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Happy Journal – Blind Dates Actually Work #luck

By 09/07/2014 Journal, Relationships, Uncategorized

me and tiff


I had never been on a blind date before, but based off of the movies I had set my expectations low. I was suited up for this sorority formal and my goal was to meet some new people and have a good time. Tiffany, my date, couldn’t find someone in time so I decided to step in last minute. As soon as a I saw her turn the corner down the street I was caught off guard. This beautiful girl in a long white dress stood before me and I couldn’t help, but stare. We jumped into conversation pretty easily (I felt like I was talking a lot and fast…), but the night continued with laughing, shenanigans, and fun. I starting realizing how drawn I was to her. We spent time together everyday after that formal and then I had to leave to the next city while Tiffany remained in Austin…

I was in a stage of my life where I had been single for a long time and had never really been in a serious relationship. I was tired of having shallow connections, but also tired of trying to look for someone so I finally stopped looking and focused on me. There is a difference between looking for a relationship and letting yourself be open to one. In one case I looked for companionship in another person because it’s what I thought would make me happy and the other I focused on my life and if I were to meet someone who I can vibe with then I wouldn’t be afraid to commit.

Thanks to iMessage we talked everyday after that for a month. Something was keeping my heart in Austin. I finally asked Tiffany to join me on the trip for 2 weeks. She joined me in Washington D.C. and left 2 weeks later in New York. During that time spent in close quarters 24/7 in an RV, we were drawn closer together until we finally reached a crossroad. Would I start a long distance relationship, while being on the road and no idea what future was in front of me? One of the scary things is whether you trust yourself with taking a risk. Sometimes I make excuses and say,”how could this work? What if I just end up hurting you? What if I end up hurting myself?”

“It is a risk to love. What if it doesn’t work out? Ah, but what if it does.” (Peter McWilliams)

I was caught in these questions, but finally I was confronted with one thought: have I ever felt this way before? You can fear what could happen or you can explore what it could become. There is something about taking a leap of faith where you need to trust yourself enough to learn on the go. Especially at my age I realize more and more how many things I don’t know. The only way to grow is to explore. Who knows if I will ever understand women, but I better damn well try!

The point is that I don’t know what is going happen in the future. But I can’t ignore the opportunities in front of me. I have to trust that I can make the most out of an experience regardless. You will be surprised how much life will offer in return. Tiffany teaches me new things everyday whether she realizes it or not. I will never regret taking this leap of faith.

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Happy Journal – A Town Full Of Hippies?

By 04/06/2014 Contribution & Spirituality, Fun & Recreation, Happiness, Journal, Uncategorized

Our next destination was Charleston, South Carolina, but we wanted to split the 8 hour drive and make a pitstop in Asheville, North Carolina. Once we arrived around afternoon time, we saw what was a clean, hippie, artistic community. There were art galleries, gluten-free restaurants, cafes called The Green Sage, and alternative looking clothing and fashion. Chris and I parked in the Renaissance parking lot (a 5 star hotel) and explored the city.

We stopped in a hippie shop and picked up motivational stickers or our laptops, went to Green Sage for our Macha Green Tea lattes with soy milk, picked up a slice of gluten free strawberry cake, and enjoyed the local graffiti art. We were living the stereotype :) The place where we bought the strawberry cake, called Saute, would sell meals of simple beans and rice at $2-6 depending on how much you could afford. Their action was to help feed the homeless, which I thought was an awesome idea.

Social Restaraunt

It soon became dark and we went back to our car at the Renaissance. We set up camp there because… when else are we going to be able to say we stayed at a 5 star hotel. We had a peaceful calm night.

The next day we went back to Green Sage to boost our caffeine levels and explore the city before we left for Charleston. We then walked around the city and started looking through the many art galleries that were available. There were beautiful pieces. These were some of my favorites:

Inspirational ArtFlower Girl













Although our time here was quick, we really enjoyed the alternative mentality the city had. It was refreshing to see such an artistic free minded city like Asheville. It was time to go and hit the road to Charleston where I had some big expectations of a beautiful city people had been telling me about.

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Happy Journal – Nothing’s Thicker Than Blood (Not A Vampire Story)

By 29/05/2014 Family & Friends, Family and Friends, Journal, Uncategorized

After our exciting time in New Orleans (watch video here: ) Chris and I were off to make a special stop in Nashville, Tennessee to visit my sister Kathryn. In the last 8 months, Kathryn had been diagnosed with lymphoma (cancer on the lymph nodes), gone through 6 rounds of chemotherapy, and fought her way into remission. Going through a challenging experience like this brought my family closer together. My sister is 5 years older than me and we haven’t been around each other ever since she left to go to college when I turned 13. So fast forward 9 years later and I would end up living 1 month with Kathryn in Nashville supporting her through this period. It ended up being a reconnecting experience for us. We had to learn how to talk to one another as the more grown versions of ourselves. It was like meeting a new friend, but sharing a close connection as the brother and sister we are. Kathryn and Michael Mager in Nashville Chris and I drove 8 hours North of New Orleans through Alabama. It went from swamp to beautiful forests. The sides of the highway were covered with purple, pink, yellow, and white wild flowers. When we arrived to Nashville, Kathryn and her puppy (Ari) we’re waiting for us. I was happy to see my sister and friend again. Kathryn had just come back from a trip to Hawaii where she went through a holistic healing seminar. She looked rejuvenated and healthy. We started swapping stories from our adventures. Gal, Kathryn’s boyfriend, came home later that night and we all got to catch up. During our time together we got to eat good food, kayak, do yoga, meditate and most importantly talk.

I was listening to TED Radio Hour about love and one of the most important relationships they emphasized was between siblings. Siblings have been there from the beginning. They know great stories about you that you might not remember, you can have a trusted ally when facing your parents, and you have someone that can understand you all the way to the root of who you are. I often think we act most like our unfiltered selves when we are kids.

“Blood is thicker than water” :P

My time in Nashville was fantastic and the relationship I am developing with Kathryn became even greater. If you have a sibling, I make one request: reach out to them today. Ask them “how they are doing” and be willing to truly listen. We don’t get to choose our siblings, but you will never have someone who was so closely wrapped to your roots as them. Hold on and grow that relationship because they will be there for you from beginning to end :)

Chris ended up clicking right into the family circle, which made me happy to know that our bromance was meant to be! We left Nashville with full bellies and full hearts headed on our way to Asheville, North Carolina.

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Happy Journal – Troubles to Blessings… Only in Texas

By 16/05/2014 Family & Friends, Journal, Travel, Uncategorized

Happiness101 Car Breakdown

19 April, 2014

Chris and I had woken up that day ready to leave Big Bend National Park. We were camped out in the bottom of a bowl of mountains surrounding us. As we started our car “The Bucket”, Chris drove up the one small road up the smallest hill. Immediately the engine began choking and back shifting. He would push down on the gas pedal and the engine would work, but the wheels wouldn’t. We immediately pulled off the road and got our phones out to call roadside assistance. No phone service… Chris and I started talking to people around us to see what our options were. It looked like we would have to hike to get service. Chris went and hiked while I attempted to see what I could do with the engine. WARNING: Chris and I have little to no knowledge about engines besides checking if there is enough motor oil… So I added a little motor oil and let the engine run while parked. It seemed to have helped as I tested it on the same small hill successfully. As soon as I felt bold to try the hill again, I picked up Chris who tried looking for advice rather than waiting a possible day for roadside assistance. We jumped into our 3 ton car ready to drive up this small, windy, and steep road for freedom! The car jumped back and forth, I felt like I was taming a wild horse. Moving about 20mph up this hill we finally made it. The rest of the way would be down hill and then flat road.

In a small celebration I let Chris take over the wheel as I pulled off one of our mountain bikes to drive down a monster of a hill. Since the RV was just rolling, Chris had no problems going down. I was following behind with my GoPro camera on my helmet as I was flying down at 40mph. It was a sunny day and the road was as free as my mind was at that moment. Re-strapping my bike in at the bottom of hill we had a 100 mile drive to our first city and our speed was capped at 45 mph before the engine would stall. We decided to stop by a hot springs along the way to ease the stressful situation of being stranded in a desert and get some happiness in for that day. We ended up making some friends coming from all around Texas including Austin and Houston. The hot spring was located right across from the Mexican border so we had to take a picture together in Mexico :)

The Big Bend Hot Springs

Once we reached the later afternoon, we made our way to the nearest city 100 miles away. Going at 45 mph and below it took us almost 3 hours to get there. Arriving in Fort Stockton, we had the misfortune of arriving on Easter weekend and all mechanics were closed. We drove another 100 miles at 45 mph to Ozona who managed to change our oil filter, but couldn’t do much more until Monday or Tuesday. This did not help the engine so we finally decided to drive to our destination Austin, TX in the hopes that a big city would have more options and since it was our next surveying city. This 230 mile drive took us a mere 7 hours to complete. Driving on roads with speed limits of 75, I turned on my emergency lights at certain points to try and be less of a hazard than we already were.

We finally arrived in Austin at night and we would have to find a mechanic on Monday after Easter day. One of the friends we had made in Big Bend, Sam, contacted us to take us around the city night life. We counted our blessings to have made it into the city and enjoyed our night out. Sam let us stay at his house the next night and it was Monday morning when we were prepared to drive to the local mechanic that the RV simply wouldn’t start. I called a local mechanic after a few referrals and managed to find a shop, B&M Transmission in north west Austin, that would tow our car in and check out what the problem was for free. The manager’s name was Phillip and he turned out to be the best guy would could have asked to help us. If anyone ever has transmission or other car issues in Austin and you need a mechanic, they are great with their customers.

The car would be in the shop for the next 9 days due to a busted transmission. So the next question was.. where were we going to stay? Chris and I had the option to sleep in the RV in the mechanic’s parking lot, but we had no way to get into the city and do our survey.

Almost as if God was up there listening did an old middle school friend from Hong Kong from 10 years ago wrote me:

“I noticed y’all got towed!! (on Facebook) No bueno haha if y’all end up needing a place to stay for the night or need me to pick y’all up just holla(…)”

And sure enough, I holla’d immediately. After calling and talking to Christine, she picked us up and took us back to her and her roommate, Lisa’s, place where we had a place to stay in the middle of the University of Texas campus! The adventure in Austin had only started there as Chris and I found parties, food, philosophies, religion, music and people that would make this place one of our favorite cities and rekindle an awesome friendship with this friend from the past.


Here are some videos if you had missed them of our activities in Austin!



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Happy Journal – Santa Fe, the land of Art and Love (part 2)

By 01/05/2014 Family & Friends, Journal, Uncategorized

April 12-14, 2014


The next morning, Saturday, Peggy and Jerry took us to a farmers market for breakfast. Here is also where Chris and I started surveying people. We were recommended that this would be a great place to find local Santa Fe people vs. the Plaza where more tourists went. We collected great feedback and even some free snacks for the road. We eventually has to go back to The Plaza to collect our last few surveys. Chris met 2 incredibly artistic girls, Stormy and Joezelle, who wanted to help us record our last surveys. Stormy is a videographer (click here) and Joezelle is a brilliant singer (click here). They invited us to a get together later that night where our friendship would only begin to grow. We met up with Stormy and Joezelle afterwards where we got to hang out with art students vs. the business students we are so used to. There was definitely more creative energy with them than I have ever seen before. It was too much fun hearing about their next projects and simply what their interests were. We shared lots of laughs and planned to meet up the next day to cook dinner for them and their friends and Joezelle’s mom.


Sunday was filled with work and preparation for getting back on the road. We had to clean out the car for dust since I am allergic, clear out our water tanks, clean clothes, and more. So most of our day flew by. Once Jerry and Peggy got back from their day in the mountains with Peggy’s parents, we had to say our goodbyes. We had such a great time with Peggy and Jerry with many laughs that I have to say here, that these are some of the best people I know. They gave us so much love that we can only hope to pass on to others.Thank you both for all that you did for us! Jerry, who is a powerhouse of positivity, shared his wisdom on happiness with us. In a world that is always changing, Jerry told us to “exploit the inevitable”. Take advantage of the good and the bad because when one door closes another one opens. Try using this motto throughout your day and I bet you will see a form of positivity thinking you didn’t before.

IMG_1728Chris and Jerry were always fighting over the Cheerios for breakfast. But they learned how to share :)

Chris and I made our way over to Stormy and Joezelle’s for our Santa Fe send off slumber party. Chris and I cooked up a tasty banana curry for Stormy, Joezelle, Joezelle’s roommate – Cliff, and Joezelle’s mom – Selma. They loved it :) The night continued with drinks, dancing, laughs, and a private performance by Joezelle on her acoustic bass guitar (if you didn’t click before click here! for her song). It was like being a kid again. I changed into PJ’s and we just hung out and all talked till 4:00am. It was the perfect way to end our time there and we made such awesome friends. The next day it was hard to say goodbye. The girls and Cliff made us breakfast and even packed us lunch with a really kind note inside. Chris and I hit the road with happy hearts.


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Happy Journal – Santa Fe, the land of Art and Love (part 1)

By 29/04/2014 Family & Friends, Family and Friends, Fun & Recreation, Happiness, Journal, Uncategorized

IMG_1654April 9-11, 2014

Our destination was Santa Fe, but since I my Mac Book had suddenly had issues we had to make a pit stop in Albuquerque. Albuquerque has the only Apple Store in New Mexico. For California, this is unheard of! Being the only store, I had to book an appointment for the next day since the appointments were overbooked that day. We took advantage of the day and found a bubble tea shop with wifi downtown. We got to get some work done and went over to the local Walmart to set up our home for the night. Albuquerque didn’t seem to eventful, but there were definitely niches to have fun. In the Walmart parking lot, people were playing football and frisbee. If you ever find yourself sleeping in a Walmart for whatever reason, bring a face mask. They leave their bright lights on all night.

Thursday, I made it to my appointment at the Apple Store to find out that it would take them 2-5 days to get the computer fixed. Since I didn’t have time to wait, especially in Albuquerque, I planned to turn my Mac Book in El Paso and set up an appointment a few days later. Chris and I jumped in “Bucket” and drove to Santa Fe where we would be staying with my awesome seconds parents, Peggy and Jerry, who I have known me since I was born and who’s daughter is one of my best friends. We arrived at their place around 5:00pm and it was a great feeling to see familiar loving faces. Peggy and Jerry cooked us an amazing steak meal that left Chris and I full and beyond satisfied. We finally had a bed to sleep in and a shower after too many days than I care to admit. It felt like a home.


The next day, Friday, I woke up in bliss sleeping in an actual bed. Jerry made us breakfast and it felt like we were in a resort. Today would be the first day of our first city to survey. We drove to the city center called The Plaza. There were no high rises, but many small buildings encompassing a fountain that marked the center of Santa Fe. As we began our surveys, it felt awkward approaching people with our mission, but a few surveys later we were in the zone. Initially, the plan was to get all 100 surveys in 4 hours max. 4 hours later we had 32 surveys completed… It was taking so long because people were actually compelled to tell us their thoughts on happiness! We talked to hippies, high school students, parents, managers, and homeless people. Everyone had something to say and we were excited to hear it. We started a video collection of people’s core ideas about happiness that we can’t wait to share.

Chris and I came back suddenly exhausted from the day of talking to people. Jerry and Peggy took us to a great New Mexican restaurant where Chris and I filled our bellies with some delicious chicken fajitas covered in chili sauce. New Mexico is know for their spicy taste pallet. When Chris and I came back to our Santa Fe home to our comfy beds we passed out with determination to see what a whole day of surveying would bring us.

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Happy Journal – Not Much, But Hard Wood

By 28/04/2014 Contribution & Spirituality, Fun & Recreation, Happiness, Journal, Travel

There were no signs of the wild dogs we had seen yesterday. Chris and I brushed our teeth and washed our faces at Denny’s. They have a lovely bathroom by the way :D We stopped at a local supermarket. The town of Tuba was a run down Native American populated town in the middle of Arizona. There was one beggar outside the grocery store. When he asked me for money, I offered him food and gave him soup and a few granola bars. As soon as I did this, two more people came over to me asking for food as well. Seeing the pattern, I knew I couldn’t keep giving out food. It made me wonder how money could come into this stop, gas, and go town.

We made a quick granola and almond milk breakfast and started driving. Our destination was the Petrified Forest National Park. We drove through lots of flat land and managed to arrive in the early afternoon. Chris and I sat through a quick introduction video to the park in the information center and then went and explored. The process of a tree becoming petrified wood was interesting. A tree would fall into a river and get stuck under the sand bank, sealing it off from oxygen. Minerals from the sand would then replace the cells of the tree, while still maintaing its bark texture. After thousands of years of this process, the tree would eventual turn into a rock with a variety of colors based on the mineral it was surrounded by. To be honest, this was one of the more bland national parks I have seen. It was relatively flat compared to Zion and Bryce Canyon and there really wasn’t to much besides rocks and a few hieroglyphics. While the sun was setting at the look out points, Chris and I stopped to meditate and soak up the moment.



It turns out we were on the old Route 66 route, which had been a pinnacle road for the United States to travel coast to coast.

We drove out of the park and continued towards our first city in our survey, Santa Fe. It was getting dark quickly so I pulled off a side road from the highway. Chris and I bought chicken legs for that night and we pulled out of mini BBQ. We grilled the legs in a vinaigrette, cajun marinate and had a garlic broccoli and rice on the side. IT WAS DELICIOUS! One of the few really satisfying meals we had on the road. Of course we pulled out some marshmellows later on to take advantage of the “small” fire we created. It was a nice being under the stars with a full belly and a day of good travelling.


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Happy Journal – Parking Lot Camping

By 25/04/2014 Journal


April 7, 2014

Chris and I woke up behind a motel in Kanab parked next to the dumpster. It was classier than it sounds. I pulled out the fresh farm eggs we had gotten from John and Rhonda and made scrambled eggs and turkey bacon in the parking lot. Taking advantage of our rare access to the internet, I had to check my Facebook one more time before hitting the road.

Along our way through the red desert of next to the Grand Canyon, a French couple driving ahead of us had to pull off the side of the road. They had hit a pot hole in the road and their front bumper ripped off, but was barely hanging on. I pulled off the road next to them and pulled out my favorite tool: neon green duct tape. Within a few minutes their bumper was reattached and looking better than ever with green tape stripes on the side of their car. In return, the French couple bought Chris and I a drink at the local restaurant. They were travellers like ourselves and had spent 3 weeks traveling around the west coast. Their next destination was the Petrified Forest National Park. We decided that we would make this a destination in our journey too.

Saying our thanks you’s and goodbyes, we drove to Lee’s Ferry Campground, next to the northern point of the Grand Canyon National Park. This was right next to the Colorado River so we had to jump into the water. We quickly learned that we should have had a wetsuit! The water was nearly freezing! It was a short experience in the water, but we got to lay out in the sun and watch white water rafters practice for the teaching licenses.

Enjoying the sun and water, the sun began to set and we decided to continue to the next town to find a place to sleep. We managed to drive until 10:30pm, which took us to the Native American populated town of Tuba. This time a Denny’s was home for the night. Chris and I set up our beds and decided to watch a movie before going to bed. One hour into the movie we heard barking outside our car and thought someone was there about to kick us out of our location… worse. I looked out from behind our curtains to see a pack of wild dogs! The alpha dog looked like some sort of a pitbull descendant and was thick with muscle. That means this guy was finding food somewhere! With some bad luck Chris and I both really had go to the bathroom. So when the dogs had finally gone a block away one of us kept lookout while the other went over to a bush. We were like a tactical bathroom team.

Happy to not be sleeping in a tent, we went to sleep in our beautiful RV as the wild dogs howled us to sleep :)

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Happy Journal – Nature vs. People

By 19/04/2014 Journal


April 6, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park opened at 8:00am so we made sure to be one of the first people there since we would drive towards the Grand Canyon that same day. The view was stunning. The rock formations formed pillars of earth, also known as Hoodoos, that made up this large canyon. The Paiute Native Americans believes that the hoodoos were the Legend People whom the trickster Coyote turned to stone.

Chris and I walked along the ridge and reach the largest Inspiration Point that overlooked the valley. We walked along the a small outstretched cliff and sat with our feet hanging off. There was something liberating about having such beauty and vastness be around you. A few Chinese tourists at the lookout point walking area took pictures of us on this ledge entertained by our risk.

We continued to Bryce point for another great view and took a moment to mediate there. When you take the time to calm yourself in such a surrounding and open your eyes again, it is like looking through a different perspective. I highly recommend it when you get a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature. Here is a short guide intro on how to mediate. I would test it 5 minutes your first time.

Chris and I decided to hitchhike back to where our RV, “Bucket”, was parked since most of the park’s paths were closed and met a friendly German couple who took us along. We drove towards Grand Canyon until Chris noticed this dome shaped house on our right. We decided to take the exit and see who lived there. A man named John and his wife Rhonda lived there. John was a permaculture farmer on his 20 acres of land. Permaculture is a method of agriculture based on the natural patterns and relationships found in nature. For example, John would have his cows eat the grass on a small quadrant of grass and then move them each day to preserve the grass. 3 days later he would release chickens on that same quadrant, which would feed on the fly larva found in the cows poop. The chickens would be fed and the cows would avoid the problematic flies as a result.

John spent 4 hours telling us about his 100% recycled, solar-powered farm and showing us everything from his dome house to his chicken coupe. He was extremely well read with shelves of books about permaculture, but also philosophy. He taught me one very important principle: “Society is far from perfect, but I believe that you should not try to change society. If you truly want to create change, create an example of the society you wish to see.” Once John completes his permaculture system, he plans to open a school to teach his perfected method to self-sustainable agriculture. His wife Rhonda gave us some of the best damn eggs and vegetables I have ever tasted. Thank you!!!

After a packed day, Chris and I continued on our journey and stopped in a town called Kanab. We talked a lady at the gas station who helped us find some free wifi at a motel. So we parked behind the motel and tapped in to send out some of our first posts on Facebook since our journey had started. We fell asleep satisfied from a nature and education filled day.

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Happy Journal – Climbing Angel’s Landing with a Hippie

By 18/04/2014 Journal


April 4 & 5, 2014

Chris and I said our goodbyes to Ray and Gooseberry Mesa to set out on the road to Zion National Park. We took another narrow, rough, dirt path the local town nearby. We stopped at a grocery store right before the park where a person could buy a small box a granola bars for $7. How unexpected being the only grocery store in town ;)

With a little dent in our wallets, we entered Zion National Park. The mountains rose on either side of us as we entered. Stopping at the only campsite in the park, the camp host showed us to a beautiful little spot by a creek. We immediately popped out and wandered along the stream jumping from rock to rock. Some friendly next-door neighbors invited us over for dinner where we got to learn about their Mormon faith and personal backgrounds and we surveyed them for our happiness survey.

The next day we got to know another neighbor of ours named Bill. Bill was a 68 year-old, former nurse from Wisconsin who is traveling aro in his turquoise, custom, 15ft Toyota RV. We invited him to join us on our hike to Angel’s Landing and he gladly joined us. Angel’s Landing was one of the most beautiful and dangerous hikes that I have ever done. The first 4/5th of the mountain was climbing paved path. The last 1/5th was a grueling upward climb with a small metal chain attached to the wall to hang onto. People were coming up and down this narrow way where there was almost always one side of you exposed to a steep drop. 5 people have died climbing Angel’s Landing, which was a crazy thought when climbing up and seeing 12 year-old kids climbing it. It was all worth it once we all reached the top. The view was the most stunning natures I have seen in my life. Chris, Bill, and I just sat down to absorb it all in.

Throughout that climb we got to know more and more about Bill and his thoughts on life. His life was mislead by drugs, but over the years he managed to rebuild his relationship with his family and himself. Bill’s mantra for happiness is to be radically honest to others and yourself. ALWAYS tell the truth. Not only did he keep up with us on the hike at 68, but he added to our experience sharing his philosophy and advice. Thank you Bill for sharing so much with us.

Chris and I left Zion National Park in appreciation and made our way that night to Bryce Canyon National Park. We camped in a random parking lot next to Bryce since it was closed by the time we got there. It was a quite night by the road with a feeling of success felt in our bodies and hearts.

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