Heading West | Visiting Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns and My New Home

Just like that, My Great American Road Trip is headed back west. If you read my post when I started traveling back east, you’re probably very confused — honestly, so am I. Over the course of 4.5 months, I crossed the entire United States from coast-to-coast THREE times. It’s a really long and complicated story, but basically I got to Tennessee and then decided to turn around and go all the way back to Oregon to stay for good. After all these months of traveling, I’m finally calling Oregon my new home, and that feels so, so, so good. Here are my photos from my trip heading west, where I visited Roswell, the Carlsbad Caverns, and experienced all the changing autumn leaves 🍂

missouri highway sunset

When I left Oregon a month ago, I headed straight for Missouri where I stayed for a week. Then, continued on to Tennessee. This sunset in Missouri knocked me off my feet, but it was also a turning point. While I was in Missouri, I started to miss Oregon more and more. My heart was being pulled into 100 different directions, but at the end of every scenario I played out in my head, I was led back to Oregon. Of course, I didn’t know I’d actually go all the way back west, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. Crazy how life works itself out, isn’t it?

nashville honky tonk central

whiskey row nashville

johnny cash museum nashville

mcfaddens nashville

Nashville was every dream I’ve ever had. This city is bustling with people, music and culture and it made me so happy. It was as if a country radio station came to life. Every corner had something fun going on, and I could have spent a full week there and still wouldn’t have seen everything Nashville had to offer. I can’t wait to go back one day!

knoxville tennessee

greetings from knoxville tennessee

After staying in Nashville, we made our way to Knoxville to visit some friends! It was so much fun meeting new people and hanging out in a hip little city. If you’re ever in Knoxville, look up Da Hula Bowl! It’s a Hawaiian food truck and they’re really good friends! The food is awesome, but the couple who run it are even better. ❤️

While in Knoxville is when we decided Oregon is home. So after spending a few nights in Knoxville, I made my way back across the country toward Oregon. Toward HOME.

ruby falls chattanooga tennessee

ruby falls chattanooga tennessee

After leaving Knoxville, I was in Chattanooga. Driving through, there were tons of signs for Ruby Falls, which is 1,000 foot underground waterfall — yes, really. It was incredible!

rainy day in knoxville tennessee

The next few days were a blur, and then I found myself in New Mexico!

carlbad caverns

carlsbad caverns carlbad caverns

While in New Mexico, I went to Carlsbad Caverns! This was on my list for a long time, so I’m really happy I was able to go! It was AMAZING. If you ever have the chance to visit the caverns, I can’t recommend it enough!

Tip: Go early in the morning when they first open, and you’ll have the place to yourself!

roswell new mexico roswell new mexico roswell new mexico

Then I did another Bucket List item: Roswell. If you aren’t familiar with Roswell, it’s basically Alien Town, U.S.A. There were aliens everywhere, and it was awesome! 👽

arizona desert arizona teepee arizona state sign nevada desert

Driving through Arizona for the third time this year was amazing. The first time I was in Arizona this year, I experienced some major healing, and being back there again a few weeks ago felt so great!

nevada lake

Nevada was beautiful. It was a long and tiring drive through the desert from Las Vegas to Reno, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Some say the desert is boring with its 100 shades of brown, but there’s something so unique about it, it makes me really happy.

california state sign

Crossing the border into California felt special. I was born here in California, and being in the state always feels good ❤️

mount shasta sunrise mount shasta sunrise

When I woke up at 4am and left California, Mount Shasta came out to say hello. This was the most beautiful, golden autumn morning!

eugene oregon mckenzie river eugene oregon armitage eugene oregon neighborhood eugene oregon homes autumn in oregon

And finally, I made it to Oregon. I made it HOME.

The last week has been full of applying for jobs here in Oregon, house hunting, car shopping, and stocking up on warmer clothes. It’s been busy, stressful, overwhelming and full of unknowns — but the best things in life are that way. I know life will slow down, and everything will figure itself out. But until then, I’ll keep working hard and praying harder. Nothing new there 😉

I hope life has been treating you well. I hope you’ve been embracing this autumn with your loved ones. And I hope any stressful situations you’ve been facing dwindle and make you stronger. ❤️

Heading West | Visiting Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns and My New Home

Washington | Exploring Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier

There’s something special about Seattle, and I can’t quite place it. I just love the feel of the city, the gloomy skies, the UFOs everywhere. Seattle is just different—and I like that. My recent trip to Washington was great! I spent my time exploring Downtown Seattle, camping in the woods, and meeting family I’d never met before!

Have you seen the rest of my Great American Road Trip posts? 🌼

washington campground

washington puppy

Have you ever seen a cuter face?! Look at this happy puppy! 😍

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I am one happy camper 🌞

mount rainier mount rainier road trip

There’s nothing better than being above the tree-line and seeing nothing but green for miles and miles. The Pacific Northwest is so gorgeous.

john muir mount rainier

Fun fact: John Muir is my favorite person in the world. Did you know it’s because of him that we even have National Parks and green, open spaces that are protected? When I was younger, I was so interested in him, his books were all I would read. I even made my dad take me to Muir’s home in California, we did the Muir Trail, and I have all his books (one of them I have in three different versions!) Anyway, I’m a big fan of Mr. Muir. 😂

chehalis washington washington state fair chehalis antiques ivars seattle

Visiting this little town in Chehalis was like stepping back in time. Everything was vintage, it was SO amazing! If it weren’t for the gloom and cold winters, I’d totally live there.

pikes place buildings seattle public market pikes place florist pikes place market pikes place fruit stand piroshky piroshky seattle seattle ferris wheel

This was my second time visiting Seattle and Pike’s, and it was as though nothing had changed from the last time I was there. The only difference was that I changed, which made the city feel even better. Have you ever felt that way visiting a place?

washington skies washington skies

Oh, these Washington sunsets. The skies were an orange/purple/pink because of the wildfires, but they were so pretty. Beauty in the madness, I guess! 💜

Washington | Exploring Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier

Oregon (Part 4) | Exploring Bend & Crater Lake After the Wildfires

I first went to Eastern Oregon four years ago to visit friends, so going back this time around was great! I was reminded what a beautiful little city it is, and I was so happy to be spending time in the wilderness. For the week I was there, I spent time exploring Bend and Crater Lake after the wildfires ripped through. Luckily, there wasn’t too much damage and it was still as beautiful as ever.

*Have you seen Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my Oregon trip? 😎

bend oregon camp bend oregon camp

How adorable is this camp? I loved this little log cabin in the woods.

bend oregon forest

I grew up with the Redwoods in California, but I will never get over the beauty of these giants. They’re so amazing!

bend oregon river bend oregon river

I’ve been making dog friends everywhere I go, and it’s awesome. I need a dog asap!

bend oregon vintage donuts

Bend has so many thrift stores, vintage shops and garage sales. It was fun hitting up all these places (and getting free food!)

crater lake oregon crater lake oregon crater lake oregon

How beautiful is the moon? I love seeing her during the day time. I wrote a little bit about the moon recently, if you’re a fellow moon nerd, you should check it out! 🌙

crater lake oregon crater lake oregon crater lake oregon crater lake oregon crater lake oregon crater lake oregon

Before you ask, these are the shorts I’m wearing!

bend oregon

Okay, but how incredible is that water?! These photos don’t even do it justice—it was so BLUE and bright and beautiful!

I’m so happy I was finally able to see Crater Lake, and it turned out to be the most beautiful, clear day! Did you know this was a volcano, but it exploded and collapsed on itself, and that’s why it’s a lake now! Nature is so amazing.

*Some links may be affiliate links for my Dalmatian and coffee fund 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 4) | Exploring Bend & Crater Lake After the Wildfires

Oregon (Part 2) | Visiting my College Town in Eugene

I graduated from the University of Oregon close to five years ago now (yikes), and visiting my college town in Eugene was so surreal. When I graduated, I didn’t think I’d be back. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing and I have nothing but love for the school and the place, I just thought that chapter was over. When I went back this summer, it felt so strange! Everything had changed, yet it had all simultaneously stayed the same.

Here are photos from my second leg of my Oregon trip. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1! And catch up on my other posts from my Great American Road Trip 😎

johnson hall university of oregon Lundquist College of Business

I’m totally biased, but the University of Oregon is the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen. The buildings are gorgeous, they’re the birthplace of Animal House, there’s over 400 species of trees, and everyone’s smiling all the time. It felt so good walking across campus again. This was probably one of my happiest days. So many great memories are rooted here, I can’t wait to bring my children here one day!

king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery

If you’re ever in Eugene, one thing you have to do is visit a winery. They’re everywhere! I stumbled on King Estate while driving around aimlessly in the countryside, and it was beautiful! The most amazing thing was the owners started the winery without knowing anything about wine! They just started growing grapes because it was something they were passionate about—how cool is that? While I was there, I got a free tour and samples, and spent the rest of the day in the sunshine.

register guard eugene eugene oregon camping

Mornings look like this lately. I’ve been having one of my favorite breakfasts, and made the switch to tea. I’ve been ignoring my phone and computer until about 10am, and I’ve been reading the news or books instead! If you can, I recommend doing this. I’ve been so much happier!

eugene oregon farm stand

A good reminder for peaches and people 👍🏼

oregon blackberries fern ridge eugene fern ridge eugene

Blackberry bushes are everywhere. I’ve been snacking on these nonstop, they’re so, so good! Best part? They’re free!

eugene oregon

In August, I celebrated my second month on the road here in Oregon (and spoiler: I also spent my third month on the road in Oregon. I’m that behind on posting haha). I’m grateful for this season in my life, because learning so much, seeing so many places, meeting so many people, and seeing who I am becoming and realizing who I want to continue to grow into.

If you have the opportunity to take a break from life and road trip, DO IT.

*Some links may be affiliate links because student loans don’t pay themselves 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 2) | Visiting my College Town in Eugene

Oregon (Part 1) | Eastern Oregon & Mt. Hood in the Summer

If you follow me on my Twitter or Instagram, you know I’ve been in Oregon since July. JULY. I’ve been sitting on this Oregon content for a while because at first, I wasn’t quite sure how to put it all together. So, I’ll be rolling it out in parts (four, to be exact!). As soon as I crossed over the border into Eastern Oregon, I relished in the sweet Oregonian summertime. Here are photos from my stay at Mt. Hood in the summer!

welcome to oregon oregon road trip

Crossing the border into Oregon felt like a warm, overdue embrace. The last time I was here, I was graduating from University (which was over four years ago now!). Coming back here felt like coming home, and after months of traveling to new and foreign places, that was a great feeling!

historic oregon historic oregon historic oregon historic oregon

I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for abandoned places. I love visiting run down places and towns that time forgot about.

mt hood oregon mt hood oregon mt hood oregon mt hood oregon

In the four years I lived in Oregon, I never once visited Mt. Hood. Ever. So I was really excited to finally visit this time. And it was BEAUTIFUL. I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in the winter!

mirror lake oregon mirror lake oregon

At Mount Hood, I visited a place called Mirror Lake. After hiking to the lake and eating breakfast here on this log, I sat and let the beautiful silence envelope me. I sat and thought about how I got to this point—not here at the base of this mountain, but here at this point in my life.

Remembering that just a year ago, I was living in another country with an entirely different life, struggling with my own mind. And when I was sitting there watching the world wake up before my eyes, watching the mountain, birds, and wind reflected in the lake, I knew I’d made it. I felt content. I felt joy burning through my cheeks.

My life has made a total 180 from where I was last year, and I’m so unbelievably happy with the person I’m becoming. I’m glad to have left the person I once was behind, because this new me is so, so, so much better—and it’ll only go up from here. Thankful, so thankful.

snake river oregon

On that hike, I also found this poem in the forest. I took it as a gentle gift from the universe. I hoped to meet the author out there in the woods. Maybe next time.

“Delving into muted expressions, like a record stuck on repeat,
the rest of the album waiting to be sung.
The song that was never heard, beckons a melody of truth
more poignant than the last drop of aged brandy.
Tongue trembling,
jaws clenched,
your eyes shed a mirage.”

Thank you, mysterious writer. You’ve inspired me to write again.

snake river oregon snake river oregon snake river oregon snake river oregon mt hood camp

I was very, very happy here in the woods, walking up the riverbed, wading through the water, drinking in the sunshine. It felt so great to be back in Oregon, and my stay at Mt. Hood was a wonderful welcome!

*Some links may be affiliate links for my Dalmatian and coffee fund 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 1) | Eastern Oregon & Mt. Hood in the Summer

Wyoming | Rock Springs & the National Rodeo Competition

I’ve been to Wyoming a few times, mostly when I was really young. So when I went this last time, it was really different and special. I was there for a rodeo competition, which was a whole new world in itself. I also started a new job while I was there. I explored Rock Springs, which is home to most of the dinosaur fossils in the U.S.! Overall, the two weeks spent in Wyoming was relaxing, it was different, and it was new – exactly what this trip is all about. Here are some photos from my trip!

rock springs wyoming sweetwater events, rodeo competition

The more I see mountain ranges like these, the more I fall in love with them. When I was young, my great grandmother had a painting similar to this photo. When I visited her in the summers, I drank my hot cocoa at the dining room table and stared at that painting – wanting to be in it. I think maybe that’s why the desert has such a pull on my heart.

rock springs

Two words: Dream. Car.

rock springs rock springs

Half of me will always long for an apartment with a fire escape. The other half wants a house with a huge yard and tons of animals. I’ll have to find a happy medium.

laundromat rock springs

If this doesn’t make you feel like running off to have tea in Hobbiton, I don’t know what will!

rock springs wyoming rock springs wyoming rock springs wyoming

My stay in Wyoming was hot, dusty, and long. But it was sweet. And I’m happy I was able to visit and experience it in all its warm, July glory.

Wyoming | Rock Springs & the National Rodeo Competition

Life Lately: One month living on the road

Remember when I first announced I was leaving my island home in Hawaii?

Remember when I said my plan was to road trip across America?

Well, it’s officially been one month since I’ve been living on the road, without a “home” and going somewhere new every day. I’ve been posting little travel diaries of each place I’ve visited so far, but here’s how life has been in general 👍🏼


I’ve been writing every day

Since I’ve been on the road, I’ve had lots and lots of time to think, think, think. This has been great, but I’ll admit it gets overwhelming at times. I went through a spell where all I thought about was my previous relationship, the ending, the goods, the bad, the pain and all the joy. This is imperative for growth and healing, but boy, is it tough to work through all those feelings.

During times like these, I reach for my phone, scrap paper, notebook or computer and proceed to word vomit. I dump it all on paper, and oftentimes, it doesn’t even make sense, but it makes me feel lighter, happier, freer.

I love writing for myself. No one ever sees the words I write in my notebooks, but I like it that way for now. Maybe one day, I’ll make sense of these words and compile them into a book that’ll be on a shelf. But for now, I’m enjoying keeping these words to myself.

Speaking of books on a shelf… I need to get back to writing mine! I finally started writing my book months ago, but stopped when life got busy (likely story). But since I have all this free time, I want to take advantage of that and get this book done. My goal was to have it finished by the beginning of next year, so fingers crossed! Maybe I should follow my own tips… 😂

I’ve been studying the Bible

For about two years now, I’ve been steadily reading the Bible every day, doing bible studies and I’ve been really involved with the church. Right now since I’m on the road, being a part of a church is near impossible, so I’m relying heavily on my own Bible study time.

In this current season of life, I’ve been finding so much truth and conviction in the devotionals and scriptures I’ve been reading.

If you’re interested in a post about the studies I’m doing, let me know! ❤

Until then, check out How to Study the Bible On Your Own and my other posts on Faith!

I’ve been healthy-ish

Before I left Hawaii, I had a steady routine of eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, but since being on the road, keeping that same routine is hard. But I’ve been trying!

I still have my same oatmeal breakfast (with coconut granola, hemp, chia, flaxseed, almond milk and bananas), but other than that it’s hard to eat healthy during travel when i want to try every single local food there is 😬

If you have any tips on how to be healthy/active while traveling and living on the road, please leave them below!

I’ve been relearning myself

Over the years, I’ve forgotten who I am in someone else, in the standards of who I should be, and I’ve been overshadowed by my own insecurities and struggles.

Since being on this trip, I’m spending time relearning who I am, what I want and what’s important to me.

This is really hard work once you’ve spent so many years with another person, many years away from everything you once knew, and many years trying to live up to the standards of what a young 20-something should be.

But I’m doing it. ⚡

I’ve been in reflection

As I mentioned above, I’ve had lots of quiet time spent thinking, writing and reflecting.

Where do I want to be after this trip? What happens when all this ends? Where do I go? Who will I be? What do I want for my life? What does my future hold?

There are so many questions that lie in the unknown, but I’m thankful that I have an open road in front of me.

What’s next?

Right now, I’m writing this at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In a few days, I’m heading up to Wyoming for a week and then I’ll make my way to Oregon. After that, I’m not sure – but I’m living for the adventure of it all.


How has your life been lately? How’s the summer treating you? ☀

Life Lately: One month living on the road

Florida | Orlando, Universal Studios & seeing gators! (Part 2)

Have you checked out Part 1 of my Florida trip? 😊

florida gator tour florida gator tour

During the last few days in Florida, I had to go on a Gator Tour so I went to a place called Camp Holly’s! They had an awesome tiki bar, baby gators on site, and the funniest air boat captains. I had the best time, I highly recommend this place! (And if you do go, order a margarita and tell the bartender I say hi!)

universal studios simpsons universal studios harry potter universal studios harry potter universal studios harry potter universal studios summer universal studios krustyland

Since I was in Orlando, I had to go to Universal Studios! (I was planning on going to DisneyWorld, but I’ll save that for another time). I’m a huge Simpsons fan, so I loved seeing KrustyLand, and of course the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a blast!

florida rainbow florida lake florida lake florida lake florida countryside

florida campground florida campground

This also marks the first week of living on the road (and not in an actual “house”). So far, so good! It’s taking some adjustment, but I grew up camping so I love it. The only downside right now is the lack of stable, reliable Wi-Fi, but I’m working around it as best as I can, while still enjoying the outdoors!

I’ve been writing a lot for myself, which I love doing because I love being able to look back at my words and feelings. Being out on the road and away from every day distractions has been a blessing in disguise. However, speaking of blessings, a few days before I hit the road I got some bad news. That morning was rough, but I haven’t been focusing on the negatives of it all – instead, I’ve been seeing it for all that it IS and not what it could have been. I may touch on this later, but for right now I’m keeping this to myself, allowing myself to grow from it, and continuing to seek out the positives in my every day.


Have you ever visited Orlando, Universal Studios, or gone on a gator tour? 😊

Florida | Orlando, Universal Studios & seeing gators! (Part 2)

Florida | St. Augustine, Cocoa Beach & getting ready for life on the road! (Part 1)

My grand adventure of living on the road has officially begun! (And as I’m writing this, I’m sitting at an auto repair shop in the outskirts of Nashville – more on that later). The first stop on my trip was Florida to visit family before I hit the road. I explored a ton and had a blast. Here are some photos from the first leg of my road trip across America!

florida swamp

Nearly every community is built on or around the water, and it’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. I love these little docks behind all these houses!

st augustine st augustine road trip florida st augustine

Exploring old town St. Augustine was incredible! It’s one of America’s oldest cities and it was founded in the mid-1500s! I explored a 17th century stone fortress, walked through the streets of the old town (with a strawberry ice cream in hand, of course), and visited America’s oldest wooden schoolhouse (still standing from the early 1700s)! This little town was amazing, and if you’re in the area I highly recommend visiting!

florida sunset florida sunset

Hawaii has some amazing sunsets, but there’s nothing quite like Florida sunsets. Every day, it started raining around 3pm and when the skies broke around the sunset, it was magical. (Also, if you go to Sonic, go during their Happy Hour time and get the peanut butter oreo shake – you’re welcome 😉)

ron jon cocoa beach cocoa beach

Cocoa Beach is one of the cutest little beach towns, and visiting the Ron Jon shop was such a blast! I love all the colors here, they make me so happy.

florida german restaurant florida restaurants

I felt very fortunate to be able to spend my dad’s birthday and Father’s Day with both my dad and grandfather this year. We went out to a German restaurant (their favorite food!)

florida oranges

This first taste of life on the road was sweet, and I’m looking forward to all the adventures that are to come! (Look out for Part 2 of this post soon! 😊)

Florida | St. Augustine, Cocoa Beach & getting ready for life on the road! (Part 1)