It’s been a tumultuous year. I quit a great job in Greenville, SC, sold everything I owned, and moved abroad. Since January 1st, 2015, I have relocated three times, crossed the US by car, experienced teaching abroad, and started this blog. It’s been a packed year of misadventure, miscommunication, mistakes, and amusement, with more awaiting in 2016. I have so been looking forward to sharing my best experiences in 2015
Asheville, North Carolina
I kicked off the new year listening to a StarWars-themed all brass band “The Empire Strikes Bass” in Asheville, NC with friends, camping in the Blue Mountains. I attempted to order pizza at 3:00am about 25 times. My inebriated self didn’t quite realize that they probably wouldn’t be open for my drunken cravings. I had just quit probably the best job I have ever had and was getting ready to start traveling.
I recommend visiting Asheville, NC at least once. It’s basically an East Coast San Francisco, full of hippies and street performers, small venues and a pizza chain called “The Magic Mushroom”
Las Vegas, Nevada
I needed to save money to move to Japan, so I bought a one way ticket to Las Vegas and worked my butt off in the tourism industry in order to save. And I did. Hand over fist. I partied my socks off in Vegas, working up to 6 days a week and then going out after my shift. I lived with a friend from college, who is hooked on that Vegas lifestyle.
I mean, who wouldn’t be when we wake up to that view?!
I got to be a part of a cirque du soleil show as well!
Mojave Desert, Nevada
I worked with an international photographer for a photo journalism book challenging public opinion on violence versus nudity, and modeling for his work “Public Bodies”, as well as a few other photographers in the Las Vegas area. I spent numerous days hiking Red Rock, Nevada, exploring the desert and rock-stacking.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Soon after raising enough funds to take on Japan, I decided to make a cross country journey from Greenville, South Carolina to Seattle, Washington. I stopped in Arizona along the way and visited the Grand Canyon.
I finalized my last month in the states with a survey of Washington State. From a concert at the Gorge Ampitheatre:
To a mini-cation in West Port Beach:
And Finally, I was off to Nagoya, Japan
In Nagoya, I experienced monkeys face to face, and ancient castles
I visited rural Japan and hiked through the woods to see beautiful waterfalls
The best moment of 2015 was climbing Mt. Fuji, and experiencing the sheer frozen awesomeness at the top!.
I made it to 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan. The Summit of Fuji-san, and visiting the Great Buddha of Kamakura *daibutsu*. The culture here in Japan is so foreign to me still. I love the eccentric cafes, restaurants, and religious spots I have stumbled upon. 6 months here in Tokyo and I am still not ready to leave this sprawling megacity.
The equivalent of a Japanese-speaking Hawaii, I spent a wonderful vacation on the main island, Naha, exploring and snorkeling for a few days. If I could redo my year in Japan, I would definitely choose to live in Okinawa!
I can’t believe how much I have been able to experience this year…..and I have really only just began to travel.
Here’s to 2016, and sharing everything with all of you! What have you experienced this year?