Once upon a time when I was young and naive (ok I am still young and naive, but when I was younger and way more naive) I moved to the USA to start a new life, a new adventure. What I was unaware of was that this ‘new adventure’ would be one that would completely shape the person I am to this very day, and would continue to do so for years to come.
After touching down in SF I spent my first few days playing tour guide with my friend Olivia and people we met at her hostel and roaming around familiar streets utterly lost in a daze, but feeling completely found. I surprised old friends by showing up on their doorsteps and climbed to some of San Francisco’s beautiful look outs to breathe in the fresh air and collect my soul from the cities limits.
When I left this city behind in June of last year, I really did leave a valuable piece of me. A piece I thought I might not see again. Despite the fact that I know realize I had it in me all along, this city ignites my soul and my wellbeing to a level of happiness that I honestly never thought could exist.
After a few days spent in San Francisco, I set off on a spontaneous adventure down the west coast of California with a German boy, Andi, who I met in San Francisco’s downtown Adelaide hostel.
We hired a car and our first stop was Target, for a cheap tent to spend our nights on the coast in. Our first night was spent somewhere after passing Half Moon Bay, parking the car on the side of the road and pitching a tent in the dark on the beach. We spent the night shivering and scared of the outside world. Would the highway patrol find us and fine us? What if someone dangerous stumbled across our tent?
Well we were fine. Minus a couple of bruises I formed from lying on my necklace on my chest, and the avocado I had accidentally left outside our tent that got eaten by some kind of rodent. We spent the morning eating breakfast on the beach then kept driving that beautiful California coastline.
The view was exceptional, the landscape was like none I had seen before. Mountains and fog mixed with ocean and sand, the desert mixed through the coast. Australia’s beaches, though beautiful, are not like these.
That day I had gotten in contact with a couch surfer who was happy to host us. Our second night was spent at a frat house in an area run by the students of the University of Santa Barbara.
Red cups, music booming from each rental house along the beach, and American girls in their mid drift tops, short shorts, and extreme make up. I was a definite outcast with my Birkenstocks and lack of make up, sunburnt skin and knotted hair, but they welcomed me all the same.
I woke up in the morning with a mild hang over, ready to continue onto San Diego, where we had organized another couch surfing host.
After a day of me falling asleep in the passenger seat and Andi stopping to admire the beaches, we arrived in San Diego. I spent 2 days here, roaming around downtown and San Diego’s famous Pacific beach, getting more burnt and people watching.
I was now ready to get back on the road, up to LA for a night (despite having no accommodation sorted) and then back to San Francisco.
My couch surfing host Romain dropped me off at the beginning of the 101 freeway going north. I stuck my thumb out and waited in the SoCal heat. 45 minutes passed, and one person had stopped but was not going in the right direction. Another 25 minutes passed and a man had pulled over and asked me where I was heading. “Downtown LA”, I said. “Perfect, get in!”
His name was George, he wanted someone sitting in his passenger seat so he could use the diamond lane (a quicker lane that can only be used by those who have 2 or more passengers). The time I spent with George was short but sweet. During our ride up the coast he told me about his 4… maybe 5 sons, what they did, and how proud of them he was. He told me about his two marriages and about his upbringing in California with trips home to Mexico.
I got along with George well, he even bought me an oatmeal cookie from Starbucks.
We arrived in downtown LA where he had to go for business, he had been talking the whole trip about his work, when we got to the jewelry district he asked me if I would like to come see how he distributes his gold to his buyers. I went with him to do this, he then asked me if I was going to be okay and if I knew where to go. I said I would be fine and was on my way.
I spent my day in a park in LA waiting for couch surfers to reply to hosting me that night. A police man in the park serenaded me for at least an hour, singing me classics from The Dramatics and other artists from the 60s and 70s. My personal favorite was his retake of ‘My Girl’.
I finally found a place to sleep at around 8pm that night. I ventured into an area called Silverlake, where I found my couch surfing host, a lovely boy named Udaya. He lives in what some might call a ‘co-op’ home or ‘communal’ house. A house of artistic people living together, this particular house was apart of something called the ‘tri-force’, they all have a passion for bike riding, not just normal bike but freak bikes, and going on bike tours around the country.
I spent the night with this lovely clan of people drinking beer and face painting.
The next morning I got a ride with Udaya back up to San Francisco, where I will now stay for 2-3 weeks (unless of course, my plans change) before I set off on another adventure with an old friend, down into states I have yet to explore, and of course, Mehico!