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

Heading East | Snow in September, Dinosaurs and John Mayer’s House

My Great American Road Trip is heading east! In a little less than a week’s time, I made it from Oregon, to Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, to Missouri where I’ll be for a week! It was a crazy few days. I saw snow in September, a man walking a dinosaur, and drove through John Mayer’s home in Paradise Valley (which was a DREAM come true).

Here’s some bits and pieces of what I saw on my journey back east! Check out the rest of my Travel posts to catch up! 🚙

portland highway portland oregon skyline

Leaving Portland was a wild ride. When I first crossed into Oregon, I felt in my heart that I was going to make it my home right then and there. But as time went on, I flew to Nashville for business, I had some conversations with the Big Guy upstairs, and had many heart-to-hearts with myself in the shower, and then felt that maybe it’s not time to settle down yet. So onward and upward. A traveler’s life for me (for now, anyway).

idaho in fall idaho wilderness idaho in fall idaho in fall

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

– William Cullen Bryant

hot chocolate in mug

campfire in the woods road trip in van

Scenes from a campsite. Have you ever seen anything more “campy” than hot chocolate, a campfire, and bumper stickers on a van? 🌲

jasmine eclipse jasmine eclipse

Feeling like sunshine lately. I’ve been drinking tea instead of coffee, because it’s so much better for my heart, anxiety, and stomach! Letting myself sit in the sun and just be still. I have been reading and writing—two things I could never live without. Keeping a great balance on my work. Working enough to stay busy and make a “living,” but saying “no” when it gets to be too much. And I’ve been increasing my patience and decreasing my worry-wart syndrome.

I’m just a ray of sunshine these days, and I’m proud of my progress. Only love and light in this heart of mine! 🌼

road trip reading

You’re lovely, you’re lovely, you’re lovely. Don’t let yourself forget it.

montana sunset montana sunset

This night, the sky was gorgeous. It was a gloomy day, and then out of nowhere the skies lit up with the most beautiful orange, pink and purple hues. After the sun exploded the sky, the world became a dim violet and then quietly turned into night.

Then, a deer jumped in front of the truck, wrecking the front bumper and trailer. Luckily, that was the only damage, but it was an eye-opener for sure!

yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana yellowstone river montana

Spent time daydreaming here on the shores of the Yellowstone River in Montana. I was very happy on this day 😊

Also, I have to mention that I drove through Paradise Valley, which is where John Mayer got his inspiration for his titled album (and he also has a home there!). Before you ask: Yes, all I listened to while driving through Montana was John Mayer. It was a pretty magical moment for this super fan 🤷🏼‍♀️

south dakota border sign idaho autumn sunset badlands montana south dakota dinosaur

This view will always make me weak in the knees. I love the pale blue sky, the rocks, the desert-scape, the browns that never seem to blend together. I could live in the desert.

When South Dakota comes to mind, what do you think of? For me, I always thought I’d never go there. But once I was there, I realized how much I would’ve missed out on if I hadn’t driven through. There’s actually so much to see! If you love quirky roadside attractions, this is the place, let me tell ya.

Also, I’m pretty sure South Dakota is home to 98% of America’s sunflowers. There were fields for miles and miles!

mount rushmore in snow south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september south dakota snow in september

Then… it snowed. In September! I literally went from 70 degrees and sunny to 30 degrees and freezing in an hour. It’s amazing how the world works like that. I loved it and I had a blast in the snow (which I hadn’t felt since I was back in Canada! 😳), but I’m not ready for winter quite yet. I want autumn forever!

What’s the weather like where you are? Is it getting cold yet? Are you excited for fall and the holidays? 😊

Heading East | Snow in September, Dinosaurs and John Mayer’s House

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! 😍

RV in seattle jasmine eclipse jasmine eclipse

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

A Life on the Road | Leaving comfort behind for a life of exploring and discovering

If you had met me a few years ago, I would have told you that having a secure, stable job, a home, and a routine were the most important things in life. I’ve grown since then. I’ve gone down that path and I’ve realized that following a structure like that only led me to being unhappy. I was secure and safe, yes. I was able to pay my bills and I always had food to eat and a roof over my head. But after I got it all, I found that I was still lacking something – true happiness and freedom.

After all my searching, I was still lost.

I thought that once I got that job, furnished that home, and found that person – I would be happy and complete. I thought that’s what life was supposed to be. But I was wrong.

I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to love and be loved – but I came to realize that as long as I neglected myself, I would never find true happiness.

So, I left everything I knew. I came back to Hawaii, a place I find comfort in. For the last 8 months, I’ve been working on myself every single day. I’ve been focusing on my heart, mind, soul, and body. I’m happy. I’m strong. I’m confident. Months ago, I was a wreck, I was unsure, I felt hopeless and lost. Now, when I think of my past, I don’t shatter into a million pieces – I am able to realize the growth and the lessons, and I give thanks to my past.

I figured life out (I think)

After the last few months – painful heartache, a nuclear missile threat, volcano eruptions, and many other life changes – I’ve realized what is important to me. (Yes, it took alllll of that for me to come to my grand realization)

Life is not about getting the structure and stability that comes with a job, house and security. Don’t get me wrong, those things are nice and a necessity to a certain extent – but they are not what life is all about! (at least, not to me anyway).

Here is an equation that has helped me make my decision to live life on the road:

Life = Short

Earth = Big

What does that leave me with? Obviously, traveling as much as I can right now to see as much as I can and experience everything while I still can.

So that’s what I’m doing.

A life on the road | How, where, when

There is way too much to see in this life to be stuck behind a desk. This world is waiting for me to embrace it, so embrace it I will!

Later this week, I will be flying to the east coast, and that’s where my adventure will begin.

I’ll be visiting every US state, every National Park, roadside attraction and of course… the UFOs!

There’s no end destination or date, I’ll just be traveling around as long as I please or until I’ve found a place I’ve fallen in love with enough to settle down (whichever comes first!)


I’m excited for this, I’m excited to see a new place every day, experience something new, breathe in new surroundings, meet new people, and become fully engulfed in discovering more and more of myself.

I hope you come along for the ride ❤

A Life on the Road | Leaving comfort behind for a life of exploring and discovering

Life Lately: Two more months left in Hawaii!

Life has been pretty busy and fast-paced lately, but it’s good. So, so good.

If you read my last post, I’ve been here in Hawaii for 6 months now, which I still can’t grasp. Time FLIES. And it hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Here’s what life has been looking like lately.

I had the flu and it rained for about two solid weeks, so I was cooped up inside for a while. The last few days have been gorgeous, and I finally got out, laid in the sun and remembered just how beautiful this world is.

My work schedule is pretty crazy, so I barely get out and explore Hawaii these days. But since I only have two months left here, I want to prioritize exploring because I know I’m going to miss this island so much once I board that plane.

This past weekend was full of self-care and relaxation, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I started (and finished) Big Little Lies and Santa Clarita Diet, and both series were amazing! I slowed down after a busy week with work, took bubble baths, started a new yoga flow and bought some new books.

Here are some of my favorite books, but do you want me to share the books I’m currently reading? 

Also, since I finished both shows… I need new show/movie recommendations!

I just want to talk about my work for a second. I wake up at 3am because I work east coast hours, I typically work 10 hour days and work often runs into my weekend. I juggle tons of different tasks, I’m always on the phone, in meetings or putting fires out. But I love what I do. I actually find myself going to sleep excited to wake up in the morning to start another day of work, because I’m that passionate about our mission and I love my team. For the first time in my career, I feel like I truly belong somewhere and like I’m needed.

It’s sunflower time on Maui! There is a huge field in the middle of the island dedicated to harvesting sunflower oil for alternative fuel, and the flowers have started blooming again. It’s such a beautiful thing to see. It makes me so happy when I drive by it!

This huge map is taped up on the wall, and every morning when I walk by it I get more and more excited for my grand adventure. The goal is to leave the islands in June, which gives me two months to plan and pack. I will be writing a completely separate post on this adventure, because it’s that huge.

But in the meantime, what are some of your favorite places in America? 🙂

Life Lately: Two more months left in Hawaii!

Visiting Las Vegas in the Winter

I recently came back from a quick trip to Arizona and Las Vegas. It was one of the most incredible weeks I’ve ever spent, and it was definitely a much-needed vacation. Plus, visiting Las vegas during the winter time is such a different experience than visiting during warmer months. I’m not sure what it is… But Las Vegas in January is my favorite Las Vegas.

And before you ask: Yes, people were still half-naked walking down the strip in 30-40 degree weather. But hey, it’s Vegas.

I ate… a lot… during this trip… I easily gained 10 pounds (at least). But it was well worth it!

Just a hunk ‘o burnin’ (wax) 😉

This was one of the best trips I’ve taken. Between driving through the desert in Arizona and walking down the Las Vegas strip, I’ve never felt so alive.

I needed this trip to reset and step back from my life to look at it from a different perspective.

I left a piece of my soul there in the desert, and I can’t wait to go back. ❤️

Visiting Las Vegas in the Winter

Driving through the Arizona desert

I recently drove through the Arizona desert, and I fell in love. I’ve been dreaming of deserts, cacti, quirky roadside attractions and friendly in-the-middle-of-nowhere gas stations – and this trip was everything I wanted and more.

There’s just something about driving through the desert. It feels warm even though it’s the dead of winter. It feel familiar even though I’ve never been here. There’s something about it, and I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.

Here are my favorite photos from my trek through the Arizona desert. I left a piece of my soul there, and I can’t wait to go back.

Have you ever been to a place and felt like you’ve been there before? Or felt like if you were stranded there, you’d be able to make it “home” quickly? If you ever drive Route 66, stop in this town (and specifically, this diner). I don’t remember the name, but I do remember the waiter, the good food, the comfy atmosphere, the streets lined with lights, light dusting of snow that made the town look frosty (not overtly cold), and the strikingly out of place familiarity.

I visited the Grand Canyon when I was a baby, but I don’t remember it – I only have photos. When I visited on this trip, I cried. It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen. Our world is so beautiful. When I visit places like this, it always seems so silly to get so overworked and overwhelmed over little mundane  things when magnificent places like this exist. Sure, the world can be scary, and wars happen, and terror seems to be everywhere. But beauty and life also exists – and in my experience, love and beauty trumps all. Go out and explore your world, we’re so lucky to be on this planet.


Have you ever been to Arizona, the Grand Canyon or an amazing diner in the middle of nowhere? I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

Driving through the Arizona desert

Halloween at Disneyland

I grew up in LA, so it will always have a special place in my heart. There’s nothing quite like going back to a familiar place, seeing your old friends and family, and reminiscing on good times. And in my most recent trip to the City of Angels, I did just that.

After I left Canada, I needed some girl time and something to make me happy… What better way to do that than at Disneyland?! Plus, it was all decorated for my favorite time of year: Halloween!

It’s true what they say: Disneyland is the happiest place on earth! And I had the best time with my two favorite girls in the world.

What’s your favorite thing about Disneyland? ❤️

Halloween at Disneyland

Last Days in Canada

Three weeks ago, I decided to leave the home and life I made myself in Canada. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, and it was really rough on me. Luckily, friends from work were there for me, friends from college kept me company on the phone, and my mom flew up to help me pack up and move.

Here are some photos from my last moments in Canada – a place I was lucky to call home for even a short while.

Canada, I’ll never forget you and all the lessons you taught me.

Last Days in Canada

Fall in Canada

Last year, I moved to Canada and I experienced my first Canadian Fall! It was beautiful and vibrant and everything I hoped Fall could be. When I was living in DC and Oregon, I experienced Fall, but it was nothing like this. The trees and skies in Canada were so bright and colorful, and completely unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.

This year, I’m missing Fall because I’m living in Hawaii (we don’t have the 4 seasons here). So I’ll be relying heavily on social media pictures to fuel my need for Fall! Until then, I’ll be reminiscing one of the most beautiful seasons through these photos. Enjoy!

Fall in Canada