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!
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend two amazing weeks in Hawaii this past year. Since I was there for a good amount of time, I also visited Honolulu for a couple of days. One of my favorite activities I did there was the Lanikia Pillbox hike. It was a little bit unplanned (hence why I am wearing flip-flops in these pictures), but still a fun memory to look back on. The climb was not too intensive and offered a rewarding view of Mokulua islands, Lanikia beach, and the surrounding residential neighborhood. I included a few of my favorite snapshots from the hike in this post! ~b
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
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
Happy July! Here are my final photos from my trip to Mexico. Though, a pretty short trip overall. I was lucky enough to be able to fit so many activities in my schedule. Last on my list was to see the iconic Arch of Cabo San Lucas before I left, so that’s exactly what my father and I did! It’s a distinctive rock formation that marks that spot where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. We went on a yacht boat excursion in the evening to see it and to also watch the sunset. The views at sea were simply breathtaking and I thought it was the perfect way to end the trip! ~b
Hola amigos! I hope you are all doing well! I know this post is long overdue and I apologize. I will be pretty busy for the next few months with my corporate job but I will try my absolute best to have content created for my blog.
Continuing on from my last entry, I wanted to share more beautiful pictures from my trip to Cabo! Going anywhere as colorful and stunning as Mexico, I wanted to make sure I was dressed for the occasion. My travel outfit included a bright orange ruffle tanktop paired with a bold turquoise blue crossbody bag. My style was very much influenced by all the vibrantartwork that I saw throughout the streets of Mexico.
During my stay, I also had the opportunity to go on a private tour of a small village called, Todos Santos. It is a 45 min drive from Cabo and has an entirely different atmosphere. For one, there are fewer tourists and fancy resorts in the area which makes it feel more of a relaxed boho vibe. The village is mainly comprised of decor boutiques and art murals. Tiny restaurants and a small yellow church are found nearby. There is even a hotel there called the “Hotel California,” which is believed to have inspired the Eagles to write their famous hit song. How cool is that, right?! On the tour, we also had time to stop by a blanket shop to see the process of crafting a patterned blanket. It takes a lot of effort and can take weeks to complete one detailed design. Seeing skillful artisans at work made me appreciate the final products even more.
Overall, Todos Santos is filled with a lot of character and charm. Although not nearly as big as Cabo, there were still many things to do and places to explore. Through this experience, I felt more connected to the history, culture, and people of Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, fancy resorts are a dream come true – but taking time to see other parts of Mexico made this trip even more worthwhile!
I attached a mixture of pictures in this post to share with you all. From my resort to the village, incredible artworks to beautiful flowers – I hope y’all enjoy them! ~b
The last main stop on my adventure out West was Antelope Island. It’s an idyllic island with close proximity to Salt Lake City (about an hour drive). To be honest, I was pretty tired at this point of my trip and a little bit cranky. I really wished this wasn’t the case but sometimes when you are constantly traveling, you yearn for your good old bed!
However looking back now, I am so glad we drove out there. The wildlife at Antelope Island is fantastic. It’s home to free-ranging bison, antelopes, bighorn sheep, and many various species of birds. You can admire the animals from afar as they roam freely in this prairie-like habitat. The area is surrounded by golden meadows of grasslands, large mountains jutting into the sky, and a scenic salt lake. We were lucky enough to experience good weather that day and have beautiful blue skies over us. This only added to the natural beauty of the landscape. If you are ever looking for a day trip to escape from the city commotion, then this is it. Peaceful and tranquil, you can easily immerse yourself in all things nature on Antelope Island. ~b
For the longest time, I had this mindset that the final destination was always the best stop. Not just in terms of travel but in my everyday life as well. I guess I have this natural tendency to want to arrive from point A to point B in the most efficient timely manner. That’s the Type-A personality trait side of me coming through. Although following a straightforward path in life is ideal, it’s really just not realistic. I am learning more each and every day that curveballs/setbacks are inevitable. To truly appreciate any final destination, you have to embrace the journey of getting there as well.
In fact, some of my favorite pictures in this post were not captured at Horseshoe Bend at all. Instead, they were taken on a random dirt road off of the main highway. The stop was unplanned and spontaneous, thanks to my lovely boyfriend who has a keen eye for photography. Among a sea of red rocks, there were these vibrant blue and white hills lingering in the distant. I was instantly drawn to the pops of colors and loved seeing the variations in the landscape. This location was also isolated which made it even more enjoyable.
After spending some time there, we continued our journey to our final destination,Horseshoe Bend. This is a mega tourist attraction in the area. It is a magnificent example of the natural beauty of Mother Nature and overall, an amazing sight to see. However, I am also thankful that I was able to experience the less traveled to stops along the way. 🙂 ~b
Remember when I told you guys I was visiting Utah in March? Welp, I’m finally posting some of the pictures even though I know they are long overdue (hehe). In short, Utah is beautiful. The Wild West is filled with sweeping canyon views, vibrant red rock formations, and stunning national parks. Not to mention the people are extremely kind and hospitable here…at least the ones I met during my trip. 🙂 Below are some photos taken near Monument Valley. It’s on the border of Utah and Arizona. There’s an iconic straight road there that is known as the Forrest Gump Point because it was featured in the famous film. It’s the exact location where Forrest decided to end his journey running across America. Even if you are not a huge fan of the movie, this spot is super picturesque and great for photography. I posted a few of my favorite photos to share with you guys! ~b