Exactly half a year ago, I took a one-way flight from Hawaii, born and raised, to southern California. Absolutely no regrets. Every day of work in the software engineering field has been challenging yet stimulating, and every weekend has been filled with new adventures every time in the third largest state in the nation. Knowing no one as I arrived, yet still being the closest I could be to back home, both distance and culture wise, living in San Diego has had the perfect blend of excitement and comfort every single day.
Exploring the world should be the number one priority for anyone and everyone! From exploring your neighborhood to flying across the world, everything novel that we come across simply makes our lives that much more fulfilling.
So from my half year of being out of my hometown, I’ve come up with this list of (ignoring the obvious stuff like visiting all the states) what I eventually want to (and actually can!) accomplish, hopefully as soon as within the next five to ten years!
Multi-State and Multi-Country Flights
Ideally each trip (from leaving to returning home) would last a month or two, but given the full-time work cycle, that’s basically out of the question unless if you’re fortunate enough to work remotely or are living the entrepreneurial lifestyle. But if I wanted to make the most of my vacation days (and get the most bang per buck per city!), this seems like such an exciting idea, exploring a city for two to three days then immediately jumping onto a new plane to a brand new destination, not quite yet returning home.
Catch the Train Around and Across the Nation
Riding an airplane for the first time is an amazing feel. You’d never have thought of seeing over the clouds, several miles above the ground. All the buildings are ants, and a clear atmospheric blue surrounds you for the next several hours. Unfortunately, that feeling dies out pretty quickly, and then people just start complaining about how tight their seats are, haha.
I feel like catching the train will give a similar, if not better experience. Going straight from California to Chicago through the Amtrak’s California Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, or Texas Eagle in the span of two to three days with new sights after every hour in my mind would be such an exhilarating experience. Since the trip is much longer than your typical flight, you’ll probably get comfortable on the train and make a few new friends as well, sharing experiences and seeing why they’re undergoing the same trip themselves. Reward yourself (as if the sightseeing of the entire nation wasn’t enough) with a day or two at your destination, and spend the next two to three days taking an alternate route back home, or even taking more train rides to the Northeast or Northwest!
Running has been one of my main forms of exercise, and what bigger motivator is there than to run in the most unique climate in the world? Training yourself to become stronger and enduring the cold, visiting all the icebergs and penguins along the way. It’s the ultimate goal of stepping out of your comfort zone, and it’s the ultimate combination of health, fitness, and exploration. All the people you’ll meet in the marathon – residents of all six continents meeting in the one where no one has ever really visited – will guarantee to have an amazing story to share as well.
Cruise Across the Seven Seas
This would probably just be a one-time thing, as you probably (as far as I know) won’t get much of a varying experience crossing a different ocean, barring the destination. But the amazing thought of life at sea, on a cruise, with sights of whales, dolphins, and who knows how many other creatures out there! Likewise with the train, the people you’ll meet and share the experience with will be one to cherish for a lifetime.
Smash and Travel
I went to my first international Super Smash Bros. (Wii U) tournament this past July 2015 in none other than Vegas. With a part of my Smash crew back from Hawaii joining me as we hadn’t seen each other in months, it was an exciting time to be reunite and to meet thousands of new faces from around the world. We all shared the same interest, so making friends has never been easier – and coming from a shy introvert, that means a lot! Ever since that tournament, I have never been more ecstatic to travel in the very near future just for this purpose, as often as my vacation days will allow me.
As much as I’d love to travel everywhere, I honestly don’t even have a single idea of what to check out if I were to actually go there. It kind of makes wanting to go there just another item on the list of states to visit to cross off, with no real intent otherwise. Smash has made me curious otherwise. If there’s a national tournament going on – ideally with at least 200 entrants! – I’d be interested in going, and I’d check out what’s around the area to make the most of my time there. I honestly did not even know what to check out in Vegas aside from gambling (which I never really did anyway because my Asian side would not allow me at all) before I got there. Once I booked my flight, man was I so excited! All the Cirque du Soleil shows, all the hotels, all the food, even just the sheer extreme culture of Vegas in general.
From that one experience, I’m truly wishing to travel out of state to as many (inter)national tournaments as I can. Explore a new culture, mentally challenge myself by placing well in the tournament, meet people from around the nation and/or world – it’s a wonderful dream that can so easily become a reality. There’s no doubt as to why I saved this bullet for last.
Save up and explore! You’ll have amazing experiences and stories to share, and your future self will thank you for it.