Home Sweet Home + The Travel Plan I’ve Been Dreaming of All My Life

November is already here, believe it or not, which means that NaNoWriMo is under way, and I’m challenging myself to draft a post per day for my NaNoWriMo Travel Blogging Challenge. I look forward to reminiscing about past trips and finessing my blogging skills, and stay tuned as those posts are published over the next few months. But before I get deep into the challenge, I’m taking a look back on my trip home last month as well as sharing a very exciting announcement about where I’m headed next.

Griffith Observatory view of Los Angeles

Overlooking my hometown of Los Angeles from Griffith Observatory

You can go home again

September took me home to California for eleven days, and I am not exaggerating when I say it was probably the best eleven days I’ve had in years. I watched my cousin who I grew up with get married, we reinstated our annual Colorado River trip that I had been missing for years, I saw L.A. through new eyes via offbeat sightseeing, I watched my UCLA Bruins conquer in football, I attended the Emmys, and, best of all, I got to spend time with friends and family that I absolutely adore, many of whom I hadn’t seen in far too long.


My stepmom, me, my dad, my sister, and my grandma at my cousin’s wedding in Temecula

Parker, Arizona, Colorado River

My best friend and I making a splash at the Colorado River (photo courtesy of my sister)

UCLA game, Rose Bowl

Go Bruins!

Every return to California since I’ve lived abroad has been a blast and has made me appreciate home more and more each time, but this was in a class of its own. Every moment was unforgettable and filled with love, and my appreciation for home is stronger than ever. I really hate to ever quote Katy Perry, but she hit the nail on the head when she sang, “You can travel the world, but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast.”

And my next travel destination is…

As I’ve bemoaned previously, my current corporate lifestyle doesn’t leave nearly enough room for travel. But I found myself daydreaming one day of the country I most want to visit in the world, realized a trip there was a real possibility and started researching flights, texted my sister to see if she was on board, and, before I knew it, our trip was booked.

I’m going to Cuba!!!

I suppose it’s unfair to say I’ve dreamed of this trip all my life, as I’m sure four-year-old me had no idea what a Cuba was, but I have been absolutely fascinated by the place since at least eight grade Spanish class (thanks, Buena Vista Social Club) and have dreamed of going since then, despite the challenges Americans face in getting travel visas there.


This place will soon be a reality! (photo credit)

Earlier in the year, one of my mom’s friend’s visited Sydney and shared her stories of her trip to Cuba, and I almost booked a flight right then and there. Since then, the U.S. and Cuba have come to agreements that loosen travel restrictions to the country (although Americans still can’t travel freely), and about a week after my sister and I decided we’d spend half of our Christmas break there, American Airlines announced a direct L.A. to Havana route. Could fate have been smiling on us any more?

Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad, Cuba (photo credit)

Here’s where I need your help! Have you been to Cuba? What have you heard about it? I know we’ll have a week there, flying in and out of Havana, but the rest of our itinerary is up in the air. Which towns should we see? Where should we stay? What should we eat? I want to know everything!

7 Responses

  1. Isabel says:

    I have always wanted to go, and now that I live in Slovenia even more. I can’t believe I didn’t had a chance all this time I lived in Mexico.

  2. Monica says:

    I hear you when you say coming home can be such a rewarding experience! I just finished my europe backpacking trip and feel happier than ever to be home with my family. Keep us posted on your Cuban adventures! 🙂

  3. Natasha says:

    It’s always nice to go! I’m heading back in December and I can’t wait. Should be headed to Cali soon too. My husband grew up in Santa Maria. 🙂 Awesome news about your trip to Cuba! I’ve never been but it’s on my list ever since I saw Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. lol.

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