Less than three weeks after I returned from my year in Paris, I was on the road again. Over the course a month I traveled west for work, paused in the Midwest for vacation, headed east to visit family, and then flew down to the Caribbean for a volunteer trip. For the first stop on the itinerary, my mom and I were asked to help host a student workshop in Northern California with two other NEED project coworkers (see below). While we did work in San Francisco, we also had plenty of time to explore the city.
The day we arrived was the perfect combination of sunshine and cool breezes. Fresh off the plane we dropped our luggage at the hotel and headed out for lunch overlooking the bay. The next few days were full of mounds of fresh seafood, salty air, and laughter as we explored the city. One of our coworkers lived in the Bay Area so we had plenty of “local” recommendations of what to see and do; making our time as tourists feel less touristy.
San Francisco is SO BEAUTIFUL. Besides the obvious benefits of being near the ocean, the architecture is eye-catching, the homes and gardens are colorful and well-curated, and the parks are well-maintained (at least the ones we walked through). For being a fairly large city, San Francisco felt manageable to tour, had tons of green spaces, and boasted great views of the surrounding water & mountains.
First experience eating oysters (fairly positive results). Ghirardelli chocolate factory. Riding cable cars up and down the impossibly steep streets. Alcatraz (tickets are booked well in advance, so we didn’t actually get to tour the former prison; just looked at it from afar). Oakland A’s game. Walking along Pier 39. Driving through the movie set of San Andreas. Sea lions on Fisherman’s Wharf. Walking (down) Lombard Street. Wandering through China town. Golden Gate Bridge.
For most of my life, my mom has worked for The NEED Project, a non-profit that creates energy-related curriculum for K-12 teachers. During junior high, high school and college I also volunteered/interned for NEED in Washington D.C. Every summer I helped coordinate the annual Youth Awards weekend where 400-700 students, parents, and teachers from across the country gathered to be recognized for their achievements in energy education in their local classrooms. The opportunities that I had while working for NEED were pivotal in my growth as a leader. Over the years I gained valuable presentation, organization, and large-scale event planning skills and learned to confidently interact with people from all walks of life. Bonus: If you’re a teacher, be sure to check out their website… it’s full of FREE curriculum!