Oh LA LA Land. You crazy, alluring, soul-destroying bunny you.
I recently had the pleasure of travelling California (and Vegas) by myself for 3 weeks, which was eye-opening to say the least. I didn’t plan to go alone – my friend had to pull out at the last minute due to personal reasons, so I decided to don my solo travelling boots and hit the West Coast. I had ideas of what my travels might entail – the beach, hostels, new friends and cocktails. Little did I know what a BIG place Los Angeles is! I felt like a tiny, naive ant in this sprawling Californian city where dreams come to die (unless you’re rich and famous).
My first 2 nights were spent near Hollywood Boulevard – a hot mess of people from all walks of life mixed in with the smell of tacos, nachos and hot sauce. I did Santa Monica, Universal Studios and Sunset Blvd like a typical tourist, before heading North to the idyllic town of Santa Barbara. What a refreshing change from the chaos of LA! No sirens and police helicopters here, I spent the days wandering beautiful Spanish-inspired streets and embracing the summer sun. I even found a fantastic Thai restaurant! Savouring the familiar flavours of a Panang Curry, I felt a sense of relief and gratitude. I couldn’t eat another burrito if you paid me!
Next on my list was the stunning bay of San Francisco, which I absolutely loved. Up and down hills filled with boutique restaurants, shops and a cultural melting pot, the cold wind did little to deter my spirits. I was challenged by my first hostel experience – having never shared a room with complete strangers it’s accurate to say I didn’t get much sleep. I did however embrace the free walking tour of the city with my fellow hostel-dwellers, and had a blast trying clam chowder on the marina. Of particular enjoyment was my day in Yosemite National Park, seeing the wonder of El Capitan and watching free climbers ascend to the top – simply amazing.
The hot desert beckoned me towards Vegas next, with a bus breakdown on the way to give me a taste of the rising heat. And holy hell was it hot! The only thing hotter was my experience at the Jennifer Lopez concert. Man could she shake it! Seeing Cirque du Soleil was another tick off the bucket list, an incredible performance of stamina, athleticism and beauty. The last destination on my list was the cruisy city of San Diego, where I spent evenings wandering along the ocean and listening to local music.
I had a fantastic time overall, and while I would have liked to have a friend with me on the journey I’m proud of myself for having the courage to go alone. The trip gave me an appreciation of how incredibly lucky we are in Australia, with education, health care and government to our spacious land trumping everything I saw in America. They don’t call us the lucky country for nothing!
Photo credits – twbloves & lgusamobile