For those of you who don’t know, this summer is the National Park Centennial (the date is actually August, but I will be on the move in JUNE)! How exciting! What a better way to celebrate than a road trip to a bunch of state parks in the Western U.S. ?! I’m so thrilled to say that I’ll be traveling for close to three weeks, taking in the natural beauty, hiking, camping pretty much the whole way (save 1 or 2 nights). I will most definitely blog about each place. Take off is in just 35 days and I could not be more ecstatic! This will undoubtedly be one of the coolest things I’ve done, to date. I can’t wait to share the experience with you all ! Stay posted for a more detailed post about the places on my list. Road trip 2016, here we come!
Hey there. It’s been a while. I’ve allowed my blogging digits to get rusty. So here is an impromptu post that has been in my thoughts today.
1.Because it’s too much of an idealistic dream I followed since I was a tween. I grew up on the East Coast, spending every summer on Jersey shore beaches, and occasionally, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, or Florida. But the Golden Coast called for so long. I finally made it a reality and it’s coming close to two years. My graduate program will keep me here one longer, but after that, it’s time to try on a new location for a while. There’s a difference between going on vacation somewhere beautiful and FEELING like you could live there forever, and then actually moving there and trying it, which brings me to #2.
2. I’m a tourist. You’re a tourist. We’re all tourists here. San Diego was just recently named the #1 Travel Destination the U.S. No real surprise there. What does that mean? More Tourists! The numbers of people traveling here and eventually deciding to move here to get themselves a slice of the California Dream seems to be increasing. Every day, I meet people who “literally just moved here last week”. I rarely meet anyone who is a a native San Diegan.
3. Vacation Mentality. America’s Finest City is filled with natural beauty and a million and one things to do on any given day, at any given time. People love SD because for its gorgeous beaches, museums in Balboa Park, San Diego Zoo, and its NIGHT LIFE. Whether it’s downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter or our famous Pacific Beach, SD knows how to party. Every.Damn.Day.All.Year.Long. Because people come here from all over the world to vacation, but also to study at SD’s universities (SDSU, UCSD,USD to name the main ones). When you’re no longer an undergrad and also very-not-single, you get over the heavy emphasis on going out drinking every night and the noise that comes along with drunks running around town constantly. Many have said this is a place people come to never grow up. I’m not so sure I want to reside in a mythical land where everyone behaves like they’ve all just turned 21 (well into mid-life and after). I see people drinking at and before 9 a.m. at the bar down the street on the daily. This should not be a thing.
4. Homelessness. San Diego ranks 4th in the country for highest homeless population. Homelessness in California is a real problem, on the rise, but unfortunately, it seems so easily hidden away under the veil of new money, expensive cars and apartment complexes, coastal mansions, and the tourism and hospitality industry. I see it everywhere I go: Under the bridges of the freeways, on the beaches rummaging through trash cans, selling trinkets, on the trolley. There are so many thousands of people here who need help and are not receiving the assistance they need. It’s unsettling. Especially when there’s nothing you feel you can really do to help such a complex problem. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here; this city and region are in need of many changes, that’s for sure.
5. Sky Rocketing Rent & Cost of Living in General. No doubt it’s a sweet trade off. You get what you pay for–Well, sort of. With this city and general area in such high demand, of course rent is going to skyrocket. However, San Diego has ranked constantly among most overpriced cities, least affordable and one of the most expensive cities (especially in terms of housing in the U.S. and in the world). I’m lucky enough to have found a sweet spot super ocean close, and probably at one of the most ‘reasonable’ prices you can find around here, but you can bet I ain’t leaving this spot until I leave Sunny SD for good!
6. Job Market. What goes along with tons of people migrating to one place to live the California Dream? LOTS OF COMPETITION for jobs and housing. Just sayin’. While the job market has had a good deal of a boost since the recession, the available positions tend to be certain types of jobs. High-skill science and business jobs. This does not apply to my area of expertise. For me, there does not seem to be a whole lot of opportunity for long term employment around these here parts. Also, “Industry” (food/beverage/hospitality) jobs as they call them out here, get snatched up faster than you can blink, since it’s a HUGE part of our local economy. I’m not sure if there’s any place that could rival how difficult it can be to get a job working in a restaurant here in San Diego, even with many years of experience.
7. Traffic, Traffic, Traffic. If you never have to operate a vehicle on a California Freeway, I highly suggest you don’t. I’ll just put it simply: I used to love to drive back on the East Coast. You’ll see why if you do a simple Google image search for San Diego Traffic or just look at the traffic radar at any normal time of day. I now hate to drive and often fear for my life while I driving, because of the crazy shizz I see some people pull out here on the road! GET THEE BACK TO THE DMV.
8. EARTHQUAAAKE! What?! Did somebody say “Earthquake?” Yes. Yes they did. And they’re not going to shut up about them any time soon because y’all may need to evacuate. Or else. There was a time this past Fall when I read an article with an opening sentence that haunted me: “California is Never Far from the Precipice of Disaster” (Fire,Drought, El Nino, Earthquakes, Oh my!). Seriously a great hook for a weather article, but I think it hit me then how much of a real concern disasters are here. In fact, the other day, news outlets started fueling my anxieties again by claiming that San Andreas Fault line is a ticking time bomb as well as the Cascadia Fault. I’m not really sure if I’m willing to wait around for “The Really Big One” to blow us all to smithereens.
9. The “Culture” Referring back to #1, so many people want to experience the “California Dream”, many do, whether it be a short stay, or a more permanent move. Many people also see moving to California as moving towards a peaceful lifestyle, maybe take up yoga (see #6 on the list of this link), smoke a lot of weed (medical of course) and just be a happy hippie forever and ever. While that’s nice and all, when that’s everyone’s idea, it does become a bit old when every person you meet is simultaneously talking about becoming a yoga instructor living all “OM SHANTI OM” by day, going out and partying their ass off and taking a bunch of drugs and going to electronic dance festivals by night. I’m sure that doesn’t need any further elaboration.
10. Man Buns…Okay, so all of these other reasons are pretty serious, so this one is a little bit of a joke, yet not really. No, I am not a fan of the man bun, in fact, over time, they have come to be a great annoyance. I mean, of course some guys can really rock the bun, but, some I know just do it out of irony of how strange it looks, and the ironic hipster-y-ness is just a lil’ much these days! Anddd, CUT.
No place is perfect, but California is perhaps one of the most over-idealized and as much as I’ve loved it, it’s clearly time for me to start planning my move for the next adventure.
There’s no denying it’s always been a dream of yours, since you sat near the fire in your grandfather’s living room, spinning the globe in your tiny fingers, as he told stories of the ancients: of war, of peace, of colonization, of culture. Wide-eyed and curious, you began to yearn to venture past the places you’d been raised.