Vieques- Island of Horses

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Location: Vieques, Puerto Rico

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Vieques island is one of those truly magical, untouched gems of the world. As a United States citizen, it still baffles me that you don’t need a passport to travel there. Only eight miles east of the mainland, it is accessible by ferry or small plane. It’s commonly referred to as “Puerto Rico’s little sister.” Unlike its crowded neighbor Culebra (home of Flamingo Beach- the most photographed beach in the world), Vieques is primarily visited by Puerto Ricans and only 9,000 people call the island home. As you might expect, this makes the place quite serene.

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El Yunque Rainforest

Location: Carolina, Puerto Rico

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This post will be short and sweet! We only spent a day in El Yunque Rainforest on our Puerto Rican adventure, but I felt that the remarkable scenery deserved its own post.

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It used to be called Luquillo National Forest because it’s located on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains and overlooks the stunning shores of Luquillo Beach. We hiked the famous La Mina Trail and swam in the beautiful Juan Diego Falls.

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Old San Juan- The Walled City

Location: Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Old San Juan (Viejo San Juan) makes up only a fraction of the sprawling metropolis- most of it firmly rooted in the 21st century. Founded in 1509, it is the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico and the entire area is a protected National Heritage Site.

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Old San Juan still contains blue cobblestone streets and flat roofed brick and stone buildings (many dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries). My best friend and I stayed for about a week in the most gorgeous artist’s loft right on Calle San Francisco. Although Puerto Rico is a protected territory of the United States, and the majority of people speak English, I was grateful she could speak Spanish because I felt like it helped me to appreciate everything more fully. We were also able to get some incredible recommendations from our host.

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Philadelphia-The Dark Horse

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stop. You have to see this!

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When I first learned I was going to take a trip to Philadelphia, I was excited. I would get to see some friends I hadn’t spent time with in ages. The city itself didn’t matter to me–it was mostly about D and R (and Trudy, the cat).

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I even mocked the city a bit by calling it exotic and scenic–words you definitely wouldn’t use to describe a former factory town. But it won me over.

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Moving Truck Camping Part 2- The Blue Ridge Parkway and Boone

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks and Boone, North Carolina

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Alas, after our hiking adventures we had to press on towards our new home. Of course, we couldn’t resist picking an exciting route. We chose to travel 99% of the way entirely on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Why, you ask? Because it’s “America’s Favorite Drive,” of course! Well, actually, that and we didn’t want to have to drive more than 45 mph in our moving van, we wanted the road mostly to ourselves, and we wanted to make ample stops- preferably scenic ones.

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Moving Truck Camping Part 1- Shenandoah National Park

Location: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

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We had a few weeks to spare, so K and I decided to take the scenic route down to our new abode in North Carolina.

Note: we are both pretty minimal, and we like to make each new home its own. When we realized that we could fit everything we owned into a 10’ moving truck–and that such a truck is actually smaller than most RVs–we designed a week-long trip where we could stop and camp at some of the most beautiful sights along the Blue Ridge Mountains! We knew that we wanted to drive down along the Blue Ridge Parkway and also stop in Boone and Blowing Rock (more about that in our next post!). Since the Northernmost tip of the Parkway runs practically straight into Shenandoah, we couldn’t resist spending a few days there.

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Farewell, Columbus

Location: Columbus, Ohio

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V: Guys, I’m going to be honest with you. This post was hard to write.

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Columbus has been my home for the majority of the last 8 years, so I have an intrinsically complicated relationship with it. This city- the capital of the heart-shaped state- is where K and I met and fell in love, where we both graduated from The Ohio State University, and where we have made so many beautiful friends and connections. Personally, I have moved 6 different times within the city’s limits. Now, we plan to leave it for good and move forward to our next adventure. Naturally, we are both happy and sad to go. We are indescribably grateful for all the things we’ve experienced in this place, and all it has done for us. However, we sense it is the time for new places and new opportunities. This post is written as a farewell tribute and also a bit of a travel guide for those who plan to visit or see a little more of the city’s magic.

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Raleigh/Durham- City of Oaks

Location: Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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We had less than 2 days, but our mission was to see as much of our little corner of North Carolina as we could. Our plan was to visit Chapel Hill (since I would be attending UNC), Carrboro (known fondly as Chapel Hill’s hippie cousin), Raleigh (the State’s growing capital), and Durham (an entrepreneurial hub for young professionals). Too many flights made our experience a little haggard, a little tiring, but we managed to pull out all the stops. These areas are conveniently located within 30 minutes of each other, so we rented a car and got to seeing the sights.

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Pacific Northwest- The Best Return

Location: Seattle, Washington, Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

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Now, although this post doesn’t represent any of our travels around Asia, it was possibly a bigger adventure than any other that we had this summer. It was the first time we had set foot on our home continent in over 14 months, and yet it was completely unlike the North America that we were used to. The one that we had left- flat, unchanging. It was lush and vibrant and filled with all of our favorite things. We were in awe at the amount of greenery we saw when our plane touched the ground.

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