Ever since I can remember, I've always dreamed of going to Paris. I have always admired French art - whether it was in the form of a sculpture or a film. For summer break, I had sometime in between work to travel, and what better place to go to than Paris. We spent two weeks total in France. One week was spent in Paris and the other week was spent in Saint Tropez.
Before traveling, I wanted to make sure I saw the famous destinations as well as some hidden gems. I read countless of travel blogs and jotted down recommendations from family and friends. I will say, between the jet lag and the food comas that bread can put you in, there never seemed to be enough time spent in Paris. There are countless of things to do and more ways to fall more in love with the city than you were before. I can tell you without a doubt, these were two of the best weeks of my life.
Below I have curated my 'go to' recommendations when visiting Paris, as well as some photos I took in between croissant eating. There are so many more things to do than just this list but these are some of the things we did do and loved.
Looking back at this year, hands down, my favorite trip of the year was traveling to Thailand with my family. If there was one place I always dreamed of traveling to it was Thailand. If you don't know, I am half Thai. My grandparents on my father's side were born and raised there. Working in the modeling industry as an Asian-American, I am often reminded of my Asian identity. This sparked a deep fascination with the country and my family's history there.
We spent two and a half weeks in Thailand. We explored Bangkok and Chiang Mai. In addition to visiting popular tourist attractions, we went to local hubs and street markets. Experiencing not only the tourist areas of Thailand was extremely important to my family and me. We stayed at a variety of places: from nicer hotels in Bangkok to sleeping bags in an outdoor house in the countryside of Chiang Mai.
On this trip, I enjoyed exchanging basic Thai language with the locals, visiting Buddhist temples, and cooking traditional Thai dishes with my grandfather.
This truly was a trip of a lifetime. Here are some photos taken whilst exploring Thailand.
What do you get when you have two girls eager to travel, a rental car, and the country of Greece to explore? A road trip of course.
About a month ago, my mom and I traveled to Greece for two weeks. Instead of visiting Mykonos or Santorini, we wanted to see more of the country, so we rented a car and had ourselves a road trip. I was instantly taken aback at how beautiful this country is. To say we had a blast is an understatement.
We started off our two-week journey in Loutra Loutrakiou, Greece. We spent one night here. Before we left Loutra Loutrakiou, we went to the Pozar Thermal Baths for a swim.
Our next stop was Kalabaka, Greece. We went to Kalabaka with the intention of exploring Meteora. Meteora is an area filled with large rock formations that overlook city of Kalabaka. Meteora is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. While here, we dedicated a day solely to hiking Meteora and exploring the Eastern Orthodox monasteries that are scattered throughout the rock formations.
After Meteora, my mom and I were craving some beach time. So, we took our car and drove through the Grecian mountains to Agia Pervaski. Agia Pervaski is a beach located on the coast of Northern Athens. We spent the majority of our trip here. For so long, I had heard about the Grecian seas but to see it in person was something else. The water is crystal blue and the beach consisted of rocks instead of sand. In Agia Pervaski, we spent our days drinking way too much coffee, tanning on the beach, and reading an absurd amounts of books.
On our last day in Agia Pervaski, we drove to Halkidiki, Greece to scuba dive. We initially planned a snorkeling excursion but my mom and our instructor convinced me to scuba dive, and I'm so happy they did. This was my first time scuba diving, so I took an informative course, suited up, and then dove into the sea and explored a coral reef.
To end our trip, we spent our last few days in Thessaloniki, Greece. Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece. We stayed at a hotel that overlooked Aristotelous Square and the Aegean Sea. To go from a secluded beach to a bustling city was an interesting transition.
Overall, I found my trip to Greece extremely immersive. Through traveling, I learned a lot about this beautiful country and its historical foundations.
Thank you mom for fulfilling my dreams of visiting Greece. Exploring this beautiful country with you was what made this trip so special. This was a trip for the books.
My college search has been a two-year long journey. I looked at, and traveled to, colleges all over the United States looking for places where I felt that special “Aha” moment. Compared to most kids, I applied to a ton of school because I wanted to keep my options open. And the crazy thing is, I wouldn’t change my college search process for anything. Because this long journey has led me to the college where I am meant to be for the next four years: The University of California, Davis.
I received my email that I had been admitted into UC Davis about two weeks ago. And to be honest, it wasn’t an email I was waiting to receive. I had already heard back from the majority of my schools and made a top list of the schools I was considering. The reason that UC Davis wasn’t in my “top” list was because I really didn’t know much about the school. I applied on a whim – not really knowing what the outcome would be.
Once I was accepted at UC Davis, I asked friends of mine that lived in California about the school. Once person told me, “UC Davis is like a hidden gem.” After seeing the school for myself, I have to say, that statement couldn’t be truer. Once I walked on campus, I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of happiness. My first thought was “I feel so lucky” and that’s when I knew that this is where I was meant to be.
There are so many things I already love about this school, such as: the friendliness of the students and faculty, the adorable town of Davis filled with coffee shops, farmers markets, and stores, the beautiful campus filled with trees and flowers, the prestige of UC Davis, the areas of study that align with my interests, the CA lifestyle offered, the location near Sacramento and San Francisco, and so much more.
Overall, I am thrilled to say that I will be attending the University of California Davis, Class of 2022! Now I just need to buy a bike…
The majority of the photos below are from the arboretum on campus.
Just last week, my mom and I took an impromptu trip to Colorado. It was more of a girl’s week than anything else. We stopped at National Parks to take pictures, spent a couple of days at our ranch, went to the Meeker Sheep Dog Trials, shopped at Peal Street in Boulder, toured Colorado University Boulder and celebrated my mom’s birthday. We were able to see the towns of Grand Junction, Eagle, Meeker and Boulder all during the short visit. It was truly a trip to remember.
Something my mom and I share is a love for road trips and wildlife photography. We started going on road trips together when I was about 6 years old. I used to compete in dance competitions and my mom always took me. Then when I turned 13 we started going on a longer road trips to photo shoots and modeling jobs. We would throw some clothes in a bag and hit the road. Even though we both will be the first to admit we aren't any professional photographers I would like to think we are professional road trippers.
As I’m reflecting on my childhood years and preparing for the transition to college, all I can say is I truly don't know where I would be without her.
Mom, I can't thank you enough for the past eighteen years. I'm forever grateful for you. I love you, happy birthday.
For our last excursion in Saint Lucia, the girls and I decided we wanted to go sailing. So we booked a sailboat that would sail us to Soufrière. We relaxed on the sail boat all morning while traveling to our destination. Once we reached Soufrière we swam in a waterfall and lounged at Sulfur baths, ate at a cacao farm, and snorkeled. To say the least, the day was packed.
This last excursion was great for us because we got a chance to see the island one last time before we left to go home. It’s also amazing to be in the Caribbean Sea and see Saint Lucia from afar and fully understand that you have been living there for five weeks now.
As I’m writing this, we are in a taxi headed to the airport to travel back to the United States. So reflecting on this trip - this past month was everything I had ever hoped it would be and ten times more. I truly can’t explain how grateful I am to have had this opportunity.
I had the chance to live like a “local” Lucian for the month and, fully immerse myself into the community. We snorkeled and kayaked in Marigot Bay, zip lined in Denry’s rainforests, ate local Lucian meals (my favorite is roti), shopped at the street market in the Castries, sailed the Caribbean Sea, met incredible people, and volunteered to help the children of Saint Lucia.
Taking this experience forward, I want to advocate for the environment and children in need. It’s important for us to reflect on what we are doing to our earth and the people on it. Before going on this trip I was already interested in the environment. But after seeing how truly incredible this Earth is and exploring its multiple wonders, I want to help protect our home.
In a few days, I will be traveling to New York City to attend the Youth Assembly at the United Nations. This conference will discuss topics covering the environment, the economy, social issues, and children. I will be taking the new knowledge and experience that I have gained in Saint Lucia and apply that information at the conference and in my future actions. I look forward to meeting other inspired individuals and working together on how we can accomplish some of the UN’s sustainable goals. So be on the lookout for some new blog posts about how we can all work together to achieve some of these sustainable goals. Until then, I hope you enjoy these last few pictures from this trip.
Two weeks ago the girls and I went on an excursion in Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia. This adventure included kayaking to a private island, docking our kayaks, then diving in the Eastern Caribbean Sea to snorkel. It was hands down one of the best days of my life. I was in complete awe the whole day.
Something that I have found interesting is every local that I have spoke with so far has an immense appreciation for the Island. Our tour guide for the day was a local Lucian. He was discussing with us how he is constantly seeing the island change because of global warming. This consists of coral bleaching, ocean levels rising, and extensive amounts of sea weed that is collecting on their beaches.
The locals on the island are the backbone of Saint Lucia. They know that if their country is not stable than nothing will work. I can't tell you how many people have been open to helping us or just telling us about the history of their home.
Saint Lucia is truly a wonderful place. I highly recommend this incredible island to anyone who is interested in a remote getaway. And if you do visit, defiantly check out DFH's tours, seriously one of the best days of my life.
We made it to Saint Lucia! And let me just say this island does not disappoint. Saint Lucia is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It's actually the only country in the world named after a woman.
For those of you who don't know, we are in Saint Lucia to volunteer at a child advocacy home. We will be here for a month. On this trip Katie Schmid and Kelly Schmid came with me to do volunteer work. I met Katie two years ago when living in Miami, and since then Katie has been one of my best friends! Before this trip I had never met Kelly, Katie's sister, but the three of us are a great combination.
This is actually not my first time in the Caribbean, I went to the British Virgin Islands when I was younger with my family. But this is my first time in Saint Lucia. We arrived last Monday, and have been settling down and getting everything sorted out before we start work next Monday. We seriously lucked out on the location; we live right next to the beach. The ocean water is crystal clear.
Tomorrow we start work, and we are all so excited to meet the children. The girls and I have planned some exciting activities and excursions to explore the island with them.
Yesterday, we went snorkeling and kayaking in Marigot Bay. So keep an eye out for a new blog post filled with underwater pictures. You can also follow my Instagram account @nicolechinuntdet, where I am constantly updating with pictures during this trip. Till then I hope you enjoy these photos.
Last month, my mom and I traveled to California for a week to tour colleges on the West Coast. As most of my friends know, due to my internships and modeling, I am taking an extra year to finish high school. And I'm really happy I am. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
We first flew to San Diego. Our hotel room had a balcony that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. We would leave the doors open, so the fresh crisp morning air would fill the entire room. Every morning, I woke up early just so I could read a book near the doors. There is truly something special about the calming sound of the ocean.
One morning my mom and I drove to La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Cove is a small beach tucked between sandstone cliffs. We heard about a secret cave, and decided to check it out. The only entrance to the cave led us through a seashell shop. From there, we walked down a steep set of dark stairs that eventually led us to a breathtaking view. There was a beam of sun peeking into the cave from above, and water crashing into a set of rocks below.
Later that afternoon we drove to Los Angeles. During our time in Los Angeles we toured more colleges. I also got to see some of my friends that live in Los Angeles, which was really nice. Although our time in California was short, we had such an amazing time. I already miss California and look forward to visiting again soon.
I've been back home in North Carolina for about a week now. And I am currently reminiscing about my days I spent in Miami this past month. The white sand beaches and blue skies have me sold.
I went to Miami to meet with a new agency, I recently signed with. This was my second time I have lived in Miami for more than month. Every time I visit Miami I always find new places to explore in South Beach.
On this trip I discovered my new favorite espresso coffee shop, David's Caffecito, my favorite smoothie bar, Cafe Del Mar, and my favorite acai bowl restaurant, Under the Mango Tree.
South Beach is infused with different colors on every corner. While traveling to castings, coffee shops or the beach you could always find me with my camera in my backpack. I wanted to share some of my photos from this past month. Hope you enjoy. Xx