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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 – Entering the Underworld…

By 03/05/2014 Uncategorized


April 16, 2014

Today we would be crossing one of our bucket list points: Explore Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Chris and I made an early start to our morning. There were perfect blue skies, but that wouldn’t matter since we were about to descend 1,600 ft below the ground! Since the cave is very popular we couldn’t book a tour that day nor the next so we decided to go on a self-guided tour.

We started at the mouth of Carlsbad Caverns and walked all the way down the 3 mile trail. Only the entrance held natural light, but the further you descended, the more unnatural light that had to be used. If you did not have any artificial lighting after the first half mile, you would have been in complete darkness.IMG_1929The caves were fascinating. The entrance had relatively smooth surfaces. When you went deeper the stalagmites and stalactites would appear. Although it was around 75 F (24 C) outside, the cave held a constant 56 F (13 C) so we had to bring sweaters. The cave was also very humid and held little ponds throughout the many crevices and dips in the floor. The national park was very well developed as they had preset lighting, paths, and informational stops all along the tour.










The best part had to be when we entered the Big Room. The stalactites and stalagmites were huge and had been forming over millions of years from simple erosion and calcium carbonate (aka limestone) building up.



A man named Jim White happened to find this set of caves as he was building fences around the area in 1898. He saw what looked like a cloud of smoke form in the air so he rushed over to see what was going on. The cloud wasn’t smoke though, but a swarm of bats! There he stumbled upon the entrance of the caverns and he did what ever person would naturally think… built a sketchy rope and wood ladder and climbed on down! As he explored the caverns with a single fire lit lamp, he stepped in something squishy. He shone his light down to see he stepped in a pile of guano aka bat poop :) There were piles all around up to 20ft tall. So he eventually started a business selling this fantastic fertilizer to California farmer. People started touring the cave around soon after for a small price by entering the cave through one of the guano carrying baskets. Women in beautiful dresses and men in their suits would go down in these poop baskets (it was definitely a different time back then), but I have to say it was would have been worth it regardless!



Chris and I finished our tour around 4:30pm and decided to wait till 7:15pm for the bats to leave the cave. Supposedly there had only been 5 bats the night before since it wasn’t the prime of bat season yet, but we remained hopeful because we knew this would be an opportunity we couldn’t miss out on. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the bats or make loud noises while we watched for good reason. The park rangers didn’t want to affect the migration habits of the bats if they were going to be scared off by camera flashes or crowds of people cheering… yes cheering happens.

The clock hit 8:00pm and the sun was setting. The first bat appeared scouting for the others. Once that bat signaled the coast was clear with a loud shriek, dozens of bad came out at a time. There were around 300 Mexican bats that came out of the caves! It was fun to watch. It was soon too dark to see the rest of the bats. Chris and I walked back to our RV after an exciting day of exploring and learning. Our next destination would be the Big Bend National Park in Texas.

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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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