SOUTH CAROLINA – Country, Deer, Guns, Darts, USA, & Family

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My Cousins, Aunt, and wonderful kids all together in Sumter, South Carolina. Thanks Heidi, Rodney, and fam for having me over! Appreciate it so much, and had such a great time!! 🙂  Shooting, fishing, darts and drinking.. a little bit of everything 😉

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Straight off the porch, looking out past the American Flag, over the corn field, just before 4th of July..

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Getting my hair braided so I can be more stylish in Sumter..

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Beautiful Sunset.

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Target practice. Everyone gets to shoot!

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We got to go fishing in this beautiful pond on a neighbor’s property. Beautifully still 🙂

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NASHVILLE, TN – Country Music, Drinking, Southern Food & Bad-Ass Hotel

JUNE 2016

After 4 days of camping, it was nice to relax in this amazing hotel in Nashville. It is the former Union Train Station, and was converted into a hotel. The entire lobby is filled with natural light from the expansive stained glasss windows that cover the ceiling.

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The Nashville Palace is where we ended up our first night in Nashville, listening to Honky Tonk. This location is next door to Cooter’s and Willie Nelson’s Country Store, not far from the Grand ‘Ol Opry. This pic is of the slide guitar. I even got them to sing Happy Bday to Sarah, as this was her actual 30th Bday Night!

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Drinks at Tootsie’s, a famous and awesome 3-story Music Hall & Bar with different music on each floor. Good times!!

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Late-night drinks on the roof-top deck. Lots of open-air places to drink in Nashville! 🙂

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Awesome Hatch Show Printing, right next to the Country Music Museum. They have been and are still producing posters for concerts and events all over the country, the old-fashioned way by hand!

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Exhibit on Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson in the Country Music Museum. It was interesting seeing how much country has gone all over the place over the years..

IMG_3758Delicious middle-of-nowhere local restaurant in Nashville. Awesome Southern Food!!! Sooooo unhealthy!!! (like most food in the South hehehe)

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IMG_3763Sarah and I escaped from the escape game in Nashville!.. along with a group of strangers. I think we had about 30 seconds left, so we were super stoked! It was a lot of fun!! Highly recommended!

 

AUSTIN! Boating, Crawfish Boil, Family, & Queso, w/ Lynn Currie!

AUSTIN, TX – Awesome! Thanks so much to my Host, Bad-Ass Custom Home Builder Lynn Currie!

Crawfish Boil!! This is a seasonal tradition in the South and other crawfish-havin’ states. It’s interesting contrasting the similarities of Austin with the South, which is just about as far away as the dry deserts of West Texas (the humidity in Austin is definitely much more like the South too!) Lynn and her friends were nice enough to have me over for a crawfish boil near Lake Travis, before going boating out on the Lake!

IMG_2729IMG_2724LAKE TRAVIS – We got to ride inner tubes off the back of the boat (I’m in the boat here looking back at Lynn and her friend). So much fun!! Felt like I was a kid again!

IMG_2742We had some beautiful days on Lake Travis, cruising in the boat, drinking IPA’s, riding in the inner tube, jumping in the Lake, and having an awesome time!!

IMG_2744Lynn was awesome to let me stay in her beautiful Austin home! 🙂 It’s so great hanging outside in the evenings, enjoying the day in the pool, watching the crazy lightning storms from the porch 😉

IMG_2779And even let my family stay while she was off exploring in the Airstream! My Nephew, Brother, Sister, and Sister in law were in town in Austin from Illinois and Phoenix, and we all got to hang out at the house!

IMG_3174Queso!!! Austin’s favorite appetizer!! Queso comes in many forms. And this one was particularly good! For those who live in California and have never had it, queso is various forms of melted cheese and/or cheese product, sometimes mixed or topped with other flavors or stuff, and served with chips. It’s tasty!! As an all-sorts-of-cheese lover, it’s hard to say no. It’s weird that, much like delicious breakfast tacos, you don’t see queso out in CA. Another regional dish..

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TEXAS – Huge Machines, Cowboy hat Conference, and Austin Fun!

TEXAS! Everything is bigger in Texas!!! I ran across this machine on the side of the road, and it’s amazing! I wanted to hook it up to the Bimmer battery and see if I could get it fired up, but at about 1/20th the size, I don’t think my car could hold up lol. I would like to see this machine turned into a tiny home.. How cool would that be!?! 🙂

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I was planning on going to Austin, but ended up driving the 1,000 miles from Phoenix to Austin in 24 hours because I found out about the HomeAway conference in Austin, TX. This is a conference for furnished rentals, which is a big part of my business, and why I can travel around the country. I also do some business with them, and it was for property owners, so I decided to check it out! First things when I walked in was a cowboy hat! Learned some interesting things and interesting folks at this conference though..
(PS – I will be at the AirBnb Open Conference and hanging around downtown Los Angeles from Nov 11-21, 2016, if anyone wants to join or say hi in LA!)

IMG_2712And what a trip to TX be without BBQ!?! Each region has it’s own flavor of BBQ, smoking, BBQ sauce.. but almost all have delicious brisket!! Brisket is not as popular where I come from on the Central Coast of CA, where smoking is not as popular, and most people use open-air oak BBQ’s. There’s more tri-tip on the Central Coast (try Santa Maria Style BBQ), but lots more delicious brisket & burnt ends out here!

IMG_2992Breakfast Tacos are a huge thing in Austin, TX. What are breakfast tacos? Well, pretty much a taco with an egg in it! lol But they are served everywhere, at almost all hours. I’m a fan! The twist is that they’ll serve it with all kinds of interesting things inside – often BBQ – but also the standards.. There are also TONS of good food trucks in Austin, lots of them in old Airstreams! The shiny aluminum travel trailers have a sort of cult following in Austin..

IMG_2753And will tour through more of Austin in the next post!!

PHOENIX, AZ for Sister Sarah’s Graduation, Hiking, & Family

The beard starting growing like crazy when I quite my job!!! lol
Congrats AZ on making it 100+ years! I vote one of the best state flags and logo design here! The “sun” feel in the starburst is definitely reflected in the scorching hot landscape! lol

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Go Sarah!! She already got a new job in her field as a Physical Therapist! Congratulations!!

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We went hiking on some beautiful rock formations out in the plateaus of the Arizona desert 🙂  It’s interesting.. The land is so flat out here, even getting 15, 20, 30 feet up gives you miles and miles of views across the desert. 50 feet up, and it’s like you can see the whole world! My Sister Sarah and her friend Ally on a peak across from me. Beautiful skies out here!

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Sarah and I visited the Montezuma’s Castle National Monument in the National Park System near Sedona, AZ. (Never mind that Montezuma never came here, along with many other things lol Gave me some new ideas for housing and shelter though! Next time I go camping in the Southwest, I might try to find a cave-like dwelling to relax in for a while.. 🙂

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A panoramic view of the beautiful AZ sky and desert valley floor. The sundial worked! 😉 It’s amazing how different the temperature and foliage is driving from the flat, hot desertscape of Phoenix into the hills driving North towards Sedona. From cacti to trees, from smoking hot to a nice warm breeze (with the top down of course ;), and a totally different physical geography.. Just an hour away!

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Green Chiles Rock!!! This sloppy, heart-clogging burger comes with one of my recent favorite ingredients.. Green Chiles!!! They are all over the Southwest, AZ, and especially New Mexico. Can add it to almost anything!! I had an amazing green chile soup on the way back through Albuquerque later in my trip.. This was awesome!!! And had to counteract all that hiking!! lolIMG_2691

A big thanks to my Aunt Lisa and Sarah for letting me crash at their place in Phoenix! 😉

Cross-Country Road Trip – Leaving CA!

After quitting my job the day before my 32nd birthday, visiting my nephew and family, doing some volunteering, helping my Uncle sort and pack up some things,
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throwing a surprise party for an awesome person, Michelle!

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and tying up some loose ends.. it was time to get started on the road trip across the country


No specific route.
No real plans, except some cities in mind.
And a new (to me) convertible to check it all out in!

Of course, I always start my trips on Highway 1.. this time, traveling towards Southern California, through Riverside, out to visit my Sister for her Graduation!
> HWY 1 from SF Bay Area to SoCal – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this coastline!!

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> And off to AZ!!

 

I QUIT MY JOB TO TRAVEL!!!! :)

3/30/16

I officially retired from my job!!!

At 31 years old, after over 7 years of working in Bank Regulation and investing in and managing real estate deals, I finally retired from the W2 life to travel, wake up when I want, wear flip flops, and grow my real estate business remotely 🙂

My first adventures after quitting include..

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Visiting Nephew for 1st Bday at Spring Training in Phoenix 🙂

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Beautiful trip down Hwy 1 to Dad’s 60th bday, then Mother’s Day
… in the convertible I bought just after retirement! 😉

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Surprise Party for Michelle and Cruise up Hwy 1 🙂

Kiss from Libby
Volunteering and a kiss from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Map Test

Here’s where I’ve been!

The orange dots are for my planned trip to South East Asia in Winter 2016/2017.
Blue dots are my Western European Vacation back in 2013.
Red and purple dots are from traveling in the US.
Yellow dots are places I want to go in the future, but don’t have immediate plans