March Travel Round Up

I stayed close to home in March, mostly traveling back and forth between southern California and the San Francisco Bay area. Now that I've announced the big news to my family and friends, I'm ready to tell the world my big news: I purchased nearly eight acres of land outside Redding, California and will be building a house there over the next couple years. Making the first steps towards realizing a decade-long dream of owning land I can develop and farm is overwhelming, to say the least. In my best California vocabulary: I'm stoked. 

DESTINATIONS VISITED

Carrizo Plains National Monument

flowers two .jpg

Fall Creek Unit, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, California

Palo Alto, California

HIGHLIGHTS

Purchasing nearly eight acres of land with views of the Cascades and my own waterfall. You read that: my own waterfall. This blog will soon be taken over by updates on how I managed to cut off my limbs while removing bushes. 

Viewing the wildflowers at Carrizo Plains National Monument. I had never even heard of Carrizo Plains until a couple of years ago. With the unprecedented rains this year in California, wildflowers are showing up in their most epic display in years. I kind of wish we had put this off for another week because the blooms were supposed to be even more spectacular. Wildflower blooms in the Santa Barbara front country, especially the ceanothus, impressed me as well. 

MOST POPULAR POST

Eat San Juan, Puerto Rico. Not a post from March, but people love reading about the food I shove into my face. What can I say? #Ilovefood.

MOST POPULAR INSTAGRAM

People loved this bird vomit diorama. Defensive fish gut vomiting for the win. 

WHAT I READ

 I read two new books this month: Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold with David Roberts and The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe. Both of these were major disappointments.

I've admired Alex Honnold for years: his audacious climbs, calm demeanor, and the nonchalance with which he approaches big wall soloing. I've spent hours watching YouTube videos of his climbs and interviews with him. I admittedly found him adorable and kind of cute. Then I read this book. I desperately wanted him to not be another rock jock, another outdoorsy bro that I encounter at the rock climbing gym and hiking around the Bay Area. My expectations were too high. The narratives of his climbs were engrossing and as someone who has a modicum of climbing knowledge, I enjoyed reading about the technical aspects of his climbs, which was a complaint I kept reading about on the Amazon reviews. The narrative, however, jumped around too much, elements of his personal life were glanced upon and psychologized and then just dropped like a dirty sock to be picked up again rather randomly five chapters further along. I did like reading about his efforts to bring clean energy to remote, poverty-stricken areas and his reflection on his own carbon footprint. But then it was totally okay to destroy rare plant life on a rock because it would probably grow back fast again. That kind of attitude infuriates me. 

I loved Katherine Howe's previous books The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass. I even enjoyed the young adult novel Conversion. The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen made me want to throw the book across the room, but I was reading it on the Kindle app on my phone so it would have been less satisfying and probably break my phone. When I reached the part where the two protagonists just go to the top of the Empire State Building in the middle of the summer without waiting HOURS or PAYING, I got so pissed off that I stopped reading and I had to go back to the book the next day. This novel was so full of stereotypes and caricatures that I felt like I was watching Fox News. Gay guy who works out a lot and works at a high clothing store: check, young man of Chinese descent who needs to prove to his parents that being a doctor isn't the only profession: check, shy midwestern guy who can't properly dress himself and just likes to watch people: check, the cool alt-girl who's totally into the midwestern guy for no apparent reason: check. UGH. I couldn't wait to get through the sections of the narrative written from the perspective of the male protagonist. Howe should really stick to mature novels written about New England from an adult female perspective. 

WHAT I LISTENED TO

I've recently started listening to Go West, Young Podcast from the Center for Western Priorities. This podcast focuses on land management and environmental issues in the western states. It's a must listen to for any person interested in the west, conservation, or natural resources. 

WHAT I ATE

It was the month of challah. I had the fanciest Spam musubi I've ever seen from the Tiki Lounge in Ventura. I drank a lot of Grapefruit Sculpin from Ballast Point. 

COMING UP IN APRIL 2017

I'm heading to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Women in Travel Summit. Excited to meet fellow bloggers and network. Or just hide in the corner wearing all back and looking anti-social. One of those two things.