You’re reading the blog of Crystal Bae, a graduate student of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I completed my undergraduate studies at the George Washington University with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). My master’s degree is in Geography, also from UCSB. My passions are urban geography, transportation and mass transit systems, bicycling, photography, modernist literature, and learning languages.
I’m an urban explorer. Megacities fascinate me, though I also love natural landscapes, hiking, and the outdoors. I consider myself a geo-nerd and will rarely turn down a chance to visit a UNESCO World Heritage site or national park. In undergrad, my friend and I hosted a specialty music show on our campus radio station called Wanderlust – our way of traveling the world through song. That curiosity into how people live throughout the world doesn’t leave you. It’s also the reason I love to study languages – the more widely you can communicate, the more you understand about the world around you.
Of the cities I’ve been to thus far, my favorites are Montreal, Seoul, Cairo, Paris, Chicago, Rabat, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, and Richmond. Those are the ones I’d go back to in a heartbeat – and all for different reasons.
In summer 2010, I went to Morocco to conduct geographic research on the Amazigh (Berber) languages, and then took a solo trip to Southeast Asia to visit friends and family. I started in the Philippines and journeyed to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. I met amazing people all the while, many of whom welcomed me into their lives and into their homes without hesitation. Travel is about breaking down barriers and making those connections that give you living proof that the world can get along.
I’m also an insatiable bike tourer. I rode my bike across the United States from DC to Santa Barbara with my partner Adam in summer 2013 when we moved out here. I encourage everyone who can to pedal around and see the world.
Washington, DC is my home.
There are days when I’m enamored with each beat underneath these sidewalks, and love even the way we hate summers here (swampy and humid) and hate winters here (skin-cracking freeze). Most days, the frenzy of energy to make change and the strength of the local community is enough to make me want to stay forever.
I’d love your thoughts on any matter related to the blog, travel, writing, or anything else that doesn’t readily fall under those categories. Here’s how to get in touch.
In the Media:
- Profiled in UCSB GradPost, September 2013. Graduate Student in the Spotlight: Crystal Bae
- Featured in the Adventure Cycling Association Blog, August 2013. Vicarious Bicycle Travel
- Profiled in George Washington Today, June 2010: Voracious Voyager
// crysbae [at] gmail [dot] com
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