“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller
Last year was the one in which I finally finished my five-year stint living, working and studying in Asia and returned to the United States. The year has been a good one filled with lots of weekend trips, camping and hiking. It has been one of beautiful places, high mountains, beaches and deserts.
The first few months of the year were also the end of my time in South Korea. I spent them working much more than full time in an effort to save up money for my return to the United States, trying to stay warm in the frigid Seoul winter and enjoying the little remaining time with my friends there.
In March, I returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles to begin the next stage of my life. Continuing to teach Koreans here has made for an easy transition back to life in America. The superb weather and enormous variety in natural scenery and outdoor activities in the area have helped!
In May, I traveled to Michigan to visit my friend Laura, whom I had met in Korea. She had returned to the United States a few months before me and was itching for a little road trip, so I joined her. We spent a week traveling around the Great Lakes of Michigan, camping, hiking and catching up.
In June, I settled back in Los Angeles and began to explore the city and surrounding area. The city itself appears to be nothing special at first and has a notable negative reputation for sprawl, traffic and strip malls. All of these things are true, but as time passes, the charms of the city come out. There is of course the marvelous weather as well as the slow pace of life and of course, the abundant nature from mountains to desert to beaches.
For my birthday, we ventured to San Francisco for a few days. It is one of those cities I had always wanted to see and it didn’t disappoint. The weather, the natural setting and the history all come together to form a nearly perfect setting. The architecture, food, vibe, sea, hiking and opportunities for taking photos abound!
August meant heat and weekends at the beach. Santa Monica, Malibu and locales south of Los Angeles make for the perfect getaway from the sometimes overheated Los Angeles Basin during this dry month.
November was a month full of weekend camping trips and a road trip to Death Valley, Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. The desert landscape of Death Valley is truly amazing and Las Vegas was a fun adventure for a day trip.
December brought winter hiking in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles as well as nice cool beach walks and chilly night weather at home with a fire. The Angeles Crest Highway, the Pacific Coast Highway and Palos Verdes are all locations nearby, which provide breathtaking scenery perfect for winter.