My 2013 Scrapbook

Well HI! Happy New Year! And while I’m at it, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy 4th of July, and good greetings for all the major holidays and milestones I’ve missed since I last wrote you nine months ago.

Yep. I suck at this social media crap. Sorry :/

On one hand, it feels like just yesterday I was welcoming 2013 and recapping 2012 (seriously, 2013 flew by FAST).

On the other hand, it feels like a lifetime ago…because, well…it was a lifetime ago.

Three lifetimes, to be exact. Here are the three lives I lived in 2013:

Life #1 January – May: I was backpacking through South America.

I realize my repeated promises to tell you more about that trip have come up empty, but I’m here to promise yet again that I will indeed be sharing those stories and photos and the travel tricks of the trade I picked up along the way. Really.

My travels through Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru moved me; energized me. And if you never get a chance to experience this part of the world, my hope is that you’ll get a good glimpse into it through the stories I plan to share with you on this blog in the coming weeks and months.

In fact, it’s been almost exactly a year now since I touched down on Salvador, Brazil to begin my 4-month journey through South America. And my oh my, I have much to share. Stay tuned – seriously.

Life #2  May – August: I was living out of my car and surfing couches all over the great city of Los Angeles, trying to figure out the meaning of life (as per yoozjh).

This has been the usual state of affairs for me since I came back from my round-the-world trip in 2011, so it’s not as crazy as it sounds. I had moved back to LA, unsure of what I was going to do next with my life and unwilling to commit to a job or a place to live until I sorted myself out. So in the interim, I crashed couches. And everything I owned (which was an extremely small amount of stuff) lived in my car.

My home, the day my spare tire was stolen. Woo!

Believe it or not, the conflicted rockstar year of 2012 I mentioned earlier – which I admit was glamorous on some level – did actually revolve around this minimalist, nomad lifestyle. It’s certainly not a perfect lifestyle, but it suits me really well. I manage to walk a fine line between homeless hippie and “like, totally” LA girl surprisingly naturally.

Surfing couches and using my car as a closet – in one of the most expensive cities in America, no less – makes for some interesting times for sure. Every day was an adventure and I have some really good – I mean reeeeally good – peeps to thank for sharing in my homeless adventures over the last two years. I seriously have the best friends and couches a vagabond girl could ask for:

  • First and foremost, there’s Iaaaaaaaan! *Sigh* Ian stepped up when no one else could or would and his West Hollywood couch became my haven. I can’t say enough good things about my bestie – literally, I can’t, because I just start crying. How am I SO lucky to have such good people in my life?
  • There’s Yuka (aka my wifey), who is almost entirely responsible for the glamour in my life – the red carpet events, the star-studded VIP access to so many cool things – but above all, is one of my most loyal friends. Ok, I have to move on or I’m gonna start crying again.
  • There’s Sonny, one of the most quality human beings I know. There’s Jared. Alan. Vy. Cheré. Sam & Alice. Juwelz & Derrick. Dan & Samm. Scotty. Chandra. Richard. Michael. Sarah. Luis. Danny. Christian Grey.

That’s a LOT of couches!!!

Not to mention those whose couches I never ended up crashing on, but which were kindly offered to me nonetheless. Theresa and Tony. Mai. Mrs. Iyda. Edwin Defondre. That sweet girl I worked with at the winery.

Oh yeah, I worked at a winery. I also helped ghost write a wine book. I even did closed captioning for a gay television network. Sheesh, I was all over the place.

Life #3  August – Present: I said goodbye to Los Angeles and re-located back to my home town of Olympia, Washington. And I got a job. Like, a “real” one.

It’s not exactly my dream job – I’m working for a government IT shop – but returning to the working world hasn’t been nearly as horrible as I thought it’d be. Having not worked a “real” job in four years, I felt a bit out of my league when I first started and there was a huge learning curve to conquer. But things have come together nicely and I’m pleased with how well I’ve transitioned. That, and I’m making good money for the first time, like, ever. Makes me feel a bit silly for all those years I worked for chump change in entertainment and broadcasting (exciting, yes; lucrative, no).

I also discovered my love for yoga and started doing this insane, kickass workout program called RIPPED. I’m at the gym 3-5 days a week, and am the fittest, healthiest I’ve been in my adult life. Yes, for those who know me personally, the idea of ME doing anything that resembles working out makes your heads go BOING with shock and confusion (not to mention, makes you roar with laughter), but it’s really happening and I love it. Don’t worry friends: I still eat like a shameless, gluttonous maniac.

Speaking of gluttony, leaving California has at least one super awesome benefit – foie gras is still legal in Washington State so I can eat the hell out of my favorite fatty delicacy any time I want. And I’ve even found a place that serves it pan-seared (my fave preparation). Woo!

Even better, I get a delicious home-cooked Vietnamese meal every day of the week. Why? I live with mom and dad. Yep! This 34 year old gal right here lives at home with her parents. Before you furrow your brow and go, “Oooh, that sucks,” let me remind you that I have the BEST! PARENTS! EVER! You do remember my Bo and my mom, right? Yeah. Enough said.

Now. Here’s the challenge.

I’ve called LA my home for the last decade and lived a pretty fab life there, and I’ve done a shit ton of traveling (I literally circumvented the EARTH).

Aaaaaaand now I live at home with my parents and work for the government. Yeah. It’s a difficult transition to say the least.

I’ll be honest: I’m not thrilled to be in Olympia. And the nearby metropolis of Seattle has yet to impress. It’s a beautiful city for sure and it’s got some interesting goings-on. But it’s really unfriendly, which doesn’t bode well for my smiley-bubbly-I wanna-be-friends-with-EVERYBODY personality. And it’s cold. When I tell people the Pacific Northwest pales in comparison to Southern California, I mean it is LIT-erally PALE. The bright blue skies I treasured in my daily LA life have been replaced with a blanket of depressing, dreary grayness. And THAT, my friends, does nothing to ease the first problem of social coldness here. It’s like a COLD double-whammy: cold weather AND cold social energy. There’s apparently a name for it – the Seattle Freeze – which I refused to believe when my girlfriend Kris told me about it. But then I started to experience it REPEATEDLY and discovered that, unfortunately, it is indeed a thing. Brrrrrrrrr.

So! In addition to PROMISING to tell you more about my travels at last, I will likely use my blog to also share with you my musings on this strange new chapter in my life. You guys have written me some really nice emails since I disappeared from the blogosphere last year – some of you asking for detailed travel advice, others begging me to please write more, some of you even expressing concern for my safety/well-being because I hadn’t written in so long (so sweet of you!). I’m back and I won’t let you down.

In fact, I’m in the process of redesigning the entire Traveling Thy site and will be moving it to a new domain. (Surely, you guys are as sick of my old, tired blog as I am – bleck!) It’s a lot of work and I’m super excited. Please please please feel free to tell me what you wanna see on my blog. I’m toying with some fun ideas and would love your input.

I just gotta get focused and warm up these writing muscles – it’s been awhile.

While I contemplate my return to the blogosphere and decide what stories I wanna regale you with next…

Here’s my 2013 in pictures:

Celebrated Carnaval in Rio De Janeiro
Trekked to Machu Picchu
Saw hundreds of rainbows at Iguazu Falls
Biked down the world’s most dangerous road
Learned to tango in Argentina
Went ATV’ing in the Cafayate backcountry
Discovered “galloping” in Trancoso
Blew up dynamite in the Potosí mines
Kissed a baby llama
Touched a lion’s butt
Biked through the Mendoza wine country
Went paddleboarding in Florianopolis
Went sandboarding in Huacachina
Came THIS close to a sloth in the Amazon
Studied Spanish in Bolivia for 2 weeks
Ate a guinea pig in Cuzco(sorry)
Celebrated the wedded bliss of J&D
California Adventure’d w/Wifey & Sister
Took my little brother to The Voice
Went sailing with Cap’n Deb, Sonny & Gang
Went camping at Zion & hiked The Narrows…
…and to the top of Angels Landing
Did Palm Springs for Lauren’s Bachelorette
Drove 1,200 miles solo up the Pacific coast
Celebrated cousin Quan’s wedding
Enjoyed this Vegas view for a wild weekend
Started painting
Went to SeaWorld :) Then saw Blackfish :(
Karaoke’d a LOT
Re-united with my beauties at Comikaze
Indulged in quality brother-sister time in LA
Contributed to the Seattle Gum Wall
Chased down the Bluth Banana Stand (I ♥ AD!)
Enjoyed this sunset at Big Bear w/great friends
Cheered on the Dodgers in an exciting season
Got the Halloween crew together in WeHo
Visited my cousins in San Jose
Shucked my 1st oyster at the Shelton OysterFest
Attended my first LA Couchsurfing event
Obsessed over my new favorite board game
Jumped around inside a snowglobe
Won an ugly sweater contest

I’ve missed you guys and am glad to be back. Happy New Year!


  1. Love your awesome adventures. I’m glad I was able be a small part of it :-)

    • Anh, that hike to Angels Landing was seriously the best hike I did all year. Maybe EVER. Thank you so much for organizing that trip!

    • Oh my dearest Thy. . . Although it looks like you’ve done it all, you’re still doing it all! I don’t think this is the last of your travels . Although you could sit still now , and be happy with the’ life of Thy’.
      Your glass is full!
      As you wish by on your life’s journey, I hope to see your smile again! Cheers girly!! :) ~D

    • Daniel, you always know how to look on the bright side!

  2. Great post! Can’t wait to read the new stuff but being new to this site, I have a treasure trove to catch up on. (this is Mark from work, by the way)

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