Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Vlog on YouTube (SUBSCRIBE!)

For all my adventures in China, check out my new and exciting vlog.
All my travels, encounters with language and culture, and of course, learning the language.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Caribbean Cruise: Christmas 2013

Synopsis: I always spend Christmas and New Year's with my parents. This year, along with my grandmother (Mom-mom), we decide on a Caribbean cruise for Christmas. This will be our 2nd Caribbean cruise all together (we did New Year's 2007), and my 4th Caribbean, and 6th total.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Miami and embarkation. My parents and I arrive the night before and stay in a hotel. Mom-mom arrives the day of and we meet her at the port. Board the boat and walk around and check out the amenities. At dinner, our staff are super friendly and cool, Jerry and his crew.

Thoughts: I'm on a boat!

Our cruise ship, who's name will not appear in my blog until I receive some royalties :-P

The family getting ready to set sail


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Madrid, Spain: Hora de divertirse

Synopsis: Ed is looking at potentially working in Spain and has a friend there who will host us. I am taking spanish classes, so what better way to test my progress? Let's do it. I am in the middle of my keto diet experiment. This is gonna be hard with all that delicious spanish food.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Head down to Charleroi at 5AM. Arrive, and I've forgotten my passport. Thankfully, they let me through with my belgian ID. We get to Madrid and Ed whips out his Spanish that he learned in one month of visiting Spain. I say "gracias" about 4 times, just so they know I know what I'm talking about. We meet up with Diogo, our host and Ed's friend, and drop off our bags. Time to walk the city a bit. Head to El Retiro Park, and on such a lovely day. From there, go to Puerta del Sol and walk around. Madrid is having a garbage strike so there is trash everywhere.

Night 1: Starting to get dark so we walk from Plaza de Isabel II to Plaza Mayor, to Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Lots of walking, and we are tired and hungry. Diogo takes us to an interesting restaurant where I have a zebra burger. It's only 11PM and Ed has friends all over town. We go to meet up with another at a cafe, as they catch up and I people watch.

Thoughts: I speak decent Spanish when ordering my food, its just when they respond that I struggle. One lady yelled at me in english like I was a child, "just sit down, and i'll bring your food". Haha, I speak English fine! Also, glad I took my photo with the bear at Puerta del Sol today, because it was way too crowded every other day.

Ready to get to Spain for some fun


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: Smallest country in the EU

Synopsis: Staša has a friend that lives in Luxembourg who invited us out to hang out. We will do just a day trip to get a taste of the country. City tour and then hang out for a little while.

Trip Overview:

Day: We arrive in Luxembourg after a 90 minute drive. We are hungry and have about an hour before our city tour. Why not stop at McDonalds? Then to the city tour where our guide shows us the ins and outs of the city. Back at the main square, as we wait for Stasa's friend. She finally shows up and takes us to the other side of the city. We walk around a bit and then head back, so we can drive home.

Thoughts: I love Europe. An hour and a half and I'm in a new country, with a new language, new culture, new people and customs, and new experiences, and then drive back home, all in the same day. I drove 5 days from Washington state to Washington D.C. and all I saw was Americans! Granted, there were some differences and some nice experiences, but nothing like what I experience here in Europe. If you have ever heard Luxembourgish, you understand how different it is from German, French, and Dutch (from the four surrounding countries), and how important the differences in culture are to the different European nations. This is Europe, ladies and gentlemen.

Driver: focused. Passenger: goofing off.

I had a luxemburger

Our knowledgeable guide

View of the city

The Luxembourg flag looks JUST LIKE the Dutch flag. Oh yeah, Stasa is in the pic too
Taking a picture that I will likely have to delete later due to its poor quality

Beautiful people in front of beautiful background

The interesting art in the alleys of the city

Final Thoughts: One day just didn't suffice to experience all there was in the city. It was, however, a great interest sparker for me and I do plan on going back to do the 7 castles tour.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Aix-en-Provence and Southern France: Rollin' with Le Mistral

Synopsis: I've been searching for somewhere to go to immerse myself in the French language and truly put my language skills to the test. Stephanie just so happens to have an aunt who married a frenchman and had some french kids who had french grandkids. And they will let us stay with them and give us the real french way of living. We need enough time to do some touristy stuff, me practice my french, and Stephanie to catch up with family. So, 18 days should cover all of that.

Trip Overview:

Day 1: We take the bus down to Charleroi for our early Ryanair flight to Marseille. Sally and Pierre, Stephanie's aunt and uncle, meet us at the airport. Sally speaks French and English, while Pierre only speaks French. We get to their house and sit out on the patio for an aperitif just before we eat lunch. Stephanie and I venture out into the city a bit...which turns into traversing the entire city, twice.

Thoughts: We are so excited to be here that we tried to do everything in one day. Sally and Pierre are very nice and excellent hosts. They make traditional southern french food and as long as I don't ask the ingredients, I'll keep eating it.

Pierre, Stephanie, and Sally


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Champagne Region, France: Celebratory Drinks

Synopsis: Fresh off my vacation from the states, and Staša recommends we go to the Champagne region. I cannot turn down a legitimate reason to celebrate, so why not learn about the most popular celebratory drink in the world? Cheers! Santé! Salut! Na zdravje!

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Jump in the car and head down friday after work. We get there in no time and walk around the town of Epernay. Interestingly enough, the town seems abandoned on this lovely friday evening. Makes it so much easier to take pictures.

Thoughts: It is so peaceful driving through the French countryside...when you aren't the one driving.

This is going on Instagram

Walking through the Saint Martin portal

Monday, May 13, 2013

Berlin, Germany: Freundschaftsbezeigungen

Synopsis: Stephanie and I decide to road trip it to Berlin, Germany on die Autobahn. Only a 7 hour drive to Checkpoint Charlie and the history-laden city. (Author's note that transcends time and space: This was our epic first trip, that spawned several other amazing adventures!).

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Drive into the heart of Berlin and drop off stuff at the hotel. Immediately head out into the city to check out the Topography of Terror and a preserved section of the Berlin Wall. Head down to Postdamer Platz and there are exhibits and markets set up all around. Continue down the road and see the Holocaust Memorial and then on to Brandenburg Gate. After working up an appetite from all that tourism, we grab some dinner. On the way back to the hotel, stop by Checkpoint Charlie and take some photos.

Thoughts: The nice thing about where we are staying, is you can walk in any direction, and you are going to see something historic, interesting, or worth stopping to take a peek at. Brandenburg Gate is definitely the main hub for Berlin tourism. Nighttime is the best time to go to Checkpoint Charlie, because the crowds are gone and you can get a good photo without being rushed and having 20 strangers in your picture.

Two of us in two places at once, so like, we are in four places at once


Friday, April 5, 2013

Copenhagen, Denmark: WOD would you do for a danish?

Synopsis: I decide to go visit Jon, a Danish friend I met while doing crossfit in Beglium, for Easter weekend. Lo and behold, Emil, my crossfit coach and also a Dane, is going back the same day on the same flight! He will escort me to his homeland and then Jon will take me out and show me the real Copenhagen.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Stephanie drops off Emil and me at the airport. We hang out and chat over coffee about him potentially opening a gym in Copenhagen. We have different seats on the plane, so I really don't see him again until we land. After landing, he and I head to the center, via metro. We swing by the Butcher's Lab, where he used to train before becoming a coach. Then we meet up with Jon, where Emil and I part ways.

Jon takes me around the city in his car and shows me some sights like the Little Mermaid and the Fallen Soldier Memorial. We then head back to his place and drop off my stuff. We head back out into the city via bike, For dinner, he takes me to this great Italian Restaurant, and he promises the tiramisu would be the best I ever had, and he is not wrong! Then, we go have drinks at a townhome-turned-upscale bar, and we are joined by some nice ladies at our table who don't even say a word to us. We are too attractive and probably intimidate them.

Thoughts: It was chilly in Belgium, but it is snowing and freezing cold in Copenhagen! Especially walking along the waterfront and riding around by bike. Thankfully, Jon gave me a pair of wool socks and my feet were never cold again! Now, I know why Emil wears his all the time at the Black Box.

This picture is the sole reason I know Steph took us to the airport

On the metro headed toward downtown Copenhagen

"Pick up a light kettlebell" -Emil

Meat processing plant turned crossfit gym
Aw, the little mermaid

The little mermaid done grown up! 

Fallen soldier memorial

Maybe the best host I've ever had in my life! Jon Jacob(Jingleheimer Schmit)sen!

Bike tours by Jon

Beet juice and something or other drink. Quite delicious

We are blurry thanks to the beet juice cocktails

The first black guy on a bike in Denmark

Cheers to a great night

Day 2: Wake up to the smell of breakfast being made. That is nice! We go out for another city tour, but in the daytime, and on foot. Carsten joins us. We walk around and complete the tourist checklist before heading to The Pharmacy, the crossfit gym Jon trains at, to do some stretching and mobility work. Afterward, head back out into town and grab some food. Go home and shower before heading back out again, for drinks and late night shenanigans.

Thoughts: Who doesn't like waking up to breakfast? And it was delicious too! Carsten and Jon are pretty laid back guys and nice enough to let my tourist needs guide our path for the day.

I mean c'mon! Gourmet breakfast with such presentation!

The architecture was amazing!

Carsten and I on the Torvegade 

What's Hans looking at???
Timothy Gardens
Inside the Pharmacy (aka Apoteket)

Next floor, women's lingerie
Joe and the Juice…and the Tim and the Carsten

Capturing the moment being captured


Make Jon laugh while he is drinking

Madame Chu's gets crazy!

Day 3: Head back to The Pharmacy for a team wod. After punishing our weakness (crossfit mantra), we go for another bike ride and see the rest of Copenhagen. We go to Jon's favorite bar, hidden conveniently on the other side of town, behind trees and houses. We were invited by some of the people at the Pharmacy for a get together, which we ride to, because its not that far. Hangin' out with the Danes, who intermittently throw out english words to make me feel like i'm not left out. They are really nice and we have a good time.

Thoughts: I had a teammate that played pro basketball here, and now I see why he loved the area and the people so much.

Team WOD warmup

Team WOD: 299 pushups to go

Hot new hobby: bicycle photography (aka bicyography)

I want abs like hers!

Day 4: I have a late afternoon flight, so what better way to spend my morning than doing a wod? And after the wod, let's do an hour of clean training (not like learning to sweep or dust, but the olympic variety). Good times. Then its off to the airport all alone, waving goodbye to Emil and Copenhagen.

Thoughts: I feel like I am becoming a machine...

Oh Cindy, how bad you went

How is it that I always find the other black people in these countries 

Success at the Butcher's Lab

Oh wait, there's still more workout left!

Welcome to the gun show!

My first ring muscle-up

Final Thoughts: I went to a crossfit gym everyday on this vacation. And, despite all the short sleeves and summer clothes, it was really cold. Maybe it was just me, but I did not see a lot of Danes smoking; a nice change from the rest of Europe. Jon's mom made me some wool socks and sent them to me and I wear those things everywhere, because they are so comfortable and warm!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Belgrade, Serbia: Where Sava and Danube first met

Synopsis: Ed and I decide to go to Belgrade, Serbia (partly because it's somewhere we've never been, but mostly because we found cheap tickets). We also decide to couchsurf, to make sure we get the full expereince of the city under the direction of a local.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: We catch a midday flight and get to Belgrade in the early evening. We meet our hostess, Alex, and her friend, Goran, at a local McDonald's. She takes us back to her place, and we stop by the store first to buy food for the weekend. On the way back, Alex points out the buildings that were bombed during the war; the first time I've seen anything from the Kosovo war, in person.

We try some homemade rakia, before leaving the house, and that stuff is strong! We then head out and go to a couple clubs/bars, which are literally, smoke infested. There is more smoke than people in the club, if that's possible.

Thoughts: I changed my money at the airport and got raped on the exchange rate. I'm only using ATMs from now on. Alex said she almost didn't host us because my couch surfing profile was "scary". I used to have a photo of me during an intense xfit training session.

Our host, Alex, Ed, and Goran

I'm rich!

Getting ready for our first night out

best eBook ever

Subscribe & Travel with the TMax

Popular Posts

Countries Visited

Blog Archive



Online Fitness Course

Online Fitness Course
Functional Fitness for ALL Levels

Online Kettlebell Course

Online Kettlebell Course
Kettlebells For You, Me, & Everybody