Confession #1: I didn't always love fall.
We don't have the four seasons in Southeast Asia, where I grew up - the region lies in the tropics and the climate is regulated by the monsoon system. We did have flip flops weather all year, though. So, although the Philippines get bogged down by typhoons for half the year or so, we do get some reprieve; and there's plenty of opportunities to escape to one of the thousands of islands all year round. Can’t really complain about that, can you? I mean, look!
The first fall seasons I experienced were in Northern California; and I thought everything just turned brown and gloomy. Looking back, it's pretty safe to say that it wasn't California; it was me. I wasn't in such a good place at the time, and I was so caught up with the personal crises that I missed out on the NorCal autumn charm.
That completely changed when we moved to New Jersey in 2011.
When people think of autumn in the northeast, they immediately think of New England. I can’t really fault them for doing so. I have yet to do some leaf-peeping in any of the New England states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island), but the photos shared online by travelers and travel magazines are enough to tell me why they’re THE places that people think of. The northeast has plenty of gorgeous fall foliage to boast than just that of New England's, though. My current home state of New Jersey alone has had our eyes feasting over autumn hues.
Confession #2: I wasn't always fond of hiking.
It wasn't until the fall of 2015 that I realized how much of a fun family activity hiking actually is. Thanks to the proximity of the New Jersey Audubon's Plainsboro Preserve, my family and I finally gave hiking a shot...and we quickly fell in love with it. Since then, my family and I have gone to explore many trails of varying difficulty in the state.
I am so proud of what we have conquered, particularly how we’ve developed strength and endurance in the process. More importantly, and this may sound gross and pretentious for some, I love how we are all experiencing this growing appreciation of nature. Just like our adventures in the islands, surrounded by the sea, our children are realizing how magnificent the world is and how small we are compared to all that's around us.
We are told that we are the caretakers of the earth. That is true, to some extent. But the truth is, nature has always taken care of itself. And it has always taken care of us.
I love the conversations we share as we go through each trail, and how these conversations have allowed us to learn more about each other. As young parents of a teen and a tween, these moments are precious. I guess that's what made me fall in love with fall and hiking even more: these simple, low-key, low-budget weekend trips have given us the opportunity to bond as a family and grow even closer to each other.
I wish I could write about our experiences in each hiking trail, but at the moment, I could barely find the time to put together a photo diary. Maybe someday I will - I mean, that is my and my sister’s goal with Get There | Get Lost after all: to travel and write. For now, please enjoy these photos of fall foliage from our hiking adventures in New Jersey.