They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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Hiking is my therapy

“Hey, it’s supposed to be beautiful out this weekend. Care to join us for a hike?”

“I’m in town today! Free for dinner?”

“I have dinner plans in the evening so I can’t go hiking with you guys during the day…because, you know, timing…” …That doesn’t even sound convincing to ME…

“Errr…I would go but…I already made plans with my cats.” No, that’s not an acceptable answer.

“I’ll have to pass, but next time for sure!” There! Vague, but polite. Just make sure not to post pictures from my solo hike on the same day they went hiking and no ‘solo dinner, finally!’ type of posts either…

It’s still a struggle for me sometimes to say no to people I usually love spending time with without feeling guilty. I know it’s a cliche but really…

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The things is, I’m known for my need for alone time, my preference for doing things alone, and my love of staying at home in my lion onesie while hanging out with my cats. And yet…I still feel bad for saying no, especially when I intend to do the same activity I’m being invited to. Perhaps with time I will learn not to feel guilty for doing what I need to in order to recharge but for now…vague responses and setting a separate time to hang out it is!

Guilty or not I did end up pretty much not talking to anyone I know that weekend and it was exactly what I needed. First of all, it was an incredibly beautiful weekend due to the unusual occurrence of gorgeous autumn colors coupled with summer weather. Think fall foliage with 70 to 80 degrees F temperature. YES.

Thank you, Google Photos for this awesome stylized photo! (original wasn’t this cool)

Second, with the election going on and people commenting on the election on social media in ways that I feel are not conducive to intellectual and meaningful discussions, my social capacity bucket has been near empty pretty much everyday. Did someone poke a hole in it when I wasn’t looking? Because lately my inner grumpy cat has come out and I’m annoyed with everyone. Well, not everyone per se. Just certain types of people.

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This is not like me. I do enjoy being alone and I particularly love going on hikes by myself but spending time with those I consider my good friends usually makes me happy. But, unlike me or not it was clear to me that I needed to clear my head and so I pushed the guilt aside and went hiking. The day before I went to Sugar Hill State Park  in Watkins Glen, NY and this time I decided to check out Salt Springs State Park in Montrose, PA. I didn’t realize the food connection until just now lol! I guess I decided to go somewhere sweet since I was feeling salty. Pa dum ching! 😄

Salt Springs State Park is not actually maintained by the state contrary to what the name implies. It is, however maintained. What that means is there are marked trails and maps and everything!

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Even though the trails were marked, the path itself wasn’t as well maintained as state maintained parks, which means it looks really pretty with all the leaves on the ground!

It also means you have no idea what you’re possibly stepping on, as I came to find out when something jumped out from under my feet.

I’m very glad I stayed true to myself and went in anti-social mode this weekend because at the end of the weekend I felt more like myself again. Nature tends to have that effect on me. How could it not?

I was happy, my mind was quiet, and I felt excited about life again, even though Monday was fast approaching.

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Hiking is my therapy and I am very grateful to live in an area full of beautiful trails.


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Releasing my inner #basic

It’s fall season! That means it’s time for sugar and pumpkin spice and everything nice! Leggings and sweaters and fuggs (fake uggs) and pumpkin spice latte and my favorite…the fall foliage!

Yaaas! Look at ALL the trees!

Take all the pictures!

Even if you know the pictures will end up looking the same, take more pictures anyway!

Being from LA I had no idea what a true fall looked like. I mean, the leaves back home changed color too but they mostly just turned brown before dying. We did not have this explosion of colors that look almost fake in its brilliance.

I mean, just look at that! Doesn’t it look fake? Heavily filtered? Something out of a fantasy video game?

Pardon my excessive enthusiasm but I just can’t help it. Fall seems to get me every time.

Tired of looking at trees yet? Come on, just one more.

Oh come on. One more won’t hurt. Just the tip (of the tree, that is. Stop that dirty mind!).

Oh but right. Details. Where was I? I was in Sugar Hill State Forest Park in Watkins Glen, NY, a park that along with hiking trails also has horse trails and a cool fire tower. 

I thought you would be able to go all the way to the top where that enclosed shed looking thing is in the picture. Unfortunately, there was a locked shut trapdoor (that I almost walked into) on the last flight of stairs. Oh well. Maybe next time it’ll be open. 

This is the first state park that didn’t have any paper maps available. It’s also the first state park I’ve been to where I didn’t have to pay for parking so I’ll take it! But they did have this cool map:

I made sure to take this picture prior to my hike so I could follow the right trail (I didn’t follow the right trail) and so that I didn’t get lost this time (I got lost).

It was a very short hike (because I went the wrong way) but it was still exactly what I needed. It was such a beautiful day. Perfect for just being in the moment and getting away from everything else. I ended my day with a cup of hot mulled cider, and by cup I mean ginormous mug.

Just kidding. My day didn’t actually end there. It was a friend’s birthday party so I went out afterwards.

I know, I know. My face looks really different when I actually do something to it, right? 😀 

Today was actually a very good day. It was a great combination of enjoying my solitude on a beautiful day and having a blast at night with some good company. My favorite kind of day. 

Balance is key.


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Skinny Atlas

What is a Skinny Atlas?you may be thinking. “How does such a young girl even know what an atlas is?” was probably your next thought. (Like, ohemgee, thanks!)

Skinny Atlas is what I remember in order to pronounce Skaneateles correctly. Then when I try to spell it, I pronounce it as Skay-knee-ah-teh-lees. Why the strange spelling and pronunciation? Because it’s a Native American word just like Tongue Can Nick Falls, which is what I remember in order to pronounce Taughannock Falls correctly, pronounced as Tuh-han-nok in order to spell correctly.

What’s so special about Skinny Atlas? It’s freaking beautiful, that’s what.

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Look at how clear the water is.

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I made a day trip here during Memorial Day, which ended up being a beautiful day just like last year.

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For the most part, I hung out at Clift Park, which was right by the water.

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I also walked around and found this cool fishing area.

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Other activities included eating, reading, and daydreaming, my three favorite hobbies! Oh, and I’m pretty sure I took a nap at the park at some point, if the drool on my shirt was any indication…I couldn’t help it, it felt so good basking in the sun!

All in all it was a very beautiful day and just exactly the kind of day I was looking for. Have I mentioned how glad I am to have moved here? 🙂


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Hey there, Philly!

Last Thursday I felt this sudden urge to go out of town this weekend. With such a last minute urge I couldn’t really go very far without shelling out some big bucks but fortunately I now live on the east coast so even without traveling very far I’ve got plenty of options!

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Yay options!

Normally, my default is to go down to the city but since I spent New Year’s eve there I wanted to go somewhere different. Where to go, where to go…

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I thought about going to Niagara Falls just so I can see it at night with all the pretty lights on, but I also wanted to see it while it was frozen over. Since it’s been warm here lately, it wasn’t frozen over so I decided against making a trip there just yet. I also thought about opening a map and just picking a random city, but given I had about a day to find a reasonably priced place to stay and the fact that I tend to go in a wormhole when researching something, I decided to reach out to a friend for suggestions. She suggested either Philadelphia or Rochester, both of which are about 3 hours away albeit in opposite directions. Well, I had never been to Philly so I decided to go there! Woohoo! Location picked!

Hello, Philly!

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After navigating the busy and confusing streets of Center City, I parked my car at the Loews Hotel, a pretty swanky, centrally located hotel that offered hot chocolate the night I checked in.

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The first night I didn’t do anything exciting other than order an elk burger (I’ve never had elk!) and enjoy a free beer float sample from Bareburger. I don’t even have any pictures because I was talking to people at the time and I felt ashamed of my typical tendency to take a picture of everything. Besides, I didn’t want to end up on the Pictures of Asians Taking Pictures of Food

The next day though I was all sorts of ready!

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Real talk though, I really took this picture because my hair looked all sorts of fly that day! See! Even this sign agreed with me!

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I started the morning off at Plenty Cafe, a cozy and quiet cafe that I probably would have frequented had I lived in the area. The coffee was pretty freakin’ good and so was the food. (Also, did I mention my hair looked great that day? :P)

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I had to check out of the hotel after breakfast and I guess it was so energy consuming that I was hungry again by the time I was done, so I decided to check out Reading Terminal Market (pronounced “Redding,” which I had no idea until I was corrected the previous night…).

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After perusing the goods, purchasing an almond croissant and butterfinger flavored coffee, and then getting caught trying to take a picture of said uniquely flavored coffee (dang it!), I decided to burn off the calories and walked over to the Independence Hall.

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Tickets are not required during this time of year (woohoo! I love freebies!!) so I got to enjoy a 30 minute tour of the original courtroom of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Assembly Room.

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Courtroom of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

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Assembly Room

Within the vicinity of the Independence Hall was Washington Park and Jeweller’s Row.

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I meandered aimlessly for a bit until I decided that it was time. Time to visit Rocky’s steps.

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I’m not going to lie though, I was more interested in visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art than the fact that these steps were in a famous movie…:P

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After exploring to my heart’s content I decided it was time to go home. The intent was to drive straight home from Philly but…I got hungry.

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Belly and adventurous spirit now satisfied, it was time to go home.

I’m not sure what prompts me to go on these solo trips, that sudden urge to get away from it all, but I do know I always look forward to coming home. Weekends like this make me really grateful and appreciative of the circumstances that led me here to middle-of-no-where Binghamton in the first place. If it wasn’t for that random assignment in a city I had never even heard of, I would have never known that I would love it here so much. I would have never met the wonderful people that I now consider close friends, I likely would not have thought to make this change in career path, and I would not have really gotten to know myself and realized how much I enjoy being alone. So for the people who told me I would hate it here because there’s nothing to do and no one to do it with, you can go and love yourself. Because I feel pretty damn happy and blessed to be here.


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That one time I went to Hartford, Connecticut

During Memorial day weekend my friends and I went to Hartford, Connecticut to watch the east coast CrossFit regionals. It was great to watch the amazing athletes (as always), hang out with my friends, and have some quality alone time when my friends left a day earlier than I did. Right before they left, they asked me if I knew what I was going to do by my lonesome self on Memorial day.

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Truthfully, given that I use my google calendar as an extension of my being in my day-to-day life, when it comes to vacations, I like to just go with the flow. Do what I feel like at that moment. Disconnect from the world, my calendar, and my usual list of things to do. Pretend like I’m not this uptight, schedule-driven, type A person for a temporary period of time and just let myself be. That day ended up being beautiful and sunny so I decided to hang out at the Elizabeth Park.

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The intent was to spend a couple hours at the park, walking leisurely through the beautiful grounds and perhaps spend half an hour or so reading whatever book I was engrossed in at that time then go explore some other cool spot in Hartford. I ended up spending the entire afternoon lying on my yoga mat at the park, basking in the sunlight and enjoying my book. Ah yes, one of the many perks of being alone is the ability to do exactly what you want to do (guilt-free!) even if it may seem lazy to others.


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When it snows during fall…

It has been six months to the day from when I first started my new job here in Binghamton. Six months! I cannot believe it has been that long already, yet it also feels like it’s been longer. Such a strange feeling knowing that at the beginning of the year I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going to end up, or even really what I wanted, and yet here I am now pretty flippin’ happy with where I am and what I’m doing. I am just so in love with life and just so incredibly happy. It’s such a cliche but I feel freer now that I’ve learned to let go of control when it comes to certain things in my life. Apparently, the more you try to control things the less control you actually have.

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And breathe I do, usually in the form of Sunday Funday alone time while hiking. This past Sunday I managed to make it out to Letchworth State Park, known as the Grand Canyon of the east according to my friends out here. I was hoping to still catch a glimpse of the fast falling orange and red leaves before winter comes and takes them all away. Instead I got lucky and got a taste of fall and winter in the same trip!

I “hiked” the Gorge trial, which is a 7 mile trail, one way. The reason I have “hike” in quotations is because I actually only did about 1 mile…round trip. Not that this was intentional! I actually wanted to hike a bit more but I couldn’t figure out where the trail continued…so I’ll have to do this again next time, but probably not until next year.

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I’m not sure if it’s apparent in the picture, but it was actually snowing! 😀

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Grey though it may have been, the colors were still INCREDIBLE!

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Eventually though the sun couldn’t help but peek its head out…and then out came a rainbow!

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Once I realized that I couldn’t figure out where the trail continued and saw that it was time to go home, I sadly had to backtrack.

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By car though, I managed to find where the trial continued so I know where to go next time! I also managed to catch this view before my drive home!

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Out of all the pictures I took that day though, this one below is by far my favorite. It is just SO BEAUTIFUL. 🙂

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A Sunday Kind of Love

A friend of mine sent me this article on the difference between soulmates and life partners and it totally resonated with me. Every relationship, situationship, whatever-it-was-tionship since my ex had been like fireworks. Brilliant, beautiful, extremely intense and all encompassing, then inevitably fizzing out. I saw this pattern in myself and after the last one I knew that no matter how good it felt at the time, how amazing the connection seemed to be, it just wasn’t sustainable and more importantly, at the end of the day, it’s not what I want to come home to. So I knew this, and in fact I’ve known this for some time now, but I hadn’t realized that although my mind understood this, some part of me still couldn’t let go.

Underneath the logic of my mind my heart was apparently still defining love as that all encompassing, passionate, you-know-my-soul kind of connection, I-just-met-you-but-I-feel-like-I’ve-known-you-forever type of feeling. The kind you see in movies and read in books but don’t think is actually possible…until you feel it and it’s like, oh shit, it’s totally possible, but now you’re crazy.

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What I thought I wanted, I actually had with The Man Who (Once) Made Me Crazy and even the one before him. I acknowledged they were a major part of my growth and got over them. But although I never really wanted to be with The Man Who (Once) Made Me Crazy after it didn’t work out, for some reason, he kept on resurfacing on my mind over, and overand overand over again. So then I would do a little stalking investigating and find that when I would see his pictures or read his posts I would feel…nothing. So WHY then, WHY was I so obsessed??

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It has been driving me nuts! But then I found out he got engaged and it forced me to really face it. So face it I did and as I was brushing my teeth and talking to myself about it, I had an epiphany! It actually had nothing to do with him, as a person, at all! I had been over him romantically the day I cried my eyes out from the airport. What it actually was, was my inability to let go of my idea of love. Every time I thought about him, what we had, or what could have been, I was really thinking about love and coming to terms with realizing it’s not what I actually want – well, at least not how I was defining it. And the real reason I was upset over his engagement wasn’t because I wanted to be the one engaged to him or even due to some petty wish that I would have gotten engaged first. As it turns out, the real reason I was upset was because with his now being unavailable, I was forced to let go of my idea of love. It wasn’t him I couldn’t get over; it was the love he represented in my mind.

Can I just say, the moment I realized this I suddenly felt so free! Like, seriously, it was as if I was carrying a burden this whole time and I finally realized I was carrying something I didn’t have to.

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Given that, I decided to contact him to say congratulations and to thank him for helping me grow as a person. I didn’t expect a reply but as it turns out he was really glad to hear from me and told me that I had also made a great impact in his life. That warmed my heart. When people tell me I’ve done or said something inspirational it means the world to me.

I am now at peace and just so, SO happy with my life. I have not yet found my Sunday kind of love (nor am I really looking), but for now, alone time Sunday is the love of my life. Have I mentioned how much I love upstate New York? 🙂

This past Sunday I went to Taughannock Falls and as usual, the greenery blew me away. Can’t wait to go back in the fall!

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And that, for now at least, is my Sunday kind of love. 😉