It's been a while (roughly a year since I have posted anything substantial), and I am thankful for my readers who still have been inquiring about new posts. I prefer to post no content at all than hastily-created, half-hearted content. This past half year has required a lot of time and energy for academics, work, and travel, but I graduated college early and I'll have some time to myself this next spring at last - hopefully this will result in sharing significantly more (although any amount would be more than I have posted in the past year) writing and photos. At the end of this month I will be traveling solo to Hawaii and hope to use this time for setting new intentions.
Big Sur and Highway One in California have been a place of respite for me. A couple months ago, I ended up spending Thanksgiving weekend camping in Big Sur, and would not have rather spent it anywhere else - cooking one-skillet meals in a cast iron, waking up at sunrise to smoky morning light, drinking wine by the fire, and stopping by the mountain side bakery for a muffin are things I could happily do every day without tire.
Initially, when I moved to the outskirts of Los Angeles, I was repelled by the spread out and seemingly inaccessibility of the city. I did not understand how any metropolis that you had to drive at least fifteen minutes to even get groceries could be called a metropolis. Even more, I did not know how to drive and thus did not have a car for the first couple of years that I was here. Moving from Shanghai - a city with a large subway and taxi culture, I (like many others on their first visit) had been surprised by the sheer flatness and lack of public transportation in Los Angeles.
I was certain that after my studies I would move to New York - yet these past three years have resulted in a gradual sort of falling in love with not necessarily Los Angeles, but California, and its varying landscapes and the weather that allows for such variety in landscapes. I would like to call it Los Angeles' redeeming point: the extension of the city - not that I dislike it anymore, but I still dislike the inaccessibility. Regardless of the inaccessibility, there are very few places in the world that offer the desert, the mountains, the forest, and the ocean in one space - with a proximity that allows for you to somewhat feasibly visit all in one day if you really wanted to.
For this reason, I find myself repeatedly gravitating toward any of these geographical beauties whenever I have a long weekend to myself. Big Sur, in offering the bounties of both the ocean and the mountains, has been a favorite, in addition to Ojai and Joshua Tree. I cannot see myself leaving California at this point in my life. It is difficult to imagine a lifestyle without frequent hikes, the sun, daily farmer's market trips, and easy road trips out of town - all of which Los Angeles never cease to provide. What I realized in moving here is that falling for somewhere you initially did not like is so much more rewarding and meaningful than moving somewhere based on your initial likes and dislikes - it allows for tastes to evolve and a certain kind of open-mindedness. So if you currently do not like where you are - do not fret, you may very well come to like it as long as you let yourself navigate and explore your city.