senior fall came to an end too quickly but i was definitely ready for break when the end of finals rolled around. i spent the majority of this year’s winter break traveling! my family and i went to san francisco to celebrate christmas, then i drove down to los angeles with some friends for new year’s and then took a trip to asia (tokyo, hong kong, philippines and seoul) with a couple friends for about two weeks. needless to say, i feel incredibly lucky to have had the chance to travel and it was all so much fun.
san francisco [12.19-12.30]
we spent our time in san francisco visiting a lot of the beautiful nature sites and hiked around different trails. we also spent two days roadtripping down to bakersfield to stay with my parent’s friends. to be honest, that was probably the most boring part of the entire trip just because bakersfield literally has nothing. i now understand the sentiment of all my californian friends when they say that there isn’t much to do in central california. regardless, a roadtrip meant quality time spent with my family! it was nice to have everybody together and going to san francisco always always makes me question why i live on the east coast. who doesn’t want to be wearing a tank top on christmas eve….? ^family hiking trip selfie ^and, of course, no trip to california is complete without going to in n out
roadtrip to los angeles [12.30-1.3]
my sister and parents all had their own plans for new year’s so a couple of my friends and i decided it would be fun to roadtrip from sf to la! we took highway 1 down, which is a beautiful route and stopped along the way at mcway falls and the elephant seals vista point (best part!!). i didn’t capture any great pictures of the elephant seals and my friends were all a little skeptical at first, but we ended up staying there for almost 1.5 hours just watching them. ^how is california water so blue? ^roadtrip buddies! (:
we spent about three days in la doing some touristy things like visit venice beach, santa monica pier, go to the griffith observatory and disneyland! it was a super fun trip and so nice to be hanging out with a lot of college friends outside the school setting. ^jumping pics at venice beach! ^looking at la from above at the griffith observatory. the layer of smog is so visible! ^more beautiful california sunsets. can’t get enough of them! ^the best of friends at the most magical place on earth
after we drove back to san francisco, i was off to asia! earlier in the fall, a friend had asked if i wanted to do an asia trip with her. outside of china, i had never been to any other country in asia before so i was really excited! upon arrival in tokyo, we met up with another friend of ours, who is from tokyo. we spent a total of five days there eating, site-seeing, and more eating. as a city, tokyo was a little weird and cutesy for me at times but the food is amazing. the day we went to the fish market, we ate fresh sushi and it was so delicious. places we visited: Shibuya, Asuska Market, Odaiba (hot springs!), Shinjuku, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza, Akihabara (we went to a maid cafe…which was an interesting experience), Roppongi Hills. ^shrimp tempura and udon. nom nom nom. ^matching outfits at the hot springs in odaiba! ^SUSHIII. although, to be honest, by the end of my stay in japan, i was ready to not eat sushi anymore haha ^cutesy things in harajuku
hong kong [1.10-1.12]
next up was hong kong, where we also got to visit another friend of ours who was able to show us around! hong kong is not particularly big so we structured most of our days around what we would be eating. the vibe of hong kong is very strange in that one part of the city is filled with locals who have been around for a while and the other is filled with extremely wealthy ex-pats who are all working at the banks and in the financial district. we spent the weekend there so got to check out the clubbing scene but also got to do some nature site-seeing as well! places we visited and restaurants we ate at: LKF, Tin Ho Man, Times Square, Tsim Sha Tsui, Din Tai Feng, VIctoria’s Peak, Stanley, Repulse Bay ^clubbing nights at LFK ^hong kong island skyline ^victoria’s peak! ^swag pose with my aadt faves at stanley
while some of my traveling group stayed in hong kong for a couple of extra days, my main traveling buddy and i decided to go to the philippines because we had another friends who was leading a trip there. it was my first time to southeast asia and the 90 degrees philippines weather was definitely much appreciated. the philippines is absolutely beautiful and we were really lucky because we got to travel to mindoro with the other students to stairway, a non-profit organization that works with ex-street kids. i could go on forever about my experience there but i honestly think that those two days were incredibly rewarding. i learned so much and was so amazed by the kids that i got to meet. i’m so glad we decided to go to stairway and wish that we could stay for more days than we did. on our last day in the philippines, we decided to stay in manila and had a relaxing day at the mall of asia and visiting manila bay. ^painted on one of the residential buildings at stairway ^this place is truly paradise ^selfies and sunsets with the best. ❤
our last leg of the trip was to seoul where we reunited with our friends! we also were reunited with 20 degree weather which was ridiculous but we still were able to spend the majority of our time site-seeing and, of course, eating. korean food has always been one of my favorite cuisines and i was so excited to eat! i felt that seoul was the perfect city for a 20 year old girl- there were so many cute cafes, good eats and tons of shopping. we also spent a day going on a DMZ tour which was an interesting experience. it’s crazy to me that something that is so deeply rooted in history still exists today and is so controversial. we also watched a bboy show and did lots of shopping/eating/drinking. the perfect way to end a trip to asia with so many good friends. (: places we visited: Gangnam, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, Namdaemun Market, Namsan Tower, Itaewon, DMZ, Seoul Plaza, Cheonggyecheon Stream, Gwwangjang food market, Dongdaemon, Korean War Memorial/Museum, Myungdong ^being tourists at the Gyeongbokgung Palace
^trip to DMZ
i feel so lucky to have been able to travel so much this past winter break. it’s so nice to be able to spend such a relaxing time with friends and visit them in their home cities. i can’t wait to hopefully have even more opportunities to travel in the future!