5 Places Every Person Should Visit At Least Once In Their Lifetime

5 Places Every Person Should Visit At Least Once In Their Lifetime

I cannot wait to explore and travel more.

During my life, I was fortunate enough to travel to a bunch of breathtaking and amazing places with my family and friends. Here are just some of my five favorite places.

1. Italy-Cinque Terre

This past summer, my family took me to Italy as a graduation gift. I was absolutely blown away by the scenery. We went to Venice, Florence, and Rome. My favorite place in all of Italy was Cinque Terre, which consists of five islands, and is about a three hour train ride from Florence. Here is a picture of me and my sister at Cinque Terre. This place has the bluest ocean water I have ever seen. Cinque Terre used to be an underappreciated destination but over the years the number of tourists have skyrocketed.

2. Maui

Over winter break, my family went to Maui. I loved walking along the beach during sunrise and sunset. Some of my favorite activities were whale-watching, snorkeling, relaxing by the beach, and hiking. The must-do’s in Maui include dedicating a day for the Road to Hana and visiting the Crater of Haleakala. Here is a picture of my favorite part of Hawaii: Black Sand Beach.

3. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is my favorite place in California. It is the perfect mixture of a city life and a beach life. There is always something to do whether it is visiting museums like the Getty or sight-seeing in Hollywood, or going to the beach. I visited my friends at University of Southern California over winter break and I was very impressed by the city. This is a picture of Santa Monica Beach. My best friend took me here and I had such a great time at the pier and walking alongside the shore. The rollercoaster at the Santa Monica pier is a must-do!

4. Atlanta

When I moved to Atlanta last fall, I instantly fell in love with the city. While it is one of America's most famous cities, it is not as metropolitan or as crazy as signature cities like Los Angeles or New York. There are so many things to do with family and friends such as visiting Piedmont Park, the High Museum, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Ponce City Market. It is very easy and cheap to go to Downtown Atlanta from Emory, especially if you split the Uber ride with some friends. Here is a picture my roommate, Chloe Lam, took of me at the High Museum during one of the first weekends of second semester.

5. Arizona

Last by not least, Arizona will always have a special place in my heart. This is where majority of my childhood took place. It is filled with thousands of happy memories from graduation, prom, IB and birthdays. I will always love Arizona. Even though it does have extreme temperatures and may not have as many things to do as other places, it is still worth visiting. The red rocks in Sedona and the vast Grand Canyon make the place a Western gem. In this picture, my parents and I are in Payson, Arizona, about two hours away from Phoenix.

Cover Image Credit: Tingting Bi

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.


For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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