One of the coolest things about my west coast journey was seeing the change in landscape and climate as I made my way down the coast from Portland to San Diego. Portland, all green and crisp, with rocky, foggy beaches…San Francisco, so blue, the water, and so majestic with its dramatic coastline and cliffs…Santa Barbara, warmer beaches, and a mix of hills and valleys…and finally San Diego. As I drove from Santa Barbara down the coastline, the land got noticeably flatter, and you sense the large city that is LA well before you pass through it. San Diego has so many different parts to it, from downtown with its tall buildings to the beach towns around it, each distinctly their own. I was staying in La Jolla, but the first place I went was Ocean Beach.
About five years ago I drove out west with no real destination in my mind. I took my time, stopping in various cities and feeling them out, in hopes of eventually staying in one for good. I knew I would end up somewhere in California, and the first glimpse I had of the Pacific Ocean was in the town of Ocean Beach. It was such a special moment on that journey, and the town has stayed in my heart ever since. When I stepped out on that beach years ago there was a man playing a song on his guitar that I loved, and I swear that same man was still there today. Ocean Beach is a surf town south of Mission and Pacific Beaches, with a vibe all its own. The main street, Newport Ave, is lined with shops, cafes, and massive antique stores that you can lose hours in, hunting for treasures in dark corners. It’s a great place for used record shopping and surfer watching, two of my favorite things :).
I love stopping at Jungle Java for a coffee and breakfast. It’s a coffee and garden shop, so the decor is like sitting outside in a beautiful garden, and their acai bowl is heavenly.
Before I knew it, it was time to head back to my hotel in La Jolla and check out. I stayed at the Hotel La Jolla, located right by the beach with beautiful views of the coast. I loved the lobby of the hotel with its large glass windows, greenery, and beautiful wicker chairs. La Jolla is north of Ocean Beach, a majestic strip of coast where you can swim with the sea lions and climb out onto rocks where waves crash, spraying you with cool sea water. It was the perfect place to take one last walk and reflect on this journey.
I feel so grateful for this experience…and even though I was nervous at first about doing it alone, I am so glad that I did. I learned so much about myself on this trip and was able to really think clearly for the first time in a while. That’s one of the best things about traveling – the ability to look back in at your life from the outside, from a whole different perspective, and realize what really matters. I was also struck on this trip several times with the realization of how big and beautiful this world is, and how much of it there is out there for us to explore.
I hope you guys have enjoyed reading about my off the beaten path adventure! Enter for a chance to win your own west coast dream trip :).
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