I won the lottery when I was a kid. Not in the scratch-off ticket instant money kind-of-win. But in an instant life-changing win all the same.
When I was four years old, my family immigrated to the United States in 1998. My aunt was a refugee in the Vietnam War and moved to America many years before us. She slowly built a life for herself in a small town in Ohio. Through a tedious process and many years of trying, she eventually was able to sponsor my family for immigration. My parents in their late 30’s / early 40’s at this time, uprooted their entire life for the American dream. They left loved ones and everything they knew behind. With little formal education and no knowledge of English – their journey to America was filled with uncertainty and obstacles. Looking back now, I realized just how incredibly brave my mom and dad were. Their leap of faith would set the course for my life.
The summer of 2016 was the first time my family traveled back to Vietnam. Since this was 18 years later, I didn’t really know what to expect. My recollection of memories was vague and distant at this point. However, the trip turned out to be a colorful whirlwind adventure leaving me with vivid new memories. From sightseeing ancient temples to visiting the idyllic countryside village where my father grew up – I felt like a tourist because I was captivated by it all. Some of my favorite pictures I took are down below. 🙂 I also got to see my family members that I have not seen since I was a little baby. It was a rush of emotion, to say the least. I felt overwhelmed with love – because no matter the span of time and distance, your family is still your family after all. Seeing where I came from left a profound impact on me. It made me appreciate my parent’s selfless sacrifices so much more. This trip will always remain near and dear to my heart. ~b
Hue, Vietnam was the capital of the Vietnamese empire during the Nguyen Dynasty. Today the city still honors its rich past by preserving the beautiful ancient architecture. One of my favorite tourist attractions located in Hue was the vibrant ‘Imperial City‘. This exquisite site is home to numerous temples, monuments, and tombs. Walking into the sprawling grounds you can just feel the royal history of the palace. Even if you are not a history fanatic, there’s just something so astonishing about the ornate colorful architecture. The intricate detailing was something I found so striking because it was so meticulously crafted. From the well-kept gardens to the lavish historic buildings, this is an absolutely amazing place to spend an afternoon stroll! ~b
P.S. This is a throwback post…these pictures were taken about 3 years ago!
Nakalele Blowhole is another cool attraction that you can do on Maui. It’s located on the northwestern part of the island. This is home to the more underdeveloped rural areas so the road conditions can be pretty bad getting there. However, you will definitely be able to see some really stunning views along the way (see pics below)!
Once you reached the site, you will have to do a short hike to the bottom. The blowhole is easy to spot because it is always active and forms geyser-like eruptions every few minutes. Though a pretty interesting sight to see, it’s important to note that it can also be extremely dangerous. I would not recommend getting anywhere near it or walking on the wet rocks. There have been a few serious accidents here which ultimately ended in deaths. It’s a scary thought to process but as long as you are careful, this area is a beautiful place to explore! ~b
Maui, Hawaii may be known for its beautiful beaches, but its unique landscape also offers a wide range of breathtaking sceneries. If you adventure on the Pipiwai Trail you will discover bamboo forests and majestic waterfalls. It is one of the most popular hikes on the island because it leads to the famous 400 feet, Waimoku Falls. The four-mile trail is fairly easy with a ton of photo opportunities along the way. Here are some of my favorites! ~b
When I was a kid, I always fantasized about being whisked away to an exotic destination. The beaches at Makena State Park in Hawaii are pretty close to that! With golden shorelines and brilliant aqua blue water, this hot spot in Maui is a dreamer’s paradise!
One of the top must-have things to do in Maui is to drive theroad to Hana. This famous winding road leads you to sooo many beautiful places on the island. From waterfalls to bamboo forests, it definitely takes more than a day to explore it all. One of my personal favorite stops was around mile marker 32, Waianapanapa State Park. As you enter the park, the hills and valleys of the jungle open up to jagged borders, dramatic basalt coastlines, and the deep blue sea. The iconic black sand beach situated there was formed thousands of years ago due to the cooling and hardening of the lava flow that was battered relentlessly by the strong waves. I’ll have to admit though, that I was a little scared watching the huge ocean waves form and blast against the rugged cliffs. Though a magnificent sight to see – it was a humbling reminder of how powerful mother nature really is. Below are a few of my favorite pictures of the stunning landscape. 🙂 Till next time! ~b
Ahola guys! So very excited to be finally sharing some photos from my Hawaii trip this past spring! I have so many amazing photos to post but not enough time in the day to edit it all, ha! But no worries, they are slowly coming along and I would really like to put together a “Maui Instagram – Worthy” guide in the near future.
There’s no denying that these colorful surfboards make a striking backdrop – perfect for that insta shot! They were captured in Paia, a little beach town on the northern shore of Maui. Some of the biggest waves can be found here, making it a surfer’s paradise. Aside from that, it’s a pretty laid-back hippie town that attracts people from all over. This vibrant hostel in town was on the road to Hana. When I first saw the eye-catching rainbow fence, I instantly fell in love with the scenery. Composed of neatly lined surfboards, the owner here definitely knew a thing or two about curb appeal. Because I mean – who could resist a fun photo opportunity?! Ha! Well more Hawaii photos to come in the following weeks so be sure to check back! ~b