Planning My First International Trip of 2019: San Diego, California

By the time my next trip comes around, I’ll have gone six months without any international travel (and to be honest, without much domestic travel, either). This is, by far, my longest stint of staying domestic in nearly seven years of living abroad. It seems ridiculously long (especially for someone who writes about travel!).

In reality, though, these six months have FLOWN by. In this time, I’ve been finishing up my master’s program, started a certificate program through University of California (for college counseling), turned 30, hosted my entire family for the holiday season, become an official legal resident of Mexico, fostered a dog I found on the street, got my driver’s license and a car, and SO.MUCH.MORE.

My next trip (and actually, the only one I have slated for 2019 so far, GASP!) is to San Diego, to complete a half-marathon with my sister.

San Diego Ocean Beach scene
Ocean Beach, San Diego (Photo: Derek Story via Unsplash)

I’d like to say we’ve meticulously planned it out, but pretty much all the credit goes to her, from booking the perfect Airbnb to choosing the dates to even planning daily activities and which restaurants we’ll eat at.

The only thing I had to do was book my flights (I tried out JustFly to find the cheapest ones). It’s about half the cost to fly to Tijuana and take the Cross Border Express to San Diego from Puerto Vallarta, versus flying right into San Diego, so that’s what I’ve opted to do. The one downside of living in this paradise is that the flight connections aren’t that great (unless you’re heading to Canada, eh!).

This will be my fourth time in San Diego, and my sister’s second, and we’ve both already seen and “done” pretty much all the major sightseeing activities. Our trip is more about spending some time together and relaxing.

With all the “bucket-list” items out of the way already, our plan for San Diego focuses on food and outdoor physical activity.

While I love the food in Mexico – especially the produce – I do miss American dining when it comes to fabulous vegetarian dishes (sorry!), and San Diego is known for having some delicious and inventive vegetarian-friendly options.

Both my sister and I are psyched to spend time outside, for opposite reasons. She’s coming from Michigan (which I’d argue has some of the dreariest weather in the world aside from the Arctic), and I’m coming from west coast Mexico, which is oppressively hot and humid this time of year.

Food and Fitness Over 4 Full Days in San Diego

San Diego beach from above
We’ll also be getting in some beach time (Photo: Alex Perez via Unsplash)

Day One:

  • Arrive to San Diego and pick up racing packets
  • Wander around neighborhood the bay, including Waterfront Park, because we both LOVE to walk
  • Have dinner at Isabel’s Cantina  

Day Two: 

Day Three: 

  • Half-marathon!
  • Have lunch at one of our West US faves: True Food Kitchen
  • See how we feel post-half-marathon, and either spend the day at the beach or walk around exploring
  • Have dinner on the Ocean Beach boardwalk
Sea lion in san diego
Have you ever been to San Diego if you don’t see seals/sea lions? I’d say NO (Photo: Andrews Pons via Unsplash)

Day Four: 

Day Five: 

  • Walk the beach path
  • Have breakfast at The Mission
  • Go home!

A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

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