Hidden Gems of Washington, DC

Our group in a tuk-tuk at the Embassy of Bangaldesh

For the month of November, I’ll be participating in BootsnAll‘s Indie Travel Challenge.  Click here to go to the beginning.  In this post, I discuss one of the best hidden gems in my current city of residence – Washington, D.C.  No travel lover should miss this!

Tell us a place in your hometown, or in the town you’re in now, that you think more visitors should experience.

Washington, DC is an interesting city.  I definitely think people who are from this area take for granted the 20+ free Smithsonian museums, incredible monuments, and excellent day trips (some less than 1 hour from the city).  You don’t need a car to take advantage of all it has to offer, either.  If you’re considering adding Washington, DC to your United States itinerary, remember that the same museums would cost $20+ in any other city.  I’m happy to answer questions below, too, if you have them.

That being said, most visitors hit the same places ad nauseam – Smithsonian museums and art galleries, the city’s free zoo, monuments, tidal basin, White House, Capitol building.  Locals know the hidden gems.  I have a few favorites (Hillwood Estate, Glenstone in Potomac, MD, Great Falls National Park, Maine Ave Fish Market), but I really love Embassy Day.

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Learning from Long-term Travel

For the month of November, I’ll be participating in BootsnAll‘s Indie Travel Challenge.  Click here to go to the beginning.

I grew up in suburban America, descended from immigrants who came to this country to escape persecution and try their hand at the American Dream.  My great-grandmother came from Latvia, alone, with two silver spoons.  Sometimes I wonder about what that experience must have been like – she carried no possessions, came alone on a ship full of immigrants from around the world, to a place she had never been and couldn’t possibly imagine.

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Prioritizing Experiences & Eliminating Possessions

For the month of November, I’ll be participating in BootsnAll‘s Indie Travel Challenge.  Click here to go to the beginning.  Unlike some travel challenges, this isn’t just answering questions – as you’ll see below.

How is having experiences better than having possessions?

Experiences and possessions both bring joy, but in different ways.  Think back to childhood… perhaps there was a toy you’d always wanted (Skydancers anyone?), but after you finally got it, it was far less interesting.  During that same time, an experience – a trip to the beach, acting in the school play, your first concert – had all of the lead-up excitement and then continued to entertain afterwards.  I still feel a certain nostalgic happiness when I think back on some of my favorite experiential memories, yet I’m not as enamored when I think of once-treasured possessions.  In sum: despite all logic to the contrary, experiences last longer (in memory!).

That was easy.  Now to the more challenging part.

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Why I Travel

stmarkspigeon

BootsnAll, a favorite travel website of mine, is hosting an Indie Travel Challenge – starting today! I thought it’d be a great way to reflect on what travel means to me, and why it’s such an important part of my life.  On some days, I’ll be answering questions, and on others, I’ll have action items to complete.  It’s basically travel truth-or-dare.

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I’m baaaaaack!

Hi readers — welcome to the new blog!

You may have noticed a definite… lag… in posting frequency.  I already have a long list of trips to recap: Cambodia! Vietnam! Montreal! Colombia! Turkey! Utah!  Please add my new site to your blog roll, and look out for updates soon (I pinky swear).

Since late 2013, I’ve called Washington, DC home, and will probably also include updates from around the Mid-Atlantic region of the US.  Never fear – despite living back in my home country, my wanderlust is far from sated and I still seek out adventure where I can get it.  One more trip to Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia is currently planned, and a trip to the UK looms overhead.  Stay tuned!

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Final Days in Daegu

Two weeks before Andy and I left Korea, his friend Sam moved to Daegu.  It was kind of bittersweet since here was his friend he hadn’t seen in so long – in his city! – but we only had a two week ‘layover’ so to speak.  We showed him around a bit and had a few good days.

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Updates Coming Soon!

My dear readers, I am so sorry I’ve been neglecting you!!

My contract in Korea came to a bittersweet end in March.  It was very hard to leave the great life Andy and I built for ourselves in the ROK.  However, our leaving meant we could go on a 3 week vacation – wahoo! We backpacked through Cambodia and Vietnam, flying back to Korea for a final day and a half to collect our stuff.* Then we flew home and have been here ever since.  I am going to write a few proper blog posts to finish off the Korea chapter, don’t worry!

I’m still around to answer any questions or respond to comments.  My Geoje post is a regular hit it seems!

New posts coming soon… watch this space 🙂

*Super loud shout-out to Keir and Emily who kept our six GIANT suitcases in their small apartment for three weeks.   Amazing friends!

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Taejongdae Park

Understatement of the blog: winter in Korea is cold.  Really cold.  Hailing from the northern US, I thought I knew what cold was, but I had never really walked for long durations outside before.  We regularly get cold fronts from Siberia (it sounds like a joke, doesn’t it??) paired with icy winds.  Can you say brrrr?

Overlooking the pebble beach

Regardless, a little cold won’t stop me from enjoying all Korea has to offer. 

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Cat Cafe

One of the things I was most excited to try out in the ROK was a cat cafe.  Korea is home to all sorts of cafes – cats, dogs, even sheep! Some friends had been to one in Daegu, but didn’t recommend it.  Keeping that in mind, I looked up a nice one in Seoul and Andy and I went back in December.

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