Tales of triathlon, travel, and trails

A photographic history of recent birthday celebrations

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My birthday is coming up in a few days; another trip around the sun. And it also got me thinking about the awesome trips I’ve had for my birthday. For the last few years, I’ve made an effort to do a trip or at least do something fun for my birthday. I’m not really the type to go out for dinner or drinks with a bunch of friends to celebrate and a birthday is a pretty good excuse to get away for a few days!

I can’t remember what I did in 2007, but I was still in dental school, so I was probably studying. #nerdalert

2008: I was living in LA (Westwood/UCLA) and actually I did go out with my friends for dinner and drinks! Spoke too soon! We were also celebrating the birthday of one of our co-residents, I think his birthday is Feb. 1. But we also had dinner at my favourite restaurant in the whole world, C&O in Venice, and then my friend Andrea (check out her blog here) drove to Huntington Beach and ran the Surf City half marathon. In the pouring rain.

2008 birthday CO

With Janice at C&O

2008 birthday half marathon

I think this is before the race! Looking like drowned rats already!

2009: I was still living in LA (Venice) and my dad came to visit! There was a February heat streak, it was in the 80s and so beautiful. We rode cruisers around Venice, MDR, and Santa Monica. We saw a Cirque show. And we ate at C&O, of course.


Me and my dad at C&O in Venice. Best restaurant in the world!

2010: I was newly back in Calgary and not happy about it so my mom came from BC and we went to Banff and Lake Louise for the weekend. I bought my rad Arbor snowboard in Banff and we snowshoed up to the tea lodge at Lake Louise. It was awesome!

Banff birthday 2010 with mom

Me and my mom in Banff

Banff birthday 2010

My Arbor snowboard. It’s Bamboo and Arbor is form Venice

2011: My 30th birthday, so I went to Africa by myself for 3 weeks 🙂 It was the time of my life. I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, summiting a few days before my birthday. I was not in a group, it was just me and like 8 Tanzanian guys guiding me up the mountain. I will always have the fondest memories for those guys and I would love to go back and see them again.


Great view of Kili and one of the camps



Going up, up, up!



Summit! 19, 341 ft. Tallest mountain in Africa and largest freestanding mountain in the world!

Then I went on safari to Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater. We stayed in tents (not the luxury tents, these were like actual camping tents that we had to set up and take down ourselves every day), listening to the sound of lions and elephants whoever else was there at night. It was amazing. My birthday was actually while I was in the Serengeti so it’s pretty cool to say that’s where I spent my 30th birthday!


Giraffes are so awesome in real life!


Elephant in the Serengeti



Serengeti sunset



Maasai Grandmama



My camp fire birthday cake on the Serengeti. On it was written “Happy birthday Emmy” 🙂


Finally I made my way to the crystal clear waters and white sand beaches of Zanzibar where I took a spice tour, went scuba diving, and indulged in the best coconut curries I’ve ever had.


Stone Town, Zanzibar



The most beautiful water I’ve ever seen


2012: I was back living in LA (Venice) so I met my dad in San Francisco for the weekend of my birthday. We did our usual thing while in SF – cable car rides, walks through Haight Ashbury, drinks at Top of the Mark, exploring Marin and Sausalito.

2012 birthday SF dad

February in SF!

2012 birthday with dad

Love the cable cars

2013: I ran my first (and so far only) ultra – Orcas Island 50k. The race happened to fall exactly on my birthday and I decided to run my age! 50k = 31 miles and I was turning 32 so after the race I ran an extra mile to reach my age! It was one of my most favourite races I’ve ever done, I highly recommend it, or any race directed by RainShadow Running. It was tough, 8600 ft elevation over 50k, but the beautiful single track trails took away a lot of the pain. And beer after the race helped a lot too!

Orcas 50k

About mile 26


I wore this sign on my back during the race. At one point Jenn Shelton (of Born to Run fame) cruised past me and wished my happy birthday. That was pretty cool!

2014: I managed to escape to Maui for a week for a dental conference that took place over my birthday. And my dad happened to be in Maui at the same time too so we drank Mai Tai’s, drove up Haleakala, and I surfed in Paia.


Hawaiian birthday sunset



Epic hike off the road to Hana (puke)



Take me back!





Of course I have plans for this year too! I’ll update that later!


One thought on “A photographic history of recent birthday celebrations

  1. What amazing birthday celebrations! Africa… what an adventure! I need to go to that beach in Zanzibar! Can’t wait to see how you celebrate this year 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

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