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!

Ooooh…

Aaaaahhh…

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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Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low…

… that I won’t try to climb on top of or crawl under! 😀

This impromptu Sunday Funday included an adventure at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY, which reminded me a bit of the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter due to the many different activities you can do. 

Want to get married? You can do that.

Not getting married or invited to the wedding but still want to be a part of it? You can do that too. There are various stone cottages and treehouses type of thing that would allow this.

No one will ever know you’re watching!

Want to just sit in a gazebo and enjoy the view? ‘Tis possible.

Want to stop and smell the roses? Done.

But the best part was going through the labyrinth. Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the actual “obstacles” within the labyrinth since I was, well, going through them, but it consisted of climbing over rocks, going through tight spaces, climbing ladders, and yelling, “parkour!” with every attempted leap. It was SO much fun! Not to mention incredibly beautiful.

At the end of the labyrinth is this section called “Lemon Squeeze” where the labyrinth makes lemonade out of you, especially at the end of it.

Here I am, about to become lemonade. What chu know bout that lemonade, Beyonce?? (Just kidding, I love you, I’m a huge fan)

After becoming lemonade, you are greeted with the most amazing view, complete with scary ledges that I sat at the edge of because… I’m old enough to know better but young enough to do it anyway.

I didn’t know what vertigo felt like until I looked down at my feet…

…but if I just leaned back, put my arms behind my head, and relaxed, I found that it was actually quite comfortable!

Here’s a better perspective on how far up that ledge was.

Yup, we’re crazy. 😀

It was truly such a beautiful day and I’m so glad they invited me to this impromptu Sunday Funday. I will definitely have to come back some time.


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Impromptu adventure, ey?

Last Friday I received an email about discounted hotel rates for Niagara Falls. Since I was feeling sorry for myself that day due to my current gimp status (bum knee) I decided it was a sign to go off on an adventure and remember how blessed I actually am. I would’ve loved to make it a weekend adventure but I had another event I needed to go to on Saturday afternoon so I couldn’t make that happen. Besides, there’s something really fun about spontaneous day trips with no planning other than a destination in mind.

As it turned out another friend of mine was also free for an impromptu day trip to Niagara Falls the next day so Sunday Funday it was!

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Woo!! New adventure buddy!

I had been to Niagara Falls a couple years ago with my parents and at the time many of my friends were insisting that the Canadian side was so much better. I couldn’t imagine that being possible given how awed I felt seeing the Niagara Falls on the American side and going on Maid of the Mists but after this weekend, yeah, I’d have to agree.

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These pictures don’t do it justice AT ALL. The enormity of it and just the sound of the water rushing down really shows how miniscule we are in the face of nature and in the grand scheme of things. As in if we fell into the water, nature will not stop. It will not care. We would just get swept away and life will move on as if it never happened. So why care about the little things? I may have a bum knee but I can still walk and this is only temporary. People may annoy me on a regular basis but those same people, one-on-one, may be the perfect companion at the right time. Someone may have hurt me and chipped away at my friendship piece by small piece but maybe that same someone just needed time to grow, and maybe the potential I saw will come into fruition given time.

I’ve started realizing recently that my black and white approach may have been necessary for self-preservation in my younger years, but I think it’s time for me to learn patience and forgiveness now that I know myself better and can see beyond specific moments. I used to let the little things bother me and was unable to see beyond that. Not to say they don’t bother me now, they definitely still do, but now I try to think about the circumstances in which these moments happened. Is this person going through something? Did I just misunderstand what was said? Does this person know how upsetting it is to me? Is it worth my time and energy to let it bother me? Basically, I try to build context around it. And when my emotions take over me and I can’t seem to see beyond my feelings, I am now able to reach out to my friends who help guide me when I see red.

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I have by no means perfected this but I think my self-awareness and conscious decision to do this every time someone or something upsets me will be extremely beneficial in the long run.

If this is thirty, I’m so ready!

…but thirty year olds can still goof off right?

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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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A walk amongst the cherry blossoms

I was surprised to find that I had Good Friday off and so me being the adventure-loving person that I am, I decided to take advantage of this unexpected 3 day weekend and visit some friends in Washington D.C. It turns out my timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Cherry blossoms usually don’t bloom until April but since DC knew I was coming, the cherry blossom trees decided to bloom early this year. Just for me. 😉

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Surrounded by beauty, I couldn’t help but pose amongst the beautiful cherry blossom trees while the wind gently blew through my hair.

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It was also a delightfully sunny day, something I totally took for granted when I lived in California but have since learned to love and appreciate.

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Other adventures of that weekend included a visit to the Smithsonian Space and Air Museum,

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eating and shopping at the Eastern Market,

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and my favorite part, trying to find the entrance to this Speak Easy bar that I will not name, not because there’s a specific rule to only spread by word of mouth, but because my memory sucks and I can’t remember what it’s called. My friend knew where the entrance was so she made me look for it. She was pretty good about not giving me any hints, until I asked her if the entrance was through a dark alley. Apparently risking our safety for a little bit of fun at my expense was where she drew the line.

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It turns out there was a really cool bar behind that unassuming looking door. It was a cozy bar with low lighting and was surprisingly quiet, as in we didn’t have to shout to have a conversation. We ordered fancy drinks, caught up on each other’s lives, and played the “I wonder where we’ll be in one year” game (only one year as opposed to five because I can’t even think beyond a year anymore lol).

It was a wonderful trip, especially because I was able to catch up with two friends who I haven’t seen in at least four years, if not more. I am not bffs with either of these two friends but we do have the type of friendship where we could go years without seeing each other and pick up right where we left off. I’m glad I was finally able to see them now that I am also on the east coast.

Well, DC, it’s been fun. Until next time!

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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.