Travelogue (VI)

Hello again! I meant to attend to my blog sooner, but I have been busy catching up with work and other things after those busy trips in February. And my ‘milestone’ birthday came and went before I even got a chance to properly reflect! Oh well. Life is still good and I am still young. 🙂

After reading my travelogues, a few friends commented that they wish there were more photos and details from each place. Yes, I definitely plan to write about selected places, right after I am done with the lists. You see, ‘overview first, details on demand’ is a mantra in information visualization. 🙂

2011

I went to New York City 14 times this year – made it to Silver/Gold/Premier/Select status in a couple of hotel chains, United Airlines and Amtrak. 🙂 Also discovered the Hell’s Kitchen area, which was one of the reasons why I gained so much weight. 😦 Other trips include –

  • Spent a weekend in Atlanta, mainly to see the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest exhibit with a huge 6.3 million-gallon-water tank accomodating several whale sharks. It was very cool.
  • Another road trip to New England. Stayed for a few days in Maine – Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, followed by a drive to Cape Cod.
  • October was almost as crazy as my recent back-to-back flights – I spent the first week in New York City, second week in London, third week in Washington DC, and fourth week in Beijing. 🙂 No new places or experiences though.
  • Asia trip – visited my family in Beijing and saw the Great Wall again. I also went to Shanghai on China’s new speed train (300+ km/h), and Xi’An to see Terra Cotta Warriors. Then spent a few days in Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. I was very impressed with how polite and efficient Japanese were, and their wonderful train system, including Shinkansen. I was excited to see Geishas wandering on the street of Kyoto, and a glimpse of Mount Fuji from the airplane.

I started this post planning to include 2011-2013 altogether. But now I realize 2012 was sort of complicated, and including two more years would make this post too long. So the lazy me decided to do only one year at a time. Hope you don’t mind! Till next time…

Travelogue (III)

Bitterly cold outside. A few inches of snow on the deck. I switch between typing on my laptop and holding a mug of hot tea. As usual, recalling the past times and amazing places and old friends and fun stories puts a smile on my face.

2003 – I went on a business trip to Kansas City, MO. At my colleague’s suggestion, we flew with Midwest Airlines and got quite a few pleasant surprises. Once there, we crossed the MO/KS state line multiple times to commute between offices. Throughout the year I made a few trips to Seattle, during one of which I visited Olympics National Park and had such a wonderful time – snow-capped mountains, beach, and rain forest, all in one park.

2004 – Another 3000-mile road trip from Seattle to Washington, DC. On the way I visited Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park (so foggy that I only saw the feet of the mountains), Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Chicago (heavy rain again so I still didn’t see much), and Pittsburgh. A trip to San Francisco (again) for a church retreat at the end of the year.

2005 – A China trip immediately after receiving my Green Card (saw my 3-year-old niece for the first time). A short visit to Detroit and Ann Arbor in July. Joint Statistical Meetings in Minneapolis in August. Then two road trips – to Boston in November (got my first and only speeding ticket in the morning of the Thanksgiving Day), and to St. Louis and Kansas City in December. These trips were very different in terms of purposes and people involved, but each was fun in its own way.

Okay, that is enough travel for today. The next travelogue will start with my road trip in Canada. Stay tuned. 🙂

Travelogue (I)

In the spring of 1974, I was born in Changchun, a city in northeastern China, thus began my journey on earth. I have no recollection of my first trip since I was no more than 1 year old. My mom brought me to Beijing to see my grandparents (or rather, to let them see me). For the first 19 years of my life, Beijing was the only other place I had been to (several times) besides my hometown. Somehow I decided to make ‘traveling around the world’ as a life goal.

During my years in graduate school (1993-1996), I visited Haerbin, Shenyang and Qinhuangdao in several separate short trips. I saw ocean for the first time in 1994, and it was a hilarious experience. The Great Wall was crossed off my list in early 1997. Needless to say, I was very excited to finally stand/walk on this famous wall. Unfortunately the film in the camera was accidentally exposed thus there was no photo proof that I had been there.

In the summer of 1997, I came to the United States – the other side of the earth. The first US city I set my feet on was Anchorage, Alaska. I was awed by the marvelous snow mountain view (seen from above). Many hours later, the bright night sky of New York City welcomed me. My first travel by air was pleasant enough, although very long: 20+ hours, I think.

I am glad to report that I haven’t wasted my time ever since. Not a year went by that I didn’t travel somewhere. Some trips were for work/conferences, most trips were for fun; some trips were short weekend get-aways, while others were fairly long road trips. I enjoy both natural beauty and city culture, and I love watching people. Will definitely keep traveling as long as I am able to.

I plan to do a series of ‘Travelogues’ to briefly list the places I visited, with each post covering a few years. Also perhaps write up stories for selected points of interest. Stay tuned and check back often. 🙂