Rhode Island Photo Gallery


At the beginning of July, my family and I took a weeklong vacation to Rhode Island, Newport in particular. I had an amazing time visiting the harbor, taking part in festivals, and swimming in the ocean, among many other adventures. Below, I’ve compiled several galleries of photos surrounding my favorite parts of the trip. For further details, many photos have attached captions for you to read.

Continue reading “Rhode Island Photo Gallery”

Cross Country Travel Tips

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Good morning!

Back in July, I promised one more special post about my Cross Country Trip from June, but never got to releasing it. While on the trip, I began brainstorming ideas for this post (in fact, my grandfather suggested the idea for it) and have kept them in a note screen on my phone- until now.

These are genuine tips based upon my experience, and I tried to add some personal touches into a few ideas as well. Here’s my list:

  1. Take pictures- but only so many. I’m so glad to have the photo galleries from my Cross Country trip to reflect upon, but once you’ve taken say, a few dozen or so pictures of the Grand Canyon, put your camera away and physically take in the view. Anyone can view an image, but you’ll want to remember what it actually was like to be there. Savor the views- the sounds, the feel of the air…
    November Featured Photo
    November’s Featured Photo: Flying above the clouds over Lake Michigan during June’s Cross Country trip.
  2. Get the window seat. You won’t regret it. This trip involved me taking my first plane ride since I was 3- and I have a severe fear of heights. But when on the plane, it all went away- I felt safe (in fact, I pictured the plane as just a really, really big car) and was so glad to have the window seat. Between the views of the clouds, the horizon, and the Earth below, the plane made for some of the best views of the trip.
  3. Bring headphones. I find that if I have my headphones in, listening to music, I could zone out for hours on the train just taking in the scenery around us.
  4. At the same time, be alert, too- you never know when you’ll miss something extraordinary, like wild cows roaming along the train tracks.
  5. Talk to people- just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you can just be antisocial. Put work or school behind you. If you’re traveling with someone, talk with them. Traveling can be a great bonding experience- and you’ll be able to share these memories for years to come, like me with my grandfather.
  6. Write things down as soon as you think of them. Keep a journal- this will help you treasure exactly what each memorable moment – like looking down into the Grand Canyon for the first time – felt like.
  7. Talk about it at home- share the best stories of your trip with those back at home. They’ll (probably) want to hear about it, and you might just inspire them to go out and explore the world too.

And most importantly:

  • Take a moment to step back and admire the beauty of nature. You’ll gain such an appreciation for the world around us- the Grand Canyon moved me to tears.
  • Go back. Don’t go somewhere just to say you went there- create for yourself that yearning to return and discover more.

And lastly…

  • When traveling coach overnight on a train, bring a pillow. We learned the hard way on that one. 😅

Thanks so much for reading!


Want more stories and photos from this trip? Visit the Traveling Beyond category for many more galleries and highlights from June and future travels to come.

Photo Gallery: New Hampshire 2017

Hi there! Recently, my family and I took our annual trip to New Hampshire- and it was a really great time. This year, we strayed away from amusement parks and water parks, and focused on nature. In New Hampshire, the agriculture is so beautiful. We had a view of the White Mountains in back of the house we were renting, we hiked Mount Major, swam in a private, free flowing brook near our house, we tubed town the Saco River, and swam in Lake Winnepesauke after the hike. (This was throughout the week, not in one day- that would be a lot.)

I have allergies, and sometimes, here in Connecticut, they become a pain. But in New Hampshire, the air is so much lighter, cooler, and allergen free, so much that I could actually sleep with my window open. It rained several times at night, and I love falling asleep to rain. It’s so soothing, even better than the Soothing Waters playlist I usually listen to at night.

Mount Major (my first hike ever, actually) was really enjoyable. The trails were challenging, but not impossible. And even so, what more than made up for it were the views of Lake Winnepesauke, which we swam in after the hike. It was another perfectly clear day.

Continue reading “Photo Gallery: New Hampshire 2017”

My View of the United States


From June 22 until July 1, I took a Cross-Country trip from Chicago to California, and from California back to Chicago. I’ve blogged about photos, highlights, and experiences, which you can view on the Traveling Beyond category. This post, however, is a culmination of everything the trip meant to me. It was my first time leaving the East Coast, and boy, has my life changed because of it…

The first part of our trip was a plane ride from Bradley to Chicago. I hadn’t been on a plane in 11 years, but I  really enjoyed it (despite having a fear of heights and the window seat). I was just amazed by the clouds- being over them, in them, and through them. And then, being completely over every cloud, to see nothing but a clear, blue sky, was fascinating. When we weren’t engulfed in clouds, I could see massive rivers (not to mention the massive Lake Michigan), miles and miles of forest and fields, and then coming into Chicago, miles and miles of city. The landscapes changed so quickly, and they differed so much from the type of life I’m used to. The plane rides I took on my trip were something completely different, especially when we took a night one, and saw nothing but endless city lights. It’s a totally different perspective. Throughout the trip, I kept thinking, “Wow. This is my country.” 

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I do have to say, though, that the best part of the trip was the Grand Canyon. In transit to the canyon, though, I was very intrigued by the wildfire happening just outside our window- the smoke from it alone was fascinating (though that’s all we could see of it).

Grand Canyon, sweet canyon. You don’t see anything like this, anywhere. We stayed on the rim, but the scale of the cannon was massive- and to think that it goes on for 277 miles? Wow. The only words that came to my mind were, It’s so beautiful. 

I speak about tear jerkers on this blog a lot- songs, books, but the Grand Canyon is one too. Just the way the colors and layers of rock blend together, and the fact that Nature created all of this… it’s like a blessing from above.

Pictures could never do it justice- you have to see, in person, the endless canyon that fades off into the horizon, the Colorado River that looks massive even from a mile up, and the infinite gorges and hues that make the Grand Canyon, well, the Grand Canyon. Continue reading “My View of the United States”

Chicago Photo Gallery

To finish up the cross country trip I took in June, we stayed in Chicago for a few nights. It was a fascinating experience, and I took many photos, especially of Chicago’s architecture. I’ve put together a photo gallery for the Chicago portion of our trip below. Enjoy! (Also: if you want to read about our time in Chicago, visit here.


Thank you so much for reading my stories of my cross country trip. This is it for photo galleries and highlights! I have two more posts to share, but they’ll be releasing in the coming days, as I transition into a normal post schedule.


Photo Gallery: Plane & Train Part 2

The photos that you see below correspond to the highlights found on this post. While taking these pictures, I was either on our return train (California Zephyr) or our return flight (American Airlines- flight #3 of trip). Enjoy!


Cross Country Trip Highlights: June 28 – July 1

The iconic entrance to Navy Pier with the Centennial Wheel in the background.

Good evening! I thought I’d share the last 4 days of highlights from the Cross Country trip I recently returned from. These highlights mostly encompass time on the train, the plane, and in Chicago, and I’ve grouped them by day. Enjoy!

June 28

On June 28, we continued with our return to Chicago on the California Zephyr train. For today, we passed through Colorado, seeing places like Grand Junction, Fraser, Boulder, and Denver. While we mostly saw similar agriculture to that of the first part of our trip, one particular piece of scenery was very different: the Great Plains. Endless trees and grasslands that faded into the horizon created a stunning view (pictures to come very soon). Denver was also a highlight, being able to see the capital of Colorado. In comparison to some other states, parts of Colorado were very flat (Tornado Alley!), while there were often mountain ranges in the background.

June 29

On June 29, we finished our journey on the train. We didn’t see much, but we did pass over the Mississippi River. From the width of the river to the currents below us, I can definitely see why it’s called the ‘Mighty Mississippi’.

Later that night, we arrived in Chicago. We checked into our hotel, and we ate at Gino’s East. I suppose I could call this my first taste at authentic Chicago Deep Dish pizza. The graffiti on the walls and chairs added a very unique atmosphere to the restaurant, too.

June 30

Today was our big day in Chicago- we bought online passes and planned for a day of being good ol’ tourists. We did get to see Chicago from the John Hancock Building, and we took a bus tour around the city, but what I enjoyed most was the architecture tour. First off, just by traveling by river, you get a completely different perspective on the city.

But to learn about the history of the designers and of their buildings, and how they contribute to the history of Chicago, it was fascinating. After seeing some particular buildings, I was amazed by the intricate works of art that these buildings are, and the amount of design and technique needed to design and build one. Personally, my favorite style of buildings were the glass-faced ones (all-glass), and especially ones that had tints to them, like three blue skyscrapers built around the same time (recently) that were curved, built in a y-shape, and one that was rectangular but very interesting (pictures to come).

One other highlight of the day was going to Navy Pier. Yes, it’s one of the most iconic parts of Chicago, one that every tourist needs to go to. We didn’t spend much time there at all, though. We rode once around the Ferris wheel and left, walking all the way the the Bears stadium. If there was any benefit, though, it was that the Ferris wheel provided spectacular views of the Chicago skyline.

July 1

Return day! In the morning, we boarded an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Connecticut. Like the other flights I’d taken this week, I was still amazed at the clouds, the ground, and the horizon. It’s beautiful from up there.

Tomorrow, I’ll try and post the two corresponding photo galleries. And, either tomorrow or Monday, I’ll be releasing a very special post that lives true to the tagline of 12 and Beyond: My View of the World. Look out for all three of these posts!

Thank you for reading! Have a great night!