Shortly after studying abroad in Europe, I set my sights on San Francisco, California. This city immediately became a source of inspiration for me. I must admit that before visiting the area, I had never given it much thought. The idea of California had always delivered visions of Los Angeles, Venice Beach, etc. But as I began dating somebody I had met in Spain whom was gearing up for a move to San Francisco, it was suddenly thrown into my radar.
Being there somehow centers me. It seems so vast and endless with it’s skyscrapers and it’s concrete jungle vibe going on. But in reality, San Francisco is such a small city. I love the illusion that I’m somewhere so crazy, while mountains, hiking, and the beautiful Pacific Ocean are just miles away from me. I love that I can have the chaos and urban lifestyle of the big city, yet also have the ever-inviting escape of nature just around the corner. It truly is the best of both worlds. And it’s all I needed to begin my “what in the hell am I doing with my life” quest for self discovery.
There is a myriad of places that provided me with inspiration. However, I’m only going to mention one of them today, leaving the rest for future blog posts. I feel that this one place deserves special attention.
My boyfriend works a 9-5 type job, which means that whenever I visit him, I have to entertain myself while he’s working. One day, I woke up early with the intention of going on a small hike. I found a city bus with a route ending at the Pacific Ocean and hopped right on. The bus ride was about 25 minutes, with the ocean only being a few miles away. I stepped off the bus in my sneakers with a book in hand. I was ready for an adventure (which naturally, for me, also meant that I needed a book with me).
The cold air hit me first. Being a Florida girl, I’m used to hot and humid beach days by the Gulf of Mexico. Something about this cold air was intimidating to me. But I took one look out at the water, and I was happy with my decision. I ventured closer. Nothing prepared me for the breathtaking view of the ocean, the cliffs, and all of the trees existing so gracefully together. The waves crashed against the cliffs. The sheer power of those waves had me in awe. I took several little detours around the water before finally deciding to begin my hike. I followed the signs leading up to the trail. The hike was easy and the scenery was beautiful.
Then while on my hike, I noticed another little detour. A part of me didn’t want to stray off the trail, as I was afraid I would end up overexerting myself on this detour and then end up having to tiredly trek back later (I’m sort of a lazy hiker). But another part of me couldn’t quell the urge to explore it. This ended up being the stronger part of me. So, off I went.I worked my way down what seemed to be an endless path of steps. I was beginning to wonder if all of this was worth it. But then I saw it.
I discovered a hidden little beach. It was the most beautiful beach I had ever seen. Though it wasn’t exactly the most impressive beach I’d ever encountered, something about this one spoke to me. This one felt different somehow. It was like a hidden treasure. This little beach was protected with enormous cliffs on both sides. There were logs that almost seemed strategically placed upon the beach for people to sit on. The waves were as powerful as ever. Though my favorite part of this little beach was the stacks of rocks and pebbles everywhere. It seemed like I had perhaps seen this in a movie or a magazine somewhere. It looked familiar, yet not familiar at all. There were dozens and dozens of these stacks across the beach. Something about them made me happy beyond words. So I sat on the beach propped up against a log, let the cold air in, and I read my book as I listened to the waves crash against the cliffs at the shore.