Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in southern California.

About Me

with 10 comments

In New York CityQuick Bio:

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.

Scenes from DC, taken from about 2006 to 2010

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:


Email // crysbae [at] gmail [dot] com

Twitter // crysb

Or simply comment on this page.

Written by Crystal Bae

July 9th, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Posted in

10 Responses to 'About Me'

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  1. Okay, I think we should be friends, or at least blog pals. Not in a creepy way, but in a mutual respect kinda way. I love geography and I’m trained in aesthetics. You love aesthetics and are trained in geography. I’m definitely going to follow your blog, and I think you’d like mine too. and

    Nice work 🙂

    Geographic Designer

    19 Apr 12 at 10:38 am

  2. Sounds good to me! I looked through your blogs – great designs. The combination of aesthetics and data science is what attracts me to geography.

    Crystal Bae

    19 Apr 12 at 10:50 am

  3. When do you plan on leaving for your big cross country tour?

    Jasmine Reese

    10 Apr 13 at 1:09 am

  4. Hi Jasmine, we plan on leaving around the end of May. I’ll post more up on the blog soon! Are you planning a similar trip?

    Crystal Bae

    10 Apr 13 at 6:06 am

  5. Hiya! You guys made it!! Whoop whoop! Wasn’t the Avenue of the Giants just gorgeous?!

    Michelle Conn

    25 Aug 13 at 12:06 pm

  6. Yes, one of our favorite parts of the ride for sure!

    Crystal Bae

    25 Aug 13 at 12:31 pm

  7. I just read the whole adventure, from planning stages to ‘settling on the West Coast’ in one shot. Thank you for entertaining me, and reinforcing my desire to (one day) make a similar journey.

    Erik the H

    11 Sep 13 at 8:22 am

  8. Thank you for the kind words – I loved sharing the journey through the blog. Let me know if you have any questions about planning or anything else.

    Crystal Bae

    11 Sep 13 at 9:45 am

  9. Crystal and Adam, We met outside of Gackle back on June 30, (Day 27 of our cross-country bicycle trip, heading east). We exchanged quick info of respective parts of our trips with your telling us about the Gackle lodging. We did stay with hosts Jason and Jeanni. Walt and I made it to Boston on August 19–66 bicycling days and eleven days of rest. Sounds like you made it to Santa Barbara. Best wishes, Ann and Walt

    Ann and Walt Hoffmann

    25 Oct 13 at 5:38 pm

  10. Hi Ann and Walt! Nice to hear from you again. It was great to meet and we’re happy to hear you made it safely. What a summer, huh? Lucky you were able to meet Jason and Jeanni – they weren’t around when we stayed at the Honey Hub but Jason’s father showed us great hospitality.

    Crystal Bae

    26 Oct 13 at 6:07 pm

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