?”I get this response a lot when people ask me what I am and I’m prepared for this follow-up question. It’s kind of crazy that people you don’t even know can challenge you on your identity. Sometimes if I don’t feel mentally prepared…

via Traveling As An Asian Couple Is Easier Than You Think — How Not To Travel Like A Basic Bitch

Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Peru

Hi everyone!  This is a long time coming but I really wanted to share our experiences traveling to Cusco Peru for our honeymoon in July.

Top 5 experiences in Peru:

  1.  Hiking Machu Picchu
  2.  Visiting Maras/Moray
  3.  Cusco Culture Day tour – Shops and Restaurants
  4. Staying at Esplendor Cusco
  5. Booking our expedition with Alpaca Expeditions

It has always been a top priority to explore South America for 2018 since I had never stepped foot on the continent.  Over the past years, I’ve grown fond of hiking and the outdoors so I really wanted to add Machu Picchu to our accomplishments.  Since our visit to Peru would be mostly centered around visiting this world wonder, I prioritized finding the best tour company.  My main concerns were cost, ratings, and vegetarian options – Nelli has always wanted to go to South America but was nervous about their meat-centered cuisines.  I researched many tour companies online through trip advisor and blogs (thank you Snazzy Mom!) and I ultimately settled on Alpaca Expeditions.  I’m very happy with my choice – our hiking group was small (5 people), affordable ($550pp), great ratings, extremely knowledgeable/fun tour guide, and had veg options.  There was one lunch rice item that had hot dog slices in it which frustrated Nelli but he said overall he would recommend them.

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Inca Trail

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This Is Why You Should Go To The Grand Canyon

Hi everyone!! I can’t believe it’s already May…it’s going to be our 1 year wedding anniversary next month!  Where did the time go?

We have since continued our national park tradition and actually headed back to Grand Canyon around April 14th.  We booked the tickets on February 2nd and were planning for the May timeframe but April 14th was all that was available.  It ended up being a nice coincidence because that was our 2 year engagement anniversary.  I think I set up a nice tradition to go somewhere for that date too!

Even though we had already been to the Grand Canyon, I’ve read blogs and pictures about the famous Havasu waterfalls.  These waterfalls are so popular  that you are required to have a permit and they get sold out for the year in 30 minutes!  If you want to stay in the lodge instead of camping you have to reserve rooms the year before you want to go…yikes!

It was me and Nelli’s first backpacking/camping experience together and we were so nervous!  For it being our first time, I think we did extremely well but there are a few things we’ll do differently next  time…

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Why We Are Grateful For The Year 2017

2017 was SUCH a game changer in my life…there were so many milestones reached, growth opportunities fulfilled and SO many adventures executed – Here are my top 10 moments of the year!  I would definitely say 2017 has been my best year yet however I have no expectations for the future.

I want to say that 2018 will be better but I’m just going to live each day to the fullest and face whatever is in front of me.  This past January, I got a little angsty….I wanted each weekend activity packed and I was constantly searching/planning for our next international getaway.  I’m learning that you can be happy anywhere doing anything – Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a state of being 🙂

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