Charlotte - 2019
In Spring of 2019, Maya and I drove the eight hours down to North Carolina to visit Charlotte. There are a lot of foods to eat and tons of sights to see. Too bad we were only there for a few days. The real estate prices were so cheap! Too bad it’s over seven hours away from our chosen area.
Thailand – 2018
I never considered going to Southeast Asia until my hand was forced by a wedding in Bangkok. I am glad my viewpoint was completely turned around with all the wonderful sights and sounds. For some reason, fruit just tastes better. For example, I have discovered the wonder that is Guava. Why is that not a thing in the US?
Vietnam – 2018
If you think Bangkok has a lot of scooters, you are not prepared for the scooter heaven that is downtown Ho Chi Minh City. For every one person, there are three scooters. I would not be surprised if they hand them out at the hospital with a baby’s birth certificate. We did not spend too much time in Vietnam, but it may have left a bigger impression on me than Bangkok. Just like Cuba, it is enlightening to see how the other side perceives war. Still can’t get behind Pho.
Atlanta - 2018
In September, Maya’s employer was recognized by a group that pushes for increased access to justice. Consequently, we had our first trip to Georgia. The city is great and sprawling. Tons of parks and historical locations. My one “must do” was Southern comfort food. We went to Mary Mac’s Tea Room and had a dynamite meal that was way too much food. Assuming it does not get too cold there, I could see myself living in that city.
West Virginia - 2018
For Labor Day 2018, Maya and I traveled to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. The trip was a return to my birthplace as well as the 40th anniversary of the Italian Heritage Festival. All the classics were well represented like baked ziti and stromboli, as were items I have only sampled in WV like the "Giovanni". Even though most of the people I knew have likely left, it was nice to walk the streets I grew up on. After three days, it was also nice to say goodbye.
Cuba - 2017
Over Christmas, Maya and I flew to Havana, Cuba. The city has areas that could fit in anywhere within the U.S. It also has areas that are more akin to a developing nation. I will not speculate whether it is due to the chosen system of government or other factors, but the Cuban government does not miss the opportunity to claim the U.S. embargo as the ills facing Cuban citizens.
Peru - 2017
In 2017, Maya and I took a trip down south to Peru. This was my first time in South America and I fancy, will not be my last. The city of Lima is striking and the food is out of this world. In addition to the big city, Maya and I flew to Cuzco, a small city in the mountains. I could see myself retiring out here. Or escaping.
California – 2016
For my first trip to California I had one thing on my mind: In-and-Out. Verdict? I guess it is a West Coast thing. Southern California has a different vibe than the east coast. Maybe it is the perpetually nice weather. After touring southern California, Maya and I made our way north to San Francisco and Petaluma running into the Butter and Egg festival in the latter.
Toronto – 2016
In the Summer, Maya and I drove up to Toronto, stopping briefly at Niagara Falls. Words cannot describe how much I loved Toronto. The most multicultural city I have visited. So many places to see and foods to eat. Tim Horton’s breakfast is the best fast food breakfast I have eaten thus far. It was not all good though. Poutine? I just did not understand it. Fries? Cheese? Gravy? Yes. In one dish? Hold your horses.
Japan – 2014
For the Summer, I participated in a study abroad program in Tokyo, Japan. I had always wanted to go to Japan and here was my chance. I opted out of taking the second class offered (thank you UB International Copyrights). As a result, my day ended around noon every day. I flipped to a random page in my guidebook and visited that area. I was there for two months and was no where close to seeing everything.
South Korea – 2014
While I was in Japan, I flew to South Korea to visit a good friend whom also graduated from Penn State. While Japan and South Korea are similar, they are different in aspects I will not detail here. We went all over the city and took a special trip to the Demilitarized Zone. The amusement park confused me with such a serious location and subject matter.
Curacao – 2013
Over the Winter of 2013, I studied abroad in the small island nation of Curacao. I sat on the beach while the northeastern part of the United States went through a cold snap. In between the beach and lounging around were rather interesting and educational trips to various government institutions and legal sights.