All posts tagged: adventure

Hartwood

When I think of the Fourth of July, a few things come to mind: Family & friends Grilling Budweiser Fireworks Leading up to the holiday our group of friends planned to meet in Hartwood. Outside of the aforementioned elements to the perfect Fourth, Hartwood slates itself as a special place. Combining all of this together only added to the excitement as the weekend approached. Hartwood is in New York state and a five hour drive from Maryland. We hit the road before sun rise, chasing the sun north on the highway  as the lush hills and small towns passed us by. There is no cell service once you turn onto the road leading up to Hartwood, automatically making you leave all of your work e-mails and other stress behind. The days were spent hiking the surrounding forest, and lounging in the sun on the shores of the central lake. The evenings filled with good drinks, food, friends and worldly conversations. The community celebrates the Fourth by coming together for a BBQ and a patriotic desert contest before a spectacular private fireworks show. …

Shanghai Cab Driver

Fear and Loathing in Shanghai

Dusk falls before the wheels touch down on the tarmac of Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. Passengers rush to grab their suitcases, joining the flow of human traffic streaming into the terminal. Signs route us through exit points out to Arrivals. People are tugging at our sleeves, asking us to take a ride with them, but we muscle our way to the taxi waiting area outside. After standing patiently in line with several other weary passengers, we are finally shuffled into a cab. I hand the driver a piece of paper with the address scrawled on it in English and Chinese, and we set off for the highway and into the darkness. The cab is rickety, the seats are worn down, and empty food wrappers are strewn across the back. There is an overwhelming smell of stale cigarette smoke, echoing the weight of the heavy smog that hovers over the city. The driver has tired eyes and is looking at me with a cold stare in the rear view mirror. His lack of emotion makes me …

First Day of Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and small flurries have been teasing the North East following the first blooming of cherry blossoms last week. This winter season has had its highs and lows, in metric terms that is, jumping all over the temperature scale. One weekend would require a full parka and snow boots, followed by one allowing for light jackets and dainty heels. The season this year was defined by one large storm that hit the Northeast on January 22, taking the bronze medal as the third-largest single snowstorm measured since the city’s record-keeping began in 1869. During the years I lived in the city I learned that if you are going to be snowed in, there is no better place to be than NYC. It’s a spectacle to see the roads closed down and people walking about freely, hopping from bar to bar and enjoying long meals with friends, with nowhere to go and not a care in the world. On January 22, my day was spent with friends cooking several meals, …

Imaginative Tokyo

If I could use one word to describe Tokyo, it would be Imaginative. Webster’s defines imaginative as –having or showing creativity or inventiveness. It’s not hard to see why. Walking down the streets you are surrounded by buildings that are aesthetically pleasing, but realize they have been meticulously designed to convey simplicity. There are no trash cans, but there is no trash in the streets. The locals swarm the city in everything from business suits and hipster flannels, to fluffy cat ears and traditional kimonos. In one minute you are wandering through a beautiful shrine and the next you feel like you are in a life size doll house. It sounds cliche – but that is exactly what it is because the city and the people in it can be anything or anyone, and I’ve never been to a city where that is wildly accepted. Despite the freedom “to be,” the people are still quite conservative, but seemingly accepting of everyones chosen lifestyle. Tokyo felt like a mirror of NYC in a sense – a capital …

One Weekend in Old San Juan

A weekend in Old San Juan is a weekend well spent. I never realized what a culturally rich and historic city Old San Juan was until I spent Labor Day wandering around the forts and photographing all of the colorful homes that fill the city streets. The days were warmer and more humid then I imagined, but as the sun set cool breezes swept over the city, brining everyone into the streets. In Puerto Rico they flaunt their curves, dress uniquely, eat hearty meals … and they are happy. The people are smiling, dancing, laughing. There is no stigma, no staring eyes, no expectations – and why should there be? As long as you have family, friends and cheap beer there really should be no worries. There were many lessons I learned from their hospitality, and that it’s ok to break out in a salsa dance anywhere and everywhere, but I also wanted to share my quick guide on what to do for a weekend in Old San Juan. Airport: SJU Currency: American $ Where …

Snapshot: Cheers

Tomorrow I am heading down south to Puerto Rico to close out the summer, and as I finish packing my mind keeps wandering to a very special trip last summer. As summer of 2014 rolled around, a group of friends and I headed to Valle de Bravo where a friend has a vacation home. The excitement built up over the cold winter, and when the plane landed the cabin rushed with exotic air, tingling my senses with the spices of adventure that laid ahead. We spent the days drinking pool side, exploring the back country on horse back, and eating our way through the local markets guided expertly by my friend. On one of the last days we aimlessly wandered around the town, when suddenly we found ourselves at the waters edge right before sunset – with a case of beer in hand – naturally. As we continued to stroll, our path led us with ease straight onto a waiting boat – no negotiation needed – where we spent the evening cruising into the sunset …