I’ve never had a real hometown but I’ve sure found plenty of places that managed to leave an imprint in my heart. As this blog goes live, I’ll just be settling back in to the state closest to my heart- California! After over a year away from my beloved “home state,” I’m finally coming back with a fresh spirit recharged from traveling abroad. When reflecting on my recent travels, I believe Confucius put it best: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
I feel like that is exactly how I traveled in this past year, making a conscious effort to put all my heart into embracing and getting to know each place I’ve been. You know you have tried your best to get to know a foreign place when after you leave, you can’t help but feel you’ve left a piece of your heart there and can’t wait to come back.
So here’s to some of the places I’ve scattered my heart and what makes them special:
- The funky style and shopping in Tokyo’s popular Harajuku neighborhood
- The peaceful temples and shrines of Kyoto, with the beautiful backdrop of ancient Japan- tea houses, geishas, cherry blossoms and all
- Any clear day with a breathtaking view of snow-capped Mount Fuji
- Ramen houses, sushi, gyoza, onigiri, and the delightful snacks found on every street corner or convenience store
- Crepe desserts filled with everything from ice cream to cheesecake, yum!
- Hello Kitty novelty gifts on every corner. No seriously.
- Lush botanical gardens in every city. In the summer time, they play movies outdoors after sunset and invite you to “Bring Your Own Wine.”
- The dance club scene. No need for sugar-free Redbull, the energy is all there!
- Cairns and the beautiful Great Barrier Reef with its warm and clear waters
- Sydney and its beaches. Also a place in town called The Rocks- especially for the scrumptious Devonshire Tea and scones I found while traveling with one of my Sigma Kappa sisters.
- Melbourne and everything about it! If I had to list just a few it would be Degraves Street and all the delicious food hiding in its laneway, Queen Victoria Market and the tastiest meat pies you will ever have, and Brunetti in Carlton- my all time favorite dessert bar literally in the whole world.
- Tea, scones, crumpets and of course- fish and chips.
- In N Out Burger (one of my first stops as soon as I arrive!)
- Reliable sunny weather
- Authentic Mexican food and proper margaritas
- Pedicures and flip flops all year round
- Disneyland (annual pass will be a must upon return)
- Friends, Family and my Theta Beta Chapter
If you ever get to visit any of the above places, please tell my heart (and stomach) I said hello!
Where have you left your heart and what do you love most about that place?
This post was written by Janah Valenzuela. Contact Janah at firstname.lastname@example.org
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