2013 in Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco

9:30 am

Arc de Triomph Paris

Another year has wrapped up and for the first time in a while, I'm glad that I did not travel as much this year as previous years. In 2013, I survived my first winter in Toronto, returned to Paris for the first time since my study abroad program, spent a week in a paradise island they call Bali, and moved to sunny San Francisco.

This year, I learned to stop caring about the number of countries I've been to and start living like locals do no matter where I am. I spent less time traveling solo and more time traveling with friends. I started obsessing over visiting national parks and living in an airstream. I moved to the left coast where the wine is fine and the coffee snobs are snobbier. But I love it.

Get ready for the year in recap.

must see Paris
Must see Seattle WA
Canadian Rockies

Living like a local in Paris: 2 years after setting foot in Paris for the first time, I returned to the great French capital. This time, I was no longer a foreign student but felt like a Parisian local. I had remembered enough about Paris to know my way around, I rented a studio apartment minutes away from the Louvre, and spent a week eating oysters and cheese. Paris was cleaned, brighter, and friendlier than I remembered. I think I enjoyed Paris more this time around than I did at 20.

Road trip to Seattle: Seattle always makes for a pleasant road trip whenever I visit my parents in Vancouver. I had actually never been to Seattle when it wasn't raining so my June visit was a pleasant surprise of sun and warmth. I spent the afternoon kayaking and drinking tea. With its similarities to Vancouver, Seattle felt very livable to me.

Canadian Rockies, Jasper and Banff Alberta: The Seattle day trip was followed by a week long road trip through the Canadian Rockies. I had been wanting to visit the Rockies since I was a teenager and finally got the chance 10 years later. To say that it was everything I expected would not do it justice. The mountains were majestic, the air was fresh, and I've never enjoyed nature more. I was standing on top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff when the seed of obsession with National Parks was planted in my mind and my heart.

where to go in Portugal
things to do in Toronto
Must see Bali Indonesia

Discovering Porto, Portugal: I have been to most of the countries in Western Europe, safe for the Netherlands and Portugal. This year checks one of these two places off of my list. I was invited to visit Porto with Kensington Tours. The trip showed me the luxuries of going on a custom tour with a private driver and all. I also spent a lot of time wondering downtown Porto, which surprised and delighted me with its modern and contemporary beat.

Lifestyle photography in Toronto: When I wasn't traveling in 2013, I got the chance to start developing the lifestyle portion of my photography portfolio. By contributing to blogTO, I was able to photograph the Toronto Underground Market, the Toronto Flower Market, Cool City Oyster Yard. It was a great way to expand my portfolio and explore more of Toronto. I'm definitely looking forward to pursuing more lifestyle photography in 2014.

Eat, Pray, Bali: I cannot even being to put Bali into words. After a few days in Jakarta for work, a few friends and I rented a private villa in Bali for some R&R. We surfed, got balinese massages, went whitewater rafting, and spent a lot of time on beaches and watching sunsets. This is one of my most memorable trips of the 2013. It made me consider, even if just for a second, becoming a serious surf bum.

where to stay in Tokyo Japan
National Park_Yosemite California
San Francisco California

Tsukji Fish Market in Tokyo: Whilst in Asia, I also visited Tokyo Japan. Like many other photographers, I had been wanting to go to Tokyo for a long time. I didn't spend nearly as much time there as I wanted but I did get to visit the Tsukji Fish Market. I had seen photographs and videos of this market before, and it's always pretty special to visit a place in person.

Fall camping in Yosemite: Continuing my newly-developed obsession with national parks, I spent a weekend camping in Yosemite in November. I was quite poorly equipped for fall hiking and camping but it was still great to spend a weekend in near solitude, on long hikes, and feeling like a part of nature.

Eating my way through San Francisco: And that brings me to San Francisco. I officially moved down in October though I'd been flying the Toronto - San Francisco route quite regularly for the last year. Having grown up in Vancouver, Toronto just didn't feel exactly like home and I wanted to return to the west coast. For the moment, San Francisco is feeling like a great fit - it's still t-shirt and jeans weather in December, it's close to home, and it has easy access to a bunch of US National Parks. So, this is where I rest my head for 2013.

Happy holidays!

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