Category Archives: Travel

Days 17-18: The home stretch

Our final event was in Chicago’s Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower), which is the tallest building in the city. We were on the 99th floor and got passes to the Sky Deck! The view was awesome.

We had a lot of people this time around, and demoing services, presenting devices, and meeting with IT Pros went very well.

After the AM and PM events, I said goodbye to some of my managers/colleagues, and joined some MSFT folks in the Signature Lounge at the Hancock Tower, which is the second tallest building in the city. Apparently Jerry Springer lives in that building…? Some random person told us that, anyway…

This morning, I said goodbye to Ariel (or, rather, he woke me up as he was leaving so we could say goodbye) since he had an earlier flight than I.

I got up soon thereafter, and went to a delicious pizza place called PIzano’s and ate in the bar (getting a lemonade of course). I’m getting used to the whole, “Can I see your ID?” business…just wondering how long it will take before people stop asking. xP

Here are some final shots of the city I took during my walk around today (two of pictures are me doing a handstand on the Sky Deck from last night):

Because today isn’t over yet, I may edit this post and update it!

Days 14-16: Visiting Indy and Chicago

On Sunday morning, Whinnie and I woke up early (at the crack of dawn, basically) and ate at Mel’s Cafe for breakfast. A cab drive later, we said our goodbyes in the airport. Many tears were shed (actually none were, contrary to what Whinnie feared). We had a great time and saw a lot of the city in just a day. I hope we are able to visit each other again sometime. 🙂


(This was something I LOL’d at in Canada.)


Now, unfortunately, I didn’t have a direct flight to Indianapolis from Toronto… so my first destination was Chicago airport (which I would end up visiting later on, too). The flight was only about an hour or so, but when I landed and go to my next gate, I discovered my flight had been canceled and that I had been bumped onto a later flight….

What did that mean? I had to spend 4+ hours in an airport. So I watched the MLG stream of Super Smash Bros. Melee (which was very entertaining).

Finally, FINALLY we boarded (it was delayed, too, which meant more waiting) and flew. For 45 minutes. I could have driven up there in a fraction of the time. But wait, it gets better! When I landed, I had to wait twenty minutes for my bag to appear in the baggage claim! And after that, the taxi service was so inefficient that I had to wait another fifteen minutes in line until a taxi showed up! And then, even though the cab driver said he took credit cards, at the very end of the ride he discovered his card reader didn’t work. So I had to stop by an ATM and grab cash!

Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated at this point. But the room I had to myself at the hotel made up for it. SO. Much.

My room had a living room area, bathroom, kitchen, and lounging space. Whoa baby.

I slept comfortably that night. But it would be my third night in a row of getting 4.5 hours of sleep.

The next morning, we had the AM event that was at a great venue in downtown Indianapolis. It was spacious and had great air conditioning (perfect for the warmer temperatures in Indy).

Because he found out I was in the area, Taylor Brazelton reached out to me via Twitter and asked if I was available to meet. So during my break, Taylor picked me up and showed me around downtown Indianapolis. It was great to finally meet him, since we’ve been following each other on Twitter for quite some time and have a shared passion for Microsoft and technology.

We went to Rocket Fizz which is a candy and soda shop first, and went to the mall in the area and hung out at his place. I ordered Chick-Fil-A for the first time! Taylor and I talked tech, life, and other things.

He was also able to go to the PM Surface event that day, which had an especially active, responsive audience. It was a great event.

Here are some of the pictures I drew with the Surface Pro 3, via the Pen, on OneNote.

Eventually Taylor and I had to say our goodbyes but it was great to meet him in person. Hopefully he can visit me in Seattle sometime!

WP_20140603_08_49_18_Pro cropped

Stephen (MSFT guy) met Ariel and I at our hotel and we began our drive to Chicago. After several hours of driving, he gave us a great tour of Chicago and bought us lunch at Al’s #1 Italian Beef which serves legendary Chicago-style beef, hot dogs, and more. Delicious!


I love this city so far. I want to explore it more for sure, so I might edit this blog post later with embellishments on the rest of the day’s activities.

Edit: So I have decided to do so.

Ariel and I explored downtown Chicago. There was a large amount of people near Cloud Gate (location of The Bean) because some band I didn’t know was playing. Here are some pictures!

Then I met up with Destiny and a few other folks for dinner at David Bruke’s Primehouse. Fantastic place!

Tomorrow is the final event of the series for me. I’m excited but saddened at the same time. There are supposed to be a lot of people at this event – should be great!

Days 11-13: Oh, Canada! (Sorry, I just had to)

LA’s event was a good one, I got an opportunity to create some Surface Pro 3 art:


Maybe I’ll post more of what I drew later. 🙂

The next day I got up early (incredible early…) and got to the airport. Ariel and I were about three hours early to our respective flights. So I watched a movie on Netflix to pass the time.

I went on to Air Canada because my next stop was Toronto, Ontario! I decided to go visit my friend Whinnie, because I’d never been able to meet her in person before!

So going through customs was interesting…because I had to explain to the officer that I was going to Canada to visit a friend, who I had met online, specifically Twitter, and was a fellow Sonic the Hedgehog fan…yeah, anyway, luckily he told me that he’s heard much weirder stories before.

So eventually I got to the lobby of the airport, and met up with Whinnie! Since I’ve known her (about two years or so) this was the first time we were able to meet in person.


So that evening she introduced me to one of her roommates, recommended a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and showed me around her university, UW (not University of Washington, University of Waterloo. Apparently the two get confused sometimes).

The next morning, we hopped on a buss and headed to downtown Toronto. Whinnie had a planned list of things to do there, so we went to the CN Tower (which until 2010 was the tallest building in the world),  Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, and to Eaton Mall. The view from the tower was breathtaking! There were also glass floors that we could look down through and see to the bottom. We also embarked on an exciting motion ride that had seemingly nothing to do with the tower, or Canada, or…much else. But it was fun nonetheless! Then we went to the aquarium which was very impressive. We probably spent like an hour and a half there! Here are some of the pictures below.

We spent the whole day down there, and it was so much fun! Getting ready for sleep now, because I have yet another flight to catch tomorrow…

Days 9-10: San Fran event, meetup, and LA!

Yesterday’s event at San Francisco was great. I really do enjoy presenting Surface Pro 3 and Windows Phone 8.1 Preview. There’s something especially fulfilling for me when I answer people’s questions and/or show off features of the device.

While taking notes during the Q&A sessions, I decided to try my hand at drawing something on the Pro 3. Here’s a snippet of something I tried:

OneNote Peak

It was surprisingly easy to draw this with the advanced tech of the Pro 3. My wrist wrested perfectly against the screen as I drew and didn’t interfere with my drawing at all.

The next day, I finally was able to sleep in. Some friends of mine from Twitter, Edwin Rodriguez-Duplesis and Shawn Jackson, live near the area so Ariel and I met up with them around noon or so and explored China town and a few other places in the San Francisco area.

We got into a plane to LA, and this was a great flight because I was the only passenger in the plane that had an empty seat next adjacent to me. LEG ROOM! I was able to upgrade myself to a window seat, nonetheless.


I was able to use my Lumia 1020’s 1080p video capture to record both the take-off and landing out of the window. Maybe I’ll upload it to YouTube when I get back home!

In the meantime, I have another event to prepare for! Signing off.


Days 5-8: San Diego and San Francisco

I spent the weekend (days 5-7) in San Diego and took a bit of a vacation. Here are some pictures!

It was good taking a break. I left San Diego this morning and met Ariel in the San Francisco airport around noon, checked in to our hotel (with an outstanding view from my room), and we immediately set off to find a place to eat.


After we ate at this neato pizza place, we ventured to Lombard St, “The Crookedest Street in the World.” It had a lot of people taking pictures and a lot of traffic going through.

Then we walked around some of the docking areas and saw a bunch of sea lions barking and flopping around. We saw street performers, magicians, and a bunch of other people. Then we walked probably a good three miles or so to Golden Gate Bridge. Got some good pictures including some sunset shots!

Miles the Monkey gets an honorable mention (last photo), as he was a trooper for the entire trip and didn’t complain once.

After all of today’s walking, we decided to grab a cab to get back to the hotel…Time to get some sleep so I can wake up early tomorrow.

Day 4: Presenting in Atlanta!

The Surface Pro 3 is an outstanding device.

Here are some pictures of me holding it at one of the Surface events in Atlanta today.

We had two more events today! Getting the process down even better for events and presenting.

I’ll make it easy for you: do you want to purchase the Surface Pro ? Yes. You do.

Had an especially fun time today repping Windows Phone and showing folks how Cortana worked in 8.1 Preview and the like. Someone asked me in passing if I really liked my Nokia phone. He looked at me skeptically and said, “and, seriously, all biases aside.” I told him that my love for Windows Phone was literally the reason I was there. The devices I had were mine, no one elses, and I’ve been a fan for years. He seemed convinced.

Also getting to know my team members more. Love working in this environment, with these people, with these devices.

Tomorrow I’m off to California for the weekend, and then into the week!

Day 3: Arriving in Atlanta

Today’s will be brief…went to Johnny’s Luncheon for breakfast in NY (great little place) and met up with Ariel to embark to our next destination: Atlanta!

We had dinner with a group of Microsofties and it was delicious…but took a while to get there.

And by take a while, I mean now it’s 11pm. OK well it wasn’t that bad.

Gotta be up early for what I’m doing tomorrow. Signing off.

Edit: Pictures!

Day 2: Surface Event Day!

As you all know, today Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3. This thing is a beast. It essentially is the official “laptop replacement” tablet. You can read all about it here if you’re curious.

I was involved in one of the Surface events today in NY. I had the pleasure of meeting Destiny, the rest of my team of three, as well as many other Microsoft people including the other team of presenters.

I was at one of the events, and it was fun. 🙂

But now my feet hurt because I think the dress shoes I wore were too small. Oh well. The sacrifices you make for quality work.

Planning on sleeping tomorrow – we’ll see.

Day 1: To New York!

This morning I woke up at 3:30am, said my goodbyes to my mother,  and left SeaTac around 7.

Typically, accomplishing something as simple as finding my gate would be a difficulty considering my directional competence (or lack thereof). Luckily, however, my comrade Ariel Zlatkovski met me at the airport and helped lead me to the correct gate.

Ariel is part of the team with whom I will be traveling on this trip. I better be careful what I say about him because he might read this sometime. But he is now sitting behind me in the plane and cannot see what I am writing for the time being.

After the plane landed (and at least one complete listen through to Epica’s newest album, The Phantom Enigma), Ariel and I met up with Steven who’s a Microsoftie in charge of our team (and a whole lot of other things), took a cab, and headed to our first hotel in New York City.

Once we settled in and got our rooms in the Hilton Fashion District hotel, we ventured to the heart of NYC and saw some awesome places. We ended up visiting a farmer’s market and eating pizza in Madison Square Park. See the pictures below!

Although New York is a fun place to visit so far, I must say…it may not be some place I’d want to live necessarily. 🙂 And I thought Seattle’s traffic was bad…

A few days ago I had contacted the competitive Smash Bros. Melee player Lil Chen (or “Milktea,” to which she is referred in the Smash community) and asked her about meeting up in NY and chatting (since that’s where she lives). I had discovered her on the web via Twitter and a part of the renowned Smash Bros. Documentary, and as a long-time player of the Smash series (since ’99) and a recent admirer of the competitive scene myself, I thought it would be fun to meet a real Smash champ. During the evening, she and I met and talked about the Super Smash Bros. Melee community and how we could find new ways to be more welcoming of new members (she also agreed to sign my GameCube controller). Super stoked to have met her!

Now I am ready for the event tomorrow…or at least, I think I am. My blazer and slacks are hung up and ready for tomorrow and everything (that means I’m ready, right?)! Time for some sleep!


PS. Let’s play a game in the picture above called “I Spy Ariel.”



Welcome to my travel blog! I’m glad you’re here. I’ll be posting updates about my experiences of exploring the world…and beyond (that is, of course, assuming I eventually get the opportunity to travel to outer space).

My first opportunity to do this will be when I travel with Microsoft from May 19 to June 6th, to New York City, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Chicago, and of course, Seattle. During the weekends, I’ll be able to visit family in San Diego, and my friend Whitney Chen in Toronto, ON, Canada.


I received this opportunity via Presenter Group, a Microsoft vendor which focuses on providing trainings, demonstrations, and other services to Microsoft. I got acquainted with the owner, Jared Marino, about a month ago while seeking a job opportunity to help him with Presenter Group’s website. Before our second meeting started, he told me that a special opportunity had come up, and asked me whether or not I’d like to travel the country presenting devices with Microsoft. I was thrilled at the proposition and eagerly accepted, and had the opportunity to meet Lillian Eng, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft. Following our meeting, I was given non-disclosure agreements to sign, and was welcomed to the team.

Leaks and NDA

Now to respect Microsoft and its partners, I will be dutifully asking permission before I post anything on this site. I will not be posting anything here that compromises any agreements I’ve made,  rather I will dedicate these posts to sharing what I can about my traveling experience and the people I meet.

Brief Disclaimer

Anything posted on this site is my own and in no way reflects the views or opinions of any of my employers, including but not limited to Microsoft and Presenter Group.


You can track my travel-related posts here or just my Microsoft trip in May-June of ’14 here.