Back in San Francisco! + day trip to Santa Cruz + favorite outdoor activities + six years of blogging

Hello everyone, I’m currently blogging in San Francisco! After 4 months of travel, I am back home to recharge. It feels SO good to be back, and my biggest excitement is reuniting with Joe. Before leaving India, I had mixed feelings about pausing travel, but quickly after returning, I felt happy to be back. Immediately, I felt a strong sense of “home” and relaxation. I realized I took SF for granted when I told a friend in India “SF is my favorite city in the world”…to which he replied, “you’re very lucky to live in your favorite city.”

Oh, and the first-world amenities…fresh air and western toilets, we meet again!

I almost collapsed from exhaustion when I came home – I hadn’t slept in a bed in 60 hours (my new record)! But Joe and I were so excited to do things together, and I figured the best way to fight jet lag was to keep moving. So Joe and I hit the ground running with some of our favorite outdoor activities in the Bay. After 3 days, I was jet-lag-free. 🙂

Our first activity was taking a stroll in the Marina where we saw the Golden Gate bridge. Even though I’ve done this walk countless times (especially when I lived in the Marina for 3.5 years), after a 4-month break, I missed it and appreciated it more this time.

Walk on the marina SF

We also hiked our favorite trail in Marin, the Tennessee Valley Trail. Joe and I did this on our third date, so it has a soft spot in our hearts. ❤ It ends on Tennessee Beach which is one of my favorite spots in the Bay; plus it’s only a 20-minute drive from our apartment.

Tennessee valley trail in marin

Some Super Duper burgers after the hike – also our tradition. 🙂

Super duper burgers

Whitney was in town! Our SF friend group is heading to Maui this weekend for Matilda & Matt’s wedding (also the reason I came back to the U.S.), and Whitney came to SF a few days early before heading to Maui. This blog might remember Whitney as my close friend during my first year living in SF – we were inseparable! She moved away in 2018 to go to med school, and she just graduated. I feel old saying this, but it felt like yesterday she moved away – 4 years just flew by. It was so nice to spend 1-on-1 time together before the wedding festivities.

Dolores park sf

I also met Whitney’s boyfriend, Tom. He was just as amazing as she described. Excited to spend more quality time with the two this weekend.

On Monday, Joe had a day off of work, so we wanted to take advantage of it and took a day trip to Santa Cruz. This was a new day trip idea for us – we were surprised to find it was only 1.5 hours away which seemed reasonable for a day trip. It was the perfect excuse to get out of the Bay for a warmer, sunnier town on the California coast.

We made it to the Santa Cruz boardwalk – the main tourist attraction. It was mostly closed since it was a Monday, but we still enjoyed strolling along and avoiding the crowds.

Santa Cruz boardwalk

We saw sea lions on the pier – so cute!

Some lunch at Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe. Great food with a relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff.

Then, we chilled on the Santa Cruz beach. The beach was actually quite nice. It had a different vibe from the cold beaches in NorCal as it had more of the vibes of sunny SoCal. It felt like we were on a mini-vacation. 🙂

Santa Cruz beach

Other than these activities, most of my days looked like this. Lots of resting, catching up on my tv shows (most of the streaming services didn’t work in Asia!), and of course, quality time with the cats. I was surprised they remembered me; they have been SO cuddly since I returned. 🙂

Last but not least, I want to celebrate 6 years of blogging!! Talk about the years going by…it feels like yesterday I started this blog from my little studio in Queens to document my running races. Since then, this has grown into my personal diary, travel log, photo dump, and more – simply put, this blog is one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. It’s such a gift to go back and read my inner thoughts that I wouldn’t remember without writing them down – as this blog gets older, this feels more like a treasure. Frankly, I’m surprised that I’ve continued to blog for this long, but I feel grateful I discovered this genuine passion. I love sitting down every few days and connecting with you all – it’s never once felt like a chore, and I always feel positive emotions after publishing a blog post (gratitude, relief, closure, etc…it’s like therapy for me).

Thanks to everyone who continues to stop by my corner of the internet and take interest in my life. 🙂 I truly appreciate you!!


7 thoughts on “Back in San Francisco! + day trip to Santa Cruz + favorite outdoor activities + six years of blogging

  1. Hey there Charlotte! I’m happy I came across your blog today. You have such a fun and light way of writing that I got to read 2 of them already. Must feel so nice to be back after a few months of traveling. For me, matter how beautiful the other countries we visit on our holidays, I always feel happy and grateful to be back home in Singapore. We’ve done a road trip along the coast from San Diego to Lake Tahoe, unfortunately, we didn’t see much of SF because we were down with a stomach bug. 🙂 — Amor

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    1. Comments like these are why I love to blog☺️. I appreciate your kind words amor!! Keep sharing all the great adventures from your blog as well. I spent 4 days in Singapore at the start of my gap year and loved it.

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      1. Oh I hope you found your visit here good! So many things have changed and been added here in the last decade, it’s even more modern now. Oh what hasn’t changed is the humidity, it’s still very very humid. 🙂

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