Lately, I’ve been restless. My schedule has been uncharacteristically consistent, and, while that’s good for my productivity, my health, and my personal relationships, I’m beginning to feel antsy…when will the next trip come? When will I break from my day-in-day-out work/life routine?
When will I see something new again—something that challenges my boundaries, and refreshes my perspective?
The answer is as close as Google flights, but instead of turning to the airport, I’ve turned to my own hometown for a little adventure. Call it a “stay-cation” if you want. I took a trip for the few days off I had for Christmas, and explored my familiar surroundings with fresh eyes.
Just over a year ago, I moved back to my hometown of Palos Verdes, CA, after almost ten years of a journey that I never expected to end where it started.
Returning to California, I’ve found that I haven’t rediscovered my home so much as discovered it for the first time. As a child, I could not see the gorgeous purple bloom of bougainvillea, the drama of high yellow cliffs over the surf, or the wide, blazing sunsets. I did not marvel at the rolling hills and rocky outcrops of my hometown, or explore coves and winding trails. I wanted to go to the pool, the mall, the movies. But now, I look at where I was born and raised as a frontier in and of itself: a destination just as much as any of the cities or countries I have lived in before. Continue reading “Not so faraway places: Palos Verdes, CA”→
The big island of Hawaii is the state’s youngest island, and also its largest (duh). And like any (very) young thing, it continues to grow, edges creeping out in a live, molten lava flow that causes the island to gain ground a little bit each year. It is certainly not the state’s most well-known island- not like Maui, Oahu, or Kaui- and it does not conjure up the images we know from vintage film posters, postcards, and pop culture. The big island is vast, mountainous, and authentic, and it’s worth visiting for anyone who likes to explore. Continue reading “Starry skies, lava flow, & solitude: the big island of Hawaii”→
You may have never heard of Catalina Island before, but at one time this 22-mile long island off the coast of LA was a major destination for celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and later on, Marilyn Monroe (think the Great Gatsby, West Coast style). The first and only time I’ve seen any national recognition of this Southern California getaway was on a Growing Pains episode in the 90’s, that was supposed to take place in Southern Europe. There it was- right behind Kirk Cameron, the ubiquitous sea foam- green railing of the waterside walkway and the arched facade of the famous Casino built in the 20’s- it wasn’t Malaga or Nice I was seeing, it was Southern California. And that’s when I realized I had always taken for granted this coastal gem, only a (sometimes rocky) forty-five minute boat ride from Long Beach.
Tangier, Morocco is a city that can be a bit overwhelming to the average tourist. Built on the tip of North Africa closest to Spain- and as a result, ideal for shipping, tourism and shady transactions- it has a rich history of a swirl of people and goods. Once you’ve made the steep climb into the walled medina (old city) from the port, you’ll find yourself in a chaos of commerce: shop owners trying their best to sell you rugs, leather slippers and touristy knick knacks; candy vendors with glass cases of sticky almond nougat; Moroccan housemoms weighed down with plastic bags of tomatoes and cucumber; and of course, the lone entrepreneur offering you a cell phone at a discount price (read: it’s stolen).
I first got my feet wet traveling solo during my semester abroad in Strasbourg, France. The third day after arriving, I got lost in a snowstorm alone, breaking me in for the next few years of my life, which would involve a) getting lost more than I want to admit and b) finding my way back every time, thank you Jesus. By now, I’ve traveled through Morocco, Spain, France and Belgium on my own, mastered the art of bus, train and airplane schedules and learned to navigate my way through any city (visual cues are the key).