Study Abroad, Your Opportunity Awaits!

Come to the Study Abroad meeting today for tips on how to best plan ahead your next travel experience through Cal Poly!

Anyone that is interested in traveling abroad should come to this meeting. There are so many helpful hints that the study abroad advisors give out during this meeting. Don’t miss it!

We are lucky there are so many opportunities nowadays. With over 200 programs, Cal Poly Study Abroad advisors can help find the right fit for you. It’s always worth checking out, or forever regret it!


Life on the Road

Road trips are a remarkable way to travel by. A heavy part of traveling tends to rely on the destination, but on road trips, destination comes secondary. The trip becomes more about the journey and adventure on the road, making the final stop that much more enjoyable.

Growing up with parents who spent the majority of their (extra) money on travel, road trips were a big part of my childhood. Some of my fondest memories are on the road, because you can really get to know someone when you’re stuck in the car with them. It’s a  common saying that you get to know someone best on the road, and from personal experience, this statement couldn’t be more accurate. With nothing but the road ahead, it is easy to bond over the surroundings you’re passing.

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My siblings and me in Yosemite National Park, CA

Nomadic Matt, a popular and successful travel blogger, greatly supports road trips in the United States for several reasons. He says, “There are lots of unique national parks, cultures, music festivals, and various types of food to try around our own country.” So why not explore them? The best way to start is by simply getting in the car. Even without a destination, you can find great adventure. He says that while big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are full of activity, there is just as much life on the road that is worth seeing. “The cities are great,” he says, “but America really reveals itself in the landscape.” For more insight on road trip tips, visit Nomadic Matt’s Blog.
To get a better understanding of the impact a road trip can have on you, I spoke to Stanford sophomore Shin Mei Chan. Chan has always been involved in non-profit organizations throughout her life. She enjoys encouraging younger children in particular to explore the world while they are young. Most children aren’t given the opportunity to travel to foreign countries or exotic locations, so she said road trips are an easy way for kids to start traveling. She became passionate about road trips after taking a family road trip around the Western United States for two months over the summer of her junior year. She has opened the “Fun While You’re Young” program at numerous different elementary schools in the Bay Area, and raised money for kids in the program to go on road trips. She says, “It is immeasurably important for children to see the beauty of nature at a young age.” Children in the program are given opportunities which they wouldn’t normally get, thanks to Chan.
She even said, “On road trips, there isn’t any wifi. Your gadgets are merely useless pieces of plastic.” After the kids get back from the trip, they are enthusiastic about having another experience soon after. “To see their excitement towards nature after the trip makes it all worthwhile, Chan said. “It allows me to relive my childhood road trip through them.”
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Chan in Colorado

Another experienced road-tripper, Michael Nelson, has taken dozens of road trips around the country. Nelson is a Chico State graduate, currently employed at a travel agency in San Francisco. His passion for road trips didn’t stem from a fond childhood memory like Chan or myself, but came later on when he was in college.
“When I went to Chico, I was immediately caught up in the partying life, which was new to me,” said Michael. “I needed to step back and and re-evaluate what was important to me.” Nelson took his first big road trip by himself during Spring Break of 2012, traveling to National Parks in California. He realized that in order to get back to a healthy mental state, he would need to travel by himself and embrace his thoughts rather than other people’s. “The trip marked the beginning of a new me. I was able to clear my head and revert to my personal morals.”
Michael’s trip was just the beginning of his life changing journey. After learning for his love of nature and solitude, he continued to take road trips throughout college, and still takes several a year today. He said he was greatly inspired by the journeys of his hometown friend, Korey, who has been traveling to National Parks since high school.
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Nelson at Sugarloaf Regional Park, CA

 With the help of Michael and his knowledge on road trips, along with my own experience, I have created an road trip itinerary of 10 attractions to visit in the West Coast of the United States. There is more information on each given attraction at the bottom of the page.

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Because National Parks are amongst the most popular destinations on road trips, I wanted to get some inside perspective from Yosemite Park Ranger Suzie Howell-Olsen. She became well aware of the importance of nature and National Parks while majoring in Parks and Recreation at UC Berkeley.

Her passion for Yosemite National Park sparked when she was a young girl, on a road-trip with her family. She fell in love with the idea that road trips bring new adventure every second, with new landscapes and attractions with every mile that passes.
Howell-Olsen said that she has talked to several thousands of visitors and tourists that pass through on National Park or California road trips. “The tourists find an extreme amount of ease and satisfaction in themselves towards the end of their park experience, because they have fallen in love with the nature.”
Tourists can find road trip itineraries on the United States Parks website, a website that Howell-Olsen recommends to encourage people to visit Yosemite National Park. “Road trippers love it here, and I don’t blame them.”
Road trips are a great way to bond with others, appreciate nature’s beauty, and reflect on what is important to you. Next time you plan on traveling, consider a road-trip. It may not seem as glamorous as a European expedition, but it’s worth admiring your country’s own beauty.
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Yosemite National Park, CA

West-Coast United States Road Trip Itinerary
1. Joshua Tree, CA – The city doesn’t seem like much, but the National Park is “insane yet naturally odd,” says Nelson. This should be your first stop because there are several different moderate hikes that showcase California’s beauty.
2. Redwood National Park, CA –  Home of the largest Redwood Trees in the World! They don’t call them the serene giants for nothing. This second stop really eases the mind and helps open up a world of nature.
3. Glass Beach, CA – One of the most unique beaches in the world, as it is covered by glass particles from hundreds of years ago. The texture of the glass is unique and soft to touch, which also attracts many tourists.
4. Yosemite, CA – The point on top of Glacier Point Rock is my brother’s favorite view in all of Yosemite. The main attraction of Yosemite, Half Dome, is also amongst one of the most hiked mountains in the entire world.
5. The Grand Canyon, AZ – As we move out of California, we take a stop at the greatest canyon in the world. This is Chan’s favorite destination of her road trip. “The rock layers and deep canyon truly take you into a different world,” Chan says.
6. Colorado Rockies, CO – Further east into the US, Nelson says that the Rockies are a crucial part of the road trip because the mountains are “breathtakingly ginormous.”
7. Zion National Park, UT – As we continue north on this trip, the open canyons and rock forms are some of the most stunning views in the world. My favorite destination of my childhood road trip was Zion because when the sun’s rays hit different parts of the rock layers, supernatural colors stand out.
8. Bryce National Park, UT – Familiar with the Disneyland Roller Coaster Thunder Mountain? The design of this ride was centered around the landscape of these unique rock formations.
9. Yellowstone, WY – Home of the famous geyser Old Faithful, this destination is easily the most unique due to its diverse amount of attractions, says Nelson.
10. Crater Lake, OR – A perfect way to end the trip. At an elevation of 6,000 ft., the views from the surrounding cliffs overlook over 20 miles of lake.



The Best Pizza is found in Italy

What makes Italy’s Pizza so amazing?

Italy is not only known for their ancient ruins and attractions for people from all around the world to see, but they’re also well known for their food, especially their pizza. With fresh mozzarella, marinara sauce, and crisp basil on top, Italians have truly mastered the art form of pizza making. NOT TO MENTION THE CRUST! (Yummmm!)

lly pizza.

A Last Minute Turkish Bath

I have always wondered how an airport actually works. With different flights coming in and out every single minute, there is great possibility for error. However, there has to be a certain amount of reliability and accuracy in order for an airport to be functional.  International flights in particular are only somewhat predictable, as they depend upon many worldly factors to succeed and get everyone where they want to go. With thousands of planes filtering in and out of the airport every second of the day, there is never a certain point in time where we can be confident of our traveling plans.

It was just a couple of summers ago that I was waiting patiently to board my flight, excited to venture to my destination: Rwanda, Africa. Just as we had all boarded the plane, the captain abruptly took the microphone from the flight attendant’s hands. She had just been explaining the emergency procedures, but the captain clearly had something more urgent and important. He immediately notified the passengers that the flight must be cancelled, and that we could all be flown out the following morning from Istanbul. I was confused and frustrated at first, but I realized I had just gotten the opportunity to explore Istanbul for 1 more day

Excited for the day ahead, my mom and I rushed out of the airport with anticipation of what  our next move was going to be. We quickly went back to our town house overlooking the beautiful ocean of Istanbul, with an amazing view of the Hagia Sophia to our right, with the continent of Asia just to our left. Our excitement for this sudden change of plans was unmeasurable — Istanbul is one of the most electrifying and interesting old cities of our old world. Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 2.43.29 PM

Before my mom and I ventured off into the city, we looked at a brochure we found at the Grand Bazaar the previous day, hoping for some idea or inspiration on our next move. One particular picture caught my attention: Turkish Bath.

Now, we don’t have Turkish Baths where I’m from in the Bay Area, so we decided to take full advantage and immerse ourselves into the Turkish culture. We arrived to Kilic Ali Pasa Hamami, the mosque in which the turkish bath was, after a hectic train ride across the city. I will never forget walking into the mosque: The marble
floors and walls were breathtaking, along with the giant dome meticulously designed hundreds of years prior.Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 2.10.05 PM

We slipped into the bathrobes provided, and were escorted into the bathing room. The women encouraged us to undress, as it is a tradition of Turkish baths to be completely nude. Of course I was a little uncomfortable at first, but the women who worked there made me feel very comfortable. Turkish Baths are traditionally supposed to get rid of all the toxins and dead skin on the outermost layer of your body, and thats exactly what they did.

Going to the Turkish Bath was one of the most rewarding and memorable things I’ve ever done in my entire life. It made the flight the next morning to Rwanda, Africa, that much more enjoyable.

Learning to Go with the Flow

Traveling the world is very unpredictable. Our itineraries can get messed up and changed at any moment. There are so many things that are out of our control as travelers, and it’s our job to adapt to changes and learn how to deal with them in the best way possible. Going with the flow is very important says world traveler  Nomadic Matt. He teaches his followers that it is key to adapt to your surroundings with any spontaneous disaster that comes towards you. Getting too stressed and worried while you’re traveling takes away from the trip. “It may be harder some times than others, but it’s important to keep your calm and take in everything around you while you’re in the moment.”

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Having a plan can be the most important part of your trip, but it can also be very restricting. In another travel blog called Unexpected Gifts of Travel, Anneli Rufus says that there is “light-heartedness” to traveling without plans. She says that traveling without an itinerary is actually “psychologically stimulating,” and that it can force your brain to make spontaneous decisions. Whether traveling 30 minutes to the town next to you, or traveling  half-way across the world, something unplanned could happen. But this isn’t always a bad thing. Spur of the moment changes can bring out your strengths, whether you realize it or not. Maybe you learn that you’re not very flexible to changes in plans, and that sticking with an itinerary is the best thing for you to have a good trip. “A going with the flow mentality can lead to new opportunities, because you never know what’s coming your way.”

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Having a go with the flow mentality can really show how strong you are in stressful situations. In a National Geographic article, Tedd Wood says that people are satisfied with themselves when they learn to adapt with their surroundings. “You can accomplish your goals which makes you enjoy your trip that much more.” It’s important to have goals on big trips because it shows that you’re looking to get something out of the experience. The outcome of the trip can be a lot more satisfying once your goals have been achieved.