I just got back from Spain yesterday and I was daydreaming on trips I’ve done in the past, when it occurred to me that I should write all of this down. Well, here goes…
My childhood was somewhat idyllic, living in a nice house in San Juan Capistrano and going on camping trips a few times a year with a big one every summer. We went to all sorts of places from California parks like Sequoia, Death Valley and Yosemite to those of western states such as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Zion. Sometimes it was backpacking, sometimes ATV and motorcycle riding, sometimes shooting out at sites designated for that. My first time on an Airplane was during that time, to visit relatives in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
My first trip abroad was after graduating from high school in 1997. At this point it makes more sense to switch from straight narrative to more of a list form.
1997 Summer – Mexico – a week in beautiful Ensenada, with highschool friends. Juan of them (pun intended) has family land there. It is now the home of Ochento’s Pizza and El Chivo Gruñón craft beer, although both of those came much later. I’ve been going back almost every year since, though typically only once a year.
1997 Fall – I started at UC San Diego in La Jolla for a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering
1998 Fall – Indiana – a week at my sister’s place in Hammond, IN and my first trip to Chicago, IL. It was snowing. We had a great time.
1999 Summer – Austria – a week in Weiz, a small town near Gratz, visiting my brother and his wife who were living there at the time. We definitely made a day trip to Wien (Vienna). I was taking German in college and this was a great chance to try it out.
2000 Spring & Summer – Germany – 4 months studying abroad at the Goettingen Universitat. I had a chance to travel to many places in Germany including Hamburg, Heidelberg, Quedlinberg, Munchen, Berlin, and others. During this time I also got short trips in to Paris & Strausberg in France, Basil in Switzerland, Prague in the Czech Republic, and then Rome, Florence, Venice & Bologna in Italy.
2001 – Denver – a bit over a week visiting friends who were attending Denver University.
2003 – I started on with the US Navy which began with OCS in Pensacola, Florida
2003-4 – I moved to Charleston, South Carolina at the Nuclear Propultion Officer Training Command. During this time I visited relatives in Atlanta, Georgia and in Virginia near the DC beltway, naturally touring the capital.
2004-5 – I moved to Clifton Park, New York at the Nuclear Propulsion Training Unit in Ballston Spa. I had a number of excursions from here including Virginia & DC again, Boston & Concord, Massachusetts, and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
2005 August – After training, I parted ways with the US Navy and decided to make a trip of it when driving back to southern California. I stopped to see Niagara Falls in Canada, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and went hiking on various trails in Iron Mountain South Dakota and along the 70 freeway in Colorado.
2005 September – I flew out to Washington DC for training to become a FEMA Project Officer. My assignment was the Katrina disaster in Jackson, Mississippi.
2006 – FEMA HQ in Mississippi moved down to Biloxi at the coast after that area was cleared out. During this time I went all over Mississippi and made some side trips to Atlanta to visit family there. Also, they covered a trip back home every 30 days which I eagerly took to keep up with my friends & family in southern California.
2006 Summer – Texas – a bit under a week in the beautiful Garner State Park near Austin, Texas. It was a beautiful place and a lot of fun.
2007 February – I moved back to Orange County, California and started working with ACCO, an HVAC company, out of Tustin. The FEMA work could’ve lasted longer, but I got the feeling it was time to move from temporary contract work and start a career.
2007 Fall – Hawaii – a week in Maui, going with friends who just got their AAA’s in Volleyball, allowing them to enter a pro tournament there. It was an amazing trip with a lot of highly energetic people.
2008 Summer – Las Vegas, Nevada – a week in Vegas with a bunch of friends. This wasn’t my first or last time there – Vegas was an overnight stopover on many trips and I even had a business trip there in 2003. However, this was an amazing trip that was much more in depth than the others.
2008 Fall – I started getting my MBA at USC in Finance and Entrepreneurship. A master’s degree was a goal of mine, and ACCO was supportive, moving me to their office in Glendale to work in Engineering.
2008 December – UK – a week in London surrounding New Year’s, with 6 relatives. In addition to going all over London we went out to Oxford, Stratford on Avon, Stonehenge, and Warwick Castle.
2009 Summer – I stopped working for ACCO, which gave me time to do a lot more with USC including seeing the games, wine tasting in Napa, and whitewater rafting in. I was still going to Ensenada about once a year and I think they started Ochentos around this time.
2010 March – China – about 12 days in Shanghai for a USC PM Globe trip. In addition to going all over the city, we had various excursions and trips out to see businesses including GM China and a semiconductor fab facility.
2011 Spring – Germany – A bit over a week visiting my mother in Wolfenbuettel, where she was working on her doctoral thesis with a Fullbright scholarship. My father came with me and stayed a lot longer. We traveled a bit together to a few other cities such as Braunshweig and Gossler.
2011 Fall – Massachusetts – about a week with friends visiting a friend who moved out to Boston.
2012 April – I started working with Sachs Electric Company in St Louis Missouri. After a few weeks I went on to my assigned project in Hammond, Indiana. During this time I saw Chicago a lot, visited family in South Bend, Indiana next to the Notre Dame campus, and went on a company trip in southern Missouri.
2012 Summer – A week at a friend’s ranch (orange farm) around Modesto, CA for a friend’s bachelor party.
2013 March – India – A week going to various cities including Dehli, Agra, Jaipur, Udapur, and Goa. A close friend from USC took me there and showed me around. We had an amazing time.
2013 May – The project I was working on came to a close, and I headed back to southern California. Shortly after, I joined a friend starting a business in LED lighting called Syren LED. This was very promising and exciting for the first year, but we didn’t land enough projects to keep going and had to fight to get paid on those we had. About 18 months into it we ran out of money and had to BK and move on.
2013 August – Mexico – A week in Cancun at an all-inclusive resort. A friend from USC was getting married there. It was beautiful and relaxing.
2014 Fall – A week at Lake Havisu with at a good friend’s bachelor party. Wakeboarding, exploring, cliff jumping, etc.
2015 January – not a travel thing per se, but I started my career at City Tile and Stone in Los Angeles, which has been a really good fit for me so far.
2015 May – Greece – A week long Mediterranean cruise from Athens to Mykinos, Patmos, Santorini, Crete, and Ephesus (Turkey). This was my first cruise – we went with a lot of family and my niece got engaged there.
2015 October – Hawaii – Four days visiting my brother in Oahu. We went to a number of places around the island and saw a good bit of Waikiki.
2016 May – Costa Rica – A week with friends starting at a place called the Peace Lodge in the mountains and then moving on to a beach resort on the Carribean side where my friends got married.
2016 June – Alaska – A week long cruise with family for my parent’s golden anniversary. We saw mendenhall glacier, Juneau, Ketchican, Skagway, and then Victoria Island in Canada.
2017 March – Lake Tahoe – About a week with friends near the Heavenly ski resort.
2017 June – Norway & Denmark – A week long cruise with family leaving from Southampton, UK with a few stops up the beautiful fjords of Norway and then Copenhagen in Denmark.
2017 October – Ireland – A week long land tour with family. We started in Dublin and went west to the ring of Kerry, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, south through Cork county, north through Waterford, then back to Dublin.
2018 February – Spain – A week long land tour with my mother. We saw Madrid, Seville, Grenada, Valencia, then Barcelona.
That brings us to today. I have more trips planned, such as Cuzco, Peru in the fall, but I’ll have to add them later. I know I missed a bunch in the middle there including motorcycle trips, fishing, concerts, football/baseball/basketball/hockey games … you just cant list everything so I stuck with travel, though I did expound a bit to include some vacations in California or other US states.
I also pretty much cut out from mentioning Ensenada after the first time, even though I have been going almost every year and it’s always been an amazing time. The surrounding area has been developing quickly into the Napa of wine and the Carlsbad of beer. My friend’s at Ochentos have a significant new project completed with another one started every time I visit. Also, El Chivo Grunion Artisinal Beer (headed by some of my best friends) has been growing by leaps and bounds. That place is truly alive – every time you visit there are very noticeable changes
Anyway, its good to reflect on things once in a while. I have certainly been fortunate and I’ve had a blessed life so far that still has a lot left to go. This ran a lot longer than expected, but I hope it leaves you with happy thoughts.