Tag

united states Archives - MAP AND MOVE

Alice makes moves at the Grand Canyon

Day 12: Sleeping in Teepees and Rocking the Grand Canyon

By | OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

We’re finally nearing the Grand Canyon, the monumental piece of America that first inspired 15 people to haul ass in 3 hulking (but wonderful) RV’s across 16 states.

We left Wigwam Motel, the kitschy but charmingly 60's hotel in the morning.

We left Wigwam Motel this morning, the last of the charmingly kitschy hotel chain first started in the 1930’s.

2015-American-Roadtrip-Grand-Canyon-6

Sleeping in fake teepees called “wigwams” in the desert of Arizona- is probably as politically-incorrect as it gets. Yet, who can resist the nostalgic, Disney-esque charm of sleeping in forts like these?

Grand Canyon

2 hours of unexpected traffic later, we made it to the Grand Canyon, the piece of earth that’s been 200 million years in the making.

2015-American-Roadtrip-Grand-Canyon-3

How’d you get up here?

Alice makes moves at the Grand Canyon

Alice: classically trained pianist, avid yogi, and occasional model for epic American landscapes.

Kel does pose Grand Canyon

Kel: elementary school teacher, nicest guy in the world, and amateur-turned-pro RV driver.

Calvin Sun breakdances the Grand Canyon  Monsoon Diaries

Calvin: ER doctor, founder of TheMonsoonDiaries, and occasional B boy.

2015 RoadTrip Crew Grand Canyon

We’ve come a long way, Route 66 Crew:)

Painted Desert

Day 11: Albuquerque, Painted Desert & Petrified Forest

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

We arrived in Albuquerque, NM late last night and this morning, we spent our time ravaging green chile burritos at Frontier, a quirky college spot with homemade tortillas on the menu and rifles on the walls (we did say quirky, didn’t we?).

Old town, Albuquerque.

Our next stop was “Old Town”, the (surprise) oldest part of the city. We took in the chill vibes of the city over some cool, local brews where centuries-old peublo homes have converted to shops, cafes and galleries. In the center rests San Felippe, a charming 300-year-old Parish.

We explored Albuquerque.

Just being weird.

Breaking Bad

We couldn’t leave the city without (of course) finding the house from Breaking Bad. And if you haven’t seen the show yet, please

Dancing in front of Breaking Bad

Oh, just doing some cartwheels in the nabe.

2015-American-Roadtrip-NM-Holbrook-14

Roadtrip, Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Practicing some moves.

Painted Desert

Painted Desert

2015-American-Roadtrip-NM-Holbrook-11

Sunset at the Painted Desert

Petrified Wood Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Finding just the perfect angle for a photo opp.

Painted Desert

We had 45 minutes until the national park closed. Possibly the most frantic and amazing sightseeing ever.

Roadtrip RV's in Chicago

Day 8: The Start of Route 66

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

FINALLY. We’ve been on the road for 8 days, but today marked our official start on Route 66, the infamous 2,400 mile road that was the mother of all US highways. This is what we’ve been on a quest to see: the kitschy, quirky, only-in-America roadside icons that follow the now defunct route through 8 states and 3 time zones.

Roadtrip RV's in Chicago

Route 66 is no longer part of the US highway system; most of it has either been absorbed into other interstates and trail off into dirt roads that lead to nowhere. And if we were going to see America, we were going to do it proper: in RV’s.

The Last of Chicago

Tip: if you’re going to drive through long stretches of reception-less highway, get some long-range walkie talkies. They’ll great for coordinating between multiple cars. Plus, it’s fun it say things like, “Roger that.”

15 people, 3 RV's and 2,400 miles to go. Jorge is ready.

15 people, 3 RV’s and 2,400 miles to go. Jorge is ready.

Kel and Duncan in RV SilverFox.

Kel and Duncan in RV SilverFox.

Roughly around the age of Don Draper, there were other advertising studs like these. "The Gemini Giant" in Wilmington, IL is one of the few fiberglass statues from the 60's. Statues like these used to flank the entrances of burger and hot dog drive-in's on Route 66.

Roughly around the age of Don Draper, there were other advertising studs like these. “The Gemini Giant” in Wilmington, IL is one of the few fiberglass statues from the 60’s. Statues like these used to flank the entrances of burger and hot dog drive-in’s all along Route 66.

City Musuem

heading into St Louis to take on the LEGO pits and adult jungle gym of awesomeness at the City Museum, in downtown St. Louis.

Chicago city view from Hancock Building

Day 7: The Start of Route 66, Chicago

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

We started the day with a 4am wake-up call. The plan was to fly out of Memphis to pay homage to the food and architecture capital of the Midwest, Chicago.

architecture, chicago

But due to shenanigans involving broken planes, our flight was delayed by a good three hours. SMH. To make up for lost time, we headed straight to Millennium Park, the public art space built to celebrate the start of the century and home of the infamous Cloud Gate (below).

caption here

Shameless selfies at Cloud Gate, the iconic Chicagoan sculpture by artist, Anish Kapoor. Since its inauguration in 2005 though, this 110-ton(!) piece has been known as “The Bean”.

architecture, chicago

The underside of The Bean is concave, kind of like a shallow bowl. So walking underneath the massive legume is like into the trippy mirrors of an amusement part fun house. On the right, is just another example of the city’s rich legacy of architecture.

Vegetarian Breakfast Croissant, Bongo Room, Chicago

We followed the guidance of our friend to the Bongo Room, home what he’d claimed to be the best brunch in Chicago. The huge portions of delicious did not disappoint. Pictured: the Vegetarian Breakfast Croissant.

Red Velvet Pancakes at the Bongo Room, Chicago

The Bongo Room’s signature red velvet pancake is a massive doughy dream drizzled with vanilla sauce and nuts. Be prepared for a food coma.

Official Start of Route 66, US, old highway

Finally! At the official start of Route 66, one of the original highways in the U.S. We’ll be driving on this monster of an interstate for the next 6 days. All 2,448 miles of it.

caption here

Route 66 Crew

architecture, chicago

#architecture

Chicago city view from Hancock Building

We ended our day with views and drinks from the John Hancock Building (amazing) and deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s (New York pizza still wins hands down).

Breakfast at Barista Parlor, a hipster coffee joint housed in a garage with an outdoor stage. Friendly, bearded servers in lumberjack shirts bring you over-priced, artisan coffee and gourmet sweets. Like being back home in Brooklyn, but friendlier.

Day 6: The Kings of Memphis

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

1,200 miles later, we made it to Memphis, Tennessee

The first leg of our Great American Road Trip ended in Memphis, the home of Elvis, rock n’ roll, the site where the great Martin Luther King was assassinated, and where the energy of Beale St. radiates at night.

Breakfast at Barista Parlor, a hipster coffee joint housed in a garage with an outdoor stage. Friendly, bearded servers in lumberjack shirts bring you over-priced, artisan coffee and gourmet sweets. Like being back home in Brooklyn, but friendlier.

Breakfast at Barista Parlor, a hipster coffee joint housed in a garage with an outdoor stage. Friendly, bearded servers in lumberjack shirts bring you over-priced, artisan coffee and gourmet sweets. Like being back home in Brooklyn, but friendlier.

 

Instead of handing you a receipt with your order number, Barista Parlor gives you this: your very own cardboard companion.

Instead of handing you a receipt with your order number, Barista Parlor gives you this: your very own cardboard companion.

Music Hall of Fame

Music Hall of Fame. Photo credit: Jorge

Music Hall of Fame

Music Hall of Fame.

Elvis' meditation pool in Graceland

The King’s meditation pool in Graceland.

Downtown Memphis

A mural on Main Street by the Lorraine Hotel.

Memphis Graceland Elvis Roadtrip 2015

In the “Jungle Room”, the infamous corners where the King hung out with friends.

Memphis Graceland Elvis Roadtrip 2015

Mod TV’s at Graceland

Lorraine Hotel

Lorraine Hotel

At the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he was assassinated.

At the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he was assassinated.

Sun Studios

Sun Studios

Memphis Graceland Elvis Roadtrip 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., April 3, 1968, a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left, are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. The 39-year-old Nobel Laureate was the father of non-violence in the 1960s civil rights movement. Photo Credit: AP

Martin Luther King Jr. stands with other civil rights leaders on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., April 3, 1968, a day before he was assassinated at approximately the same place. From left, are Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson, King, and Ralph Abernathy. The 39-year-old Nobel Laureate was the father of non-violence in the 1960s civil rights movement. Photo Credit: AP

Nashville by Night cowboy boots and live music

Day 5: Guns, Moonshine & Contradictions in Tennessee

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

When Calvin from The Monsoon Diaries and I first planned this road trip we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. He’s a New York City native through and through, and both of us were much more intrigued by seeing the rest of the world than exploring our own backyard, America.

Driving across the state of Tennessee today, reminded me of the crazy and at the same time, mesmerizing contradictions that this country represents.

Guns and animals at a shooting range and outdoors shop in Tennessee

We stopped at an outdoors shop off the interstate. Guns in every color of the rainbow and taxidermied carcasses from every creature of the animal kingdom seemed to line the store’s walls. We were definitely weren’t in NYC anymore.

hunting trophies and guns

Hunting trophies of the store owner and his daughter: hippos from Tanzania, mountain goats from the Himalayas, wildebeests… Yowza.

Tennessee Moonshine

We found Tennessee Moonshine.

Nashville home of country music cowboy boots main street

Hours later, we arrived in Nashville. It was a completely different world than the one we transversed for the last 6 hours.

Nashville by Night cowboy boots and live music

Taking Nashville by night. Music and cowboy boots on Main Street.

Dinner and Experimental Southern food at The Southern Steak & Oyster nashville

We stopped by The Southern Steak & Oyster for some awesome experimental Southern grub. Homemade hot sauce and egg over bacon pasta.

On Broadway in Nashville

On Broadway in Nashville

Tootsie's, Broadway in Nashville

Tootsie’s

Jorge on Broadway

Jorge on Broadway

Robert's, Nashville

Robert’s, Nashville

Day 4: We took a spontaneous turn and found a creek and and waterfall in Abingdon, VA.

Day 4: Wine and Waterfalls from Virginia to Tennessee

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

Is there anything better than taking a spontaneous turn, only to find another unexpected surprise?

We saw a sign for “Abingdon Winery” on the way out of out of Virginia, and say no more, we promptly exited off the interstate for a mid-day wine tasting. On the way there, we found another surprise…

Washington dc united states

We stopped at a back road for a photo op and found this little gem instead: an unmarked trail leading to a waterfall hidden between rocks and trees.

Washington dc united states

We reached Abingdon Winery, a cozy winery overlooking a creek by the Appalachian Trail. The best part? Escaping NYC weather.

Washington dc united states

In case our day wasn’t random enough, Stephen- one of our co-pilots- left to pick up his Delorean from home and to rejoin us later on in Sevierville, Tennessee. We’re going #backtotheFuture. By golly it’s #1985. #flux capacitor

Washington dc united states

We found the friendliest diner (appropriately named The Diner) with the cutest owners. They dropped by for a chat and to offer free desert to the out-of-towners. We couldn’t complain.

Virigina, Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah Valley

Day 3: The colors of Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

By | OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

We left D.C. in the morning and spent the day driving along the winding contours of the Blue Ridge Parkway through Northern Virginia.

Driving through Shenandoah Valley: nothing but road, colors, and Freedom.

Seas of blue and rolling green in the Shenandoah Valley of northern Virginia.

Virigina, Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah Valley

Pausing to take it all in.

Driving through Shenandoah Valley: nothing but road, colors, and nature.  #Freedom.

Nothing but nature, colors, and freedom.

Virginian ham, apple cider donuts at Apple House, Virginia

George from the U.K. got his first dose of the American fast food experience. It occurred to him that you actually drive through a drive-thru, as opposed to driving pass the restaurant in its entirety. 4 frozen custards and a scene from Lost In Translation later, we made another stop at the Apple House Linden, VA, for sandwiches stuffed with Virginian ham, home-made apple cider donuts, and… Davy Crocket.

Driving through Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Just us, nature and our little car.

 

Washington DC united states monument capitol

Day 2: Tales from a Chinese kid in Washington D.C.

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | One Comment

Back in 1994, a zit-faced pre-teen sat on the back of a Chinese tour bus on a family trip to Washington D.C.

She loathed the idea of spending her summer with old Chinese ladies peeling oranges into plastic bags. She resented the fact that everyone seemed to have a comment about her looks, height, or grades (or even worst, mistook her sullenness for obedience). And if her mom asked her to fake-smile in one more picture with a statue of a dead man, she thought that she’d scream. (Why was it a prerequisite of every man of historical worth to have bad hair anyway?)

Fast forward to Day 2 of our American road trip…

Washington DC united states monument capitol

Going back to our nation’s capitol caught me off guard today. Studying the Washington Monument and walking through the Korean Memorial with our crew, especially those not from the U.S., reminded me how this country was built on the determination of a few outliers.

 Lincoln Memorial Gettysburg address

Stepping into the cool air of the Lincoln Memorial overtook me. Re-reading the Gettysburg address, (I can never seem to escape you, AP History) was a reminder how words can move nations.

Washington dc united states

And when things get tough, you can always count on the ladies. #women #wemadehistory

Washington dc united states

Washington dc united states

The designer in me couldn’t help but notice this splash of color on an otherwise stoic-looking building. #hues #architecture

Today was one of those humbling days where I was reminded of the patchwork of deviants who questioned status quo. American history didn’t just belong to a handful of old, white men. It was built off the backs of rugged individuals searching for more: more opportunity and more freedom to choose.

It sounds simple, but not until I started traveling aboard 5 years ago, did I realize the luxuries I took for granted by merely being born in the right place, at the right time. With all the contradictions that the US represents aside, it felt great to be holding an American passport today.

downtown nyc battery park city

Day 1: The American Road Trip Begins

By | North America, OUR TRAVELS, US | No Comments

Three months ago, Calvin from The Monsoon Diaries and I had an idea to do a road trip across the U.S.

Our passports have stamps from over 100 countries combined. Ink mementos from places as far-flung as North Korea and Antarctica (Calvin), and as off-the-beaten path as Mozambique and Lesotho (myself) tattoo the pages of our little books. But when it comes to the U.S., one word describes us both: clueless. The size of the U.S. alone is daunting enough, not to mention the fact that both of us are city-dwelling, Uber-reliant, public transit nuts.

In other words, how do you transverse a country half the size of Russia (no joke) with two vehicle-phobic vagabonds? No idea. But as always, our motto is to do now, question later. So we organized a 2-week road trip across 18 states, with 15 road warriors joining us for the 2,400 mile ride.

The results? One grizzly, adventure-filled, beast-of-a-trip, with 2 (minor) accidents and the most diverse crew of co-pilots you can imagine. Today we explored the our hometown of New York City, tomorrow we take on the U.S.

grand central nyc whispering wall

Day 1: New York City. Roza, from New Orleans- byway of Iran- joined us for our tour of NYC. She discovered the “Whispering Wall” in Grand Central and had the best conversation ever. #SecretsofNYC

downtown nyc battery park city

One of the best off-the-radar spots in NYC: the Winter Garden in Battery Park City. We followed it up a private tour of the Skyscraper Museum with a friend and awesome guide, Jorge.

nyc roosevelt island free tram

The best part about playing tour guide in our own city? Discovering the little things we hadn’t done before: taking in the city views from the Roosevelt Island Tram, $5.

nyc 9/11 memorial

We paid our respects at the 9/11 Memorial. #powerful.

chinatown nyc bubble tea

We capped off the night by showing the crew around Chinatown. Jorge and Calvin insisted on introducing Roza to bubble tea. She was a fan. #success.

 

Welcome drinks for our Spring 2015 trips

Spring 2015: Preview of our Travelers

By | Events, US | No Comments

Hello Spring 2015!

We had our kick-off drinks for our upcoming Spring 2015 trips yesterday. New travelers and friends going on our American Road Trip, Venezuela, and the Guianas came out for a whirlwind pub crawl through NYC. SO. MUCH. FUN. Thanks to everyone who came out and see you on the road in the next few weeks!

travel welcome drinks at pony bar nyc

We started the night off young and tame, at Pony Bar.

Spring-Travel-Drinks-3Spring-Travel-Drinks-4Spring-Travel-Drinks-5Spring-Travel-Drinks-6