Posted by: facetothewind | June 8, 2012

California Dreaming

You love it. You hate. You love to hate it. But no matter how you feel about California, it is an undeniably dreamy place, fabulously rich in natural beauty, cool summer breezes, and golden hills. People come here to dream big and crash hard when the dream bubbles burst. (One person jumps over the railings of the Golden Gate Bridge every other week.) A visit to California’s teeming shores leaves you with a smile on your face and a hole in your pocket. But still you go because the mere mention of its name sparks in you the excitement of a convertible ride, a glamorous stroll with celebrities, something surely more fabulous than where you come from…wherever that is.

I was born in California and so I feel a certain connection to those sage and range grass hills blanketed with Mediterranean blue skies abutted by a cobalt sea. But I jumped off the treadmill in 2001 to pursue a life in a humbler place. So now I am just an interloper in my home state, clogging the freeway as a wide-eyed tourist. I gawk at the lavish wealth and excess. I cringe at the abysmal poverty. I’m not sorry I left, actually. Californians are stressed and driven to distraction in their attempts to stay afloat in this economy. The cities are becoming thread-bare and dysfunctional with municipal services cut as the state faces bankruptcy. Though California’s charm is tarnishing for certain, there’s still a lot of beauty and joy to be had here. I deem it a wonderful place to visit, a fresh respite for sun-weary Arizonans, and as Gore Vidal said, “It will all make great ruins.” Enjoy it while lasts because it’s circling the drain.

Yes, California is cool. Yes, California is fabulous but when you see smoothies for $10 and the huge presence of mental illness and homelessness, you wish you were dreaming!

Below are my videos and a digital postcard medley of my annual summer pilgrimage to California with John. It starts with a train ride from Tucson to Santa Barbara…a town so beautiful you just never want to leave. But it’s painfully expensive, so you do. Interesting how money doesn’t translate to good taste or happiness though. Like I didn’t know that.

Onward to San Simeon by car to visit Hearst Castle.

The journey continues up the coast to the bubble gum alley of San Luis Obispo and then on to Esalen, the most beautiful and self-indulgent place on earth, in my humble opinion. Next stop: the Monterey Bay Aquarium and then on to San Francisco.

Special thanks to our hosts along the way: Arthur in Cambria and January at Esalen!

First the video…

Then video part 2 (don’t miss the Leafy Sea Dragon)…

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