Wild & Calm

There is a feeling I get from the sea that is almost indescribable...like an intense soaring in my stomach mixed with a peace of mind that I've never be able to manufacture on my own. Wild and calm at the same time. 

When I lived in Los Angeles, all I ever wanted to do was escape to the ocean and the mountains. Both were achingly close and yet inaccessible to daily life, even though I only lived eleven miles from the nearest coastline and twelve miles from the nearest foothill. I made the extra effort to trek across those miles of traffic as often as possible, but even then, I was still technically in the city, and that fact was slowly stealing my soul. So instead, I started to make longer journeys - sometimes alone, sometimes with friends - to places a little farther away. Places that, even though they were still on the edge of civilization, still retained a a good chunk of their own wildness. Places like Big Sur. 

The photos in this post are from over a year ago; a trip up the coast that now feels like it took place in a different lifetime (note: if you see me in the photos, I obviously didn't take them; all photos featuring yours truly were taken by my friend Adam). And it kind of did. So much has changed in the past year that I'm still not fully settled in to my new self, my new path, my new way of life. 

It is trips like this one that make up my most vivid memories from living in California, and that may someday tug me back there once again. A beautiful thing about being completely on my own is that I can go wherever I want, and I hold onto that thought fiercely, because sometimes it feels like it's the only thing giving me any sanity. I remember watching people going about their daily lives in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and imagining myself in their shoes: waking up to fresh, seaside air, living in a bungalow on a quiet street, participating in activities that add a little bit of good to the world, taking photos of bleached blonde surfer babies by day and drinking tea on a porch with someone I love in the evening. I get frustrated when people brush that kind of life off as a fantasy, because I strongly believe in the idea of where there is a will, there is a way.

I've learned a lot about myself in the past few years, and while being a beach resident is no longer at the top of my list of priorities, I don't think I'll ever cross it off completely. You never know. 

When I go exploring, I tend to overdo it a bit. I jam way too many locations into a one-day period, and then get depressed if I can't see everything I was hoping to. Luckily, most of my friends are willing to humor me in my over-achieving endeavors. On this particular trip, we drove and hiked allllll up and down the coast, from the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. 

The thing I remember most about Point Lobos is the light. The gnarled branches and tree roots let the sunlight slant in at tilted angles, and the air was just misty enough that the day's glow seemed to take on a more solid form, filling up space and filtering shiny little particles from shadow to beam, shadow to beam. I felt like I was in a different country. Or on a different planet. 

Uffda, there are a lot of photos in this post. 

More Big Sur to come.