Preface

2015 Spring, I went on exchange program at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) from my home college, National Chiao Tung University. The application started from last year, which was long and complicated; however, it was meaningful and unforgettable trip. After the exchange program, I went on one month trip in different cities in United States. This book is based on one of my blogs, cmu.heron.me, which I kept updating during this trip.

Before this trip, I had been to many places already including England for 20 days, Japan for 4 times, Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, China, and so on. When I was 18 years old, I had been to Stanford for its summer program, where I took classes and also travelled around after the program. The cities I had been to at that time includes San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, etc. Since I had also travelled in Hawaii with my family last year, this trip would be my third time in United States.

It was a long trip, I had been through hard times, but also happy times meeting friends. To move fast and be flexible in the journey, I don't plan. Yes, I don't plan for the trips, but I know which direction I am heading to. Usually, I book the flight tickets one or two weeks before the trip, and book the accommodation one week beforehand. I start to think where should I go when I arrive that place, so I can always change my plan to meet more friends or just casually talk to any person I met within the trip. I even enjoy the time randomly walking around in the cities or being lost. Instead of visiting all the tourist spots, which are listed online, I prefer having a relaxing time, and listen to stories.

This book has 13 chapters in total, which covers my trip from the preparation to the trips after my exchange program. For chapter 1, it was written when I was in Taiwan and prepared for the trip. For chapter 2 to chapter 7, they are stories I wrote during the school semester. For chapter 8 to chapter 12, they were written when I visited different cities after the exchange program, and I wrote one post per day regularly. Finally, chapter 13 is the ending of the book, but not ending of my journey.