It’s always an adjustment when the back-to-back travel ends and I find myself at home for an extended period of time (longer than a week or two). Putting the suitcase away and unpacking the toiletries is the final concession that I’m staying put for a while. . . NOW what do I do?
I try to get back into my daily routines: wake up early, go for a run on the beach, go to the office, have dinner with friends, go to a concert. It takes a while to settle in and I find myself missing the airplanes, taxis, new restaurants, different experiences, and meeting new people. It takes a lot of will-power to not just jump on the next plane to Kauai, San Francisco, or Vegas, or hop in the car and drive to San Diego (although any number of those things may happen within the next week). Thankfully, there’s plenty of adventure at home!
I’ve been home for 3 weeks now – quite possibly the longest stretch I’ve gone without traveling this year – and have had several fun journeys. It’s been a nice reminder that I can travel in my own city. Earlier this month I ran the Pasadena Half Marathon with my good friend, Jen. I haven’t been to Pasadena in years and forgot how simply going to another community can feel like a vacation! First, we ran through the beautiful tree-lined streets, passing by some magnificent homes. The colors of the leaves had changed and there was evidence that we actually do experience “seasons” in LA. It felt like we were in New England, only warmer.
The second third of the course was spent on dirt trails in the hills. You can truly get lost in the mountains and forget that you’re anywhere near a city. There was one hill that was long and steep. Most people walked it (myself included) and many were out of breath at the top. I couldn’t help but laugh when we arrived at the top of the hill to find a sign marked “Devil’s Gate.” We hit the pavement again for the last portion of the course. Crossing the finish line was fantastic because it signaled the end of the run… and the beginning of breakfast!
The following weekend my friends Juston and Laura came to town. We spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon up at The Getty. Juston and Laura are both artists so I felt inclined to warn them that while we have every intention of going inside the museum, many visits to The Getty are spent entirely outdoors. They chuckled (perhaps in disbelief) and said, “well, of course we’ll go inside!” But we began our adventure outdoors, walking the gardens, admiring the way the buildings “framed” LA perfectly, looking at the ocean on one side of the property and snow on the mountains on the other side. We ate brunch and then attempted to go inside the museum. We were in one building for a few minutes, then another, and then Laura said,”you know, it’s so nice outside, I feel like we should be soaking up the sun!” And so, as most days at The Getty are spent, we ventured back outside, sat on the grass, watched kids roll down hills and scale walls, while we caught up and took in the view.
And finally, last weekend my friend Heather and I planned a mini-vacation. She lives in San Diego so we met in Newport Beach, half-way between Santa Monica beach and Mission Beach. We spent the day at the beach, bouncing between restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and bakeries, with outdoor seating. It was so warm and beautiful that we had to keep reminding each other that it was December 28th.
In between all of that was a bunch of live music. From Ben Harper at The Mint to Ozomatli at House of Blues, to Hotel Cafe family reunions and holiday shows. . . it’s been a non-stop adventure since I returned home!