From birth I’ve been primed for travel. I’ve lived in a variety of places: an adorable English village, California’s state capital, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain front range, the City by the Bay and Yosemite National Park. While living in England my parents decide to home school my brother and me, so that we could count our vacations around Europe as educational field trips.
Years of field trips instilled in me a great thirst for adventure and a love for new experiences. I’ve explored Western Europe, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Mexico, the Western United States, Hawaii and Taiwan. Of all of the places I’ve visited Taiwan was the most captivating.
Back in January my mom and I visited my cousin Kadie who was studying in Taiwan. Mom and I were very eager to explore this tropical island, because we knew nothing about it, nor do we speak Chinese. It was the thrill of the unknown that was so exciting!
Just like when I was a kid and mom would plan out which museums, mines, caves, castles, forests, mountains and cathedrals we would visit, I got to take the lead and I planned our 2 ½ week vacation. We shared the goal of wanting a wide variety of experiences so we could understand the essence of Taiwan. Compiling Kadie’s recommendations and my research, I created our itinerary and I took care of our lodging and transportation reservations.
From the moment the plane landed I was instantly captivated by Taiwan. I couldn’t stop smiling at the whimsical spin on everyday objects, like pens in the shape of carrots, boba tea cups with smiling cartoons, and the miniature garbage truck that played a tune similar to the Ice Cream Truck in the United States of America, beckoning the locals to bring out their trash.
I felt a kinship with Taroko Gorge National Park, because I had lived and worked in Yosemite National Park. Unlike Yosemite where potential lawsuits abound, Taroko was so raw and dangerous that it heightened our senses to the beauty around us. There were numerous warning signs saying to watch out for the poisonous snakes and to not feed the wild monkeys. It was there that I saw my first wild monkeys! I cannot wait to go back!
My mom and I both love trying unusual flavor combinations. One memorable dessert was the sausage flavored ice cream. I can’t care for the taste, but it made for a great photo opp as I dared my travel companions to try a bite.
A much yummier dessert was a shaved ice topped with mangoes and sweetened condensed milk. It was so delicious that we ordered thirds!
Our vacation to Taiwan changed me more than I was expecting. I now regularly eat Taiwanese food. I even compiled a list of the Taiwanese restaurants in the Sacramento area into an illustrated tri-fold brochure and a Google Map, that doubled as welcome home present for my cousin and for reference for me when I’m craving bbq chicken hearts or fluffy snow.
My love for motorcycles was rekindled while riding a scooter around rice fields in Taiwan. When I returned to the US I bought a Suzuki DR650!
One of the souvenir that I bought for myself were collapsible chopsticks. I love them so much that I sewed a utensil pouch to carry them with me everywhere. For years now I’ve been meaning to carry my own utensils so to avoid the single-use utensils and now I do!
I felt so at home in Taiwan that I plan to move there one day. I can’t speak highly enough about Taiwan. It’s truly a magical place.