company of 1

i just got back from visiting my friend in minnesota and while i’ve traveled on an airplane by myself countless times, this was the first time i explored the streets on my own.

1) i definitely over thought how to navigate to and from places.

  • i was nervous to take the light rail from the airport to where my friend was, so i kept asking her for confirmation because i was so scared i’d get lost.
  • in a way she felt like my little fairy friend that helps you on the tutorial level of your video game hahah.

2) it wasn’t as awkward as i thought it was going to be.

  • since i came during the week, my friend still had work, so i had to go out and find food for myself for lunch.
  • back at home i would always tell myself ‘today’s the day you eat by yourself’ but i never did it 😛
  • it was a little awkward when the waiter/waitress realized it was a meal for one x-x but after that, it was really fine – they were nice (: for the most part i was on my phone or just listening to the chatter that surrounded my bubble of silence.

3) i was worried for nothing.

  • during this gap year, i have said that i wanted to do a solo trip somewhere to which people suggested going to europe. i feel like yes, it’s definitely possible but i just feel way too uneasy about me traveling and figuring stuff out in europe compared to a different state. i said maybe i could go do national parks but i feel like having a buddy is good for health and safety reasons. so it was cool that i got to go to minnesota and venture out on my own in and around town!
  • i say all this because i’m really bad at directions >< i lived in dallas for a while and still was unsure of which way to turn to get somewhere. i just get disoriented really easily LOL. but to my surprise, i was okay this time around! and i got to places with almost no trouble at all (:
  • with it came a lot of freedom to took tiny detours in order to experiment a route or challenging myself to not look at google maps to help me get to my destination 😀

4) it was pretty freeing tbh.

  • it was really nice to just walk around and adventure out. i think also because it was chilly, cold, and everywhere around me was still white – the whole experience was really refreshing.

5) company of 1 isn’t all that bad.

  • one afternoon i decided to go check out a museum before meeting up with my friend, and yeah i felt a little awkward going in and joining a mini tour where the other 3 people knew each other and i was just there lol.
  • but it wasn’t bad! i looked at everything at my own pace, yet still learned a lot about the city’s history and everything. it also helped that the place was nearly empty because it was a thursday afternoon 😛

something interesting did happen that has never happened before was that i received an unsolicited advance from a guy while i was waiting for the metro…

i had just finished eating lunch with my friend and was walking towards the light rail. i saw that it was almost at the platform, so i quickly bought my ticket and jumped on. as i sat there, i realized that there was a high probability that i was on the wrong one and needed to get off, but i realized too late. as soon as i stood up, the light rail started to move.

looking back if i had gotten on the right one, i wouldn’t have undergone the following experience but oh well -_-

so i was like ok no big deal, i’ll get off on the next one and hop on the right train. as i’m waiting there, standing against a pole with my suitcase in front of me, a guy and a few of his friends walk past me. i can hear them a ways away because they’re pretty much yelling. he walks past me and does a double take saying ‘heyy you pretty as helllll. can i leave you my number??’ and i was like ‘i’m good, thanks.’ to which he replied with ‘yo you japanese? chinese?’ and i kind of just stared at him in honestly a state of shock and terror. fortunately, he kept walking and caught up with his friends.

now yes. i’m sure you read that and was like ‘uh there were so many better ways you could’ve handled that’. yes, you’re right. immediately after that happened, i thought the same thing. honestly as i saw him walk past me, i already felt kind of scared because they seemed very loose (idk how to describe it x-x), and as soon as he spoke to me, i froze. i was honestly terrified because my mind immediately thought of all the different outcomes that could happen from that moment on. i knew i wouldn’t be able to outrun him with my suitcase, i couldn’t use my suitcase as a weapon because it was too heavy, and if i punched him or something, my suitcase would be vulnerable and i wouldn’t be able to getaway fast enough.

so then the only response that came out of my mouth was ‘i’m good, thanks’ >-> i wasn’t sure what he was going to do next, but i just stayed still and didn’t move – trying to keep my cool. luckily there were other people around me so i thought ‘ok if he does do something, at least there are people around who could help me i hope??’ i could see the dart was due soon so i kept repeating in my head like hurry uppp, what is taking so longggg. thankfully, he didn’t do anything to me and he walked away.

i get on the metro, and right before the doors close, he comes on with his friends. i get nervous because i wasn’t sure if he’d recognize me and try to approach me again. luckily he  didn’t, and his friends and him got into a fight and were yelling at each other. he then got off on the next stop. however, the entire time they were on talking, i was coming up with ways of how to defend myself if he ended up approaching me or doing something inappropriate. thankfully nothing happened!! but it was definitely an experience and the first time i experienced something like that. and sad to say, i guess that’s what comes with traveling by yourself as well.


needless to say venturing out by myself was a really great experience! i would 10/10 recommend you go out and adventure on your own (: i think it might surprise you like it did me. but i have to say, there were moments that i kept telling myself like ‘when you’ve been on tours, there have been people who were there by yourself – this isn’t weird’, ‘enjoy your time’, ‘your friend’s at work, and you need to eat so let’s go’, and many other things haha. so yeah i guess i did have to hype myself up every now and then 😡 but in the end, a company of one isn’t too bad 😀

 

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company of 1

Arizona

since i’m taking a gap year, my dad expressed his desire to go hiking somewhere, so we were planning on going to seattle mid august but we pushed it back because he was scared i wouldn’t have enough time to study for my gre. so we decided to go to arizona right after i turned in my apps instead.

i don’t usually do this (blog about my travels), but i figured it’d be nice to document my experiences and the things i’ve seen for personal reflection or to use in future adventures or something haha. so here goes.


DAY 1 – 10/2/17
my mom dropped us off in the morning, and i slept the entire plane ride there because i knew we had a long day ahead of us so i wanted to be well rested. arizona was 2 hours behind so there wasn’t too much jetlag but my stomach definitely wasn’t use to the time difference 😛

we got our rental car from advantage but found out our tire pressure was low so we got another car which took around 30 minutes. we drove out of phoenix to grand canyon which took around 4 hours. it was long but my dad and i were just chatting away with my music playing at a low hum.

we get to grand canyon and it. is. cold. the temperature dropped from 90 degrees to 60 something really fast and oops me i only brought tshirts and shorts for this trip. the forecast said it’d be around 70 degrees so i thought i’d be fine but i thought wrong ><

we walked around the rim and drove to different view points to try to see different sides of the canyon and lucky us, the sun was setting so we got to see the sunset. what was really interesting is that arizona has no clouds and the sunset had blue, purple, pink, and yellow in it! it was beyond beautiful. i tried to take lots of pictures of the canyon and the sunset but my pictures don’t suffice and can’t capture the vastness and the color of them both. so sad.

it got dark real fast so we checked into our hotel which was inside the canyon thank goodness and we ate dinner there too. there was this huge line so we decided to get the pasta buffet – the food wasn’t too shabby! it was nice to have warm food after being blown by cold wind haha. we headed to our hotel room afterwards, showered, and slept. there wasn’t much service or any service at all. what was cool about the hotel was that it was pet friendly and the shower had a 5 minute hourglass to challenge customers to take 5 minute or less showers to save water. it was super cold and there weren’t extra blankets, so i covered myself with pillows instead looool.

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DAY 2 – 10/3/17
we woke up early to trek Bright Angel Trail. it’s a trail that goes all the way down to the colorado river and apparently it took double the time to go uphill than going downhill. it’s also advised not to make the trip to the very bottom and back up to the top in one day – there were signs warning people about it because you could get really sick 😮

my dad and decided to only do 2 miles. it was still kinda chilly but the sun was out so it wasn’t as bad as the day before. he gave me his shorts to wear so at least i’d be covered. i wasn’t super warm but it was some sort of layer over my skin 😛

going down was really easy but my knees were definitely shaking whenever we took breaks. i surprisingly also had really good signal (both service and data) in the canyon lool. i tried to video call jeremy a couple of times to show his the canyon but he wasn’t available sad. we hit our mark and decided to head back up. it. was. tough. haha it did take us double our time and we had to take breaks every 10 minutes. it was getting harder to breathe because we were going up in elevation (we went down 1200 feet) and the air was cold. i found myself breathing through my mouth but realized shortly after that that might not be such a good idea. i’m really glad my dad thought of and bought hiking sticks because i think the hike up would’ve been a lot more difficult otherwise. whenever we took a break my heart was pounding and good thing we had snacks and water to hydrate and re-energize us.

we finally made it out of the canyon and decided to visit other viewpoints before heading to our next destination. we rode the shuttle up to hermit’s rest and then drove to the geology museum. there were surprisingly a lot of people at grand canyon and we were in shock of how crazy packed it would be over the summer. it was pretty interesting to read through how the canyon was formed and kind of crazy how big and deep it was O_O we pretty much saw all of the canyon from its varying angles and even in the canyon, so we decided to head out so we could see horseshoe bend before it got dark.

we drove to page, which was about a 2 hour drive, and i slept most of the time there heh. we finally get to horseshoe bend and the sun was about to set. i hurried my way on the trail and holy crap there were sooo many people there. i tried to squeeze my way in between people to snap a good pic but honestly, i was so scared someone was going to get accidentally pushed over the edge – that’s how crowded it was. i eventually made my way over to one side where all these photographers had their fancy cameras set up and i was like !! this is the spot. they know what’s up. and wah-lah! i was right. i got a really good picture of horseshoe bend.

afterwards, we made our way to our hotel. found an italian restaurant to eat at and this was where i started to feel a little sick. my throat was scratchy and i was like hmmmm if i don’t wear more clothes these next couple of days – i’m definitely going to get sick. luckily there was a wal-mart nearby so we bought clothes after dinner and went back to the hotel. the food was pretty good at the italian restaurant (bonkers) and service was quick. i ended up buying these joggers and a purple sweatshirt – things i would wear even back at home which is good haha. got back and video chatted jeremy super quick while my dad was in the bathroom and showered and slept pretty early because we had an early morning the next day.

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DAY 3 – 10/4/17
we woke up super early to catch a boat tour at wahweap. my throat was super sore and it hurt to swallow – i caught a cold rip me i was right. i didn’t eat much because i didn’t want to get sea sick but the boat was actually more stable than i thought it was going to be. there were benches lined up for us to sit on so you couldn’t really feel the boat move all that much. we rode through lake powell to rainbow bridge which took us an hour and a half. there was a audio guide which made time pass by more quickly.

we finally got to rainbow bridge and we trekked a mile or so before reaching it. crazy that it was naturally formed by water and the statue of liberty can fit underneath it – that’s how tall it was! spent an hour and a half there before heading back to the boat and slept all the way back because the hike was tiring but also i was feeling especially tired cuz i was sick. didn’t want to get more sick so i bound my head with my hood and hat lol.

afterwards we grabbed lunch at mcdonald’s and headed over to antelope canyon. apparently you can’t bring purses or anything – only your camera and water. we met at the parking lot and then the tour guides drove us to the entrance of antelope canyon. we drove over (maybe a 5/10 min drive) and it was a lot smaller than i thought 😮 there were a lot of people inside so we had to squeeze past people while walking through it. we went around 4pm and it was really dark inside so not the optimal time to go. but all those pretty pictures on google are from the photography tour where pros go in when there’s no one inside and they can take all these fancy pictures :O we did manage to snag a few good ones but definitely wouldn’t have seen certain things without our tour guide. there are flash floods that happen and when they do, they close all their tours. one tour guide brought his group anyway even though they were closed and they died o-o the tour guide lived…

anyway! (didn’t know how else to transition out of that lol) we drove to flagstaff to spend the night and ate at some italian restaurant which was also pretty good. then we went to the hotel, and i got to talk to jeremy for a bit before taking a shower and heading to sleep.

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DAY 4 – 10/5/17

we got to sleep in a bit and then we passed by sedona. it was a pretty scenic view for that hour drive. we stopped by the chapel of holy cross. i really wasn’t feeling up to walk or do anything and i knew we didn’t have that much time. i had a nose bleed in the morning (too dry merp) and i had a dry cough. i felt pretty lethargic and had muscle pain here and there – i just felt sick for lack of better words lol. my nose wasn’t stuffy though! but merp cough.

we then drove to phoenix, returned the car, and my dad was telling me to rent cars from big companies because little ones had hidden fees and try to trick you in paying more 😮 we boarded, i read orphan train (pretty good book!), and we landed.

got back home, ate dinner, uploaded my pics, took a shower, video chatted jeremy, and went to sleep (:

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it was definitely a tiring trip and i think especially so because my body was working hard to fight off the bad sickness stuff and to keep warm. but it was really nice to spend some quality time with my dad as he shared about his childhood, his family growing up, and just talking about other random things here and there. it was a good trip! i got to see a lot for my first time there, but it’s definitely good to be back home.

Arizona