I just got back from a road trip up the California coast. First stop, camping in Big Sur. Second stop, a night spent in Berkeley. And last stop, a night on the town in San Francisco. There’s something about hopping in the car, blasting music, and going on a long road trip that feels so nostalgic, so American. I equate “road trip” with independence, freedom, individuality. I think of journeys, of bliss, of wide open roads. The words of Jack Kerouac On the Road zip, zoom through my mind, “what is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? –it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies”. The same feeling that Steinway describes fills my body “when I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that immaturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that great age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked” (from Travels with Charley).There’s so much to soak in, so much to see, and sometimes when your zooming by in a car, it’s hard to really get drenched in all the beauty because the moment you realize what’s in front of you, it’s already gone, you’ve already passed it up, quite literally. The drive up Highway 1 is one of the most incredible, breathtaking drives one can take.
Each bend, each curve is a delight to the senses and I found myself getting frustrated that I wasn’t able to stop, soak it up, and take a photograph each time we curved around a new bend on the windy road. With each turn I looked back at what we had just passed with almost an ache. An ache in my heart, an ache in my bones, an ache in my soul, craving more of the beautiful landscapes, wanting to screech off the road and stop for a minute, just to breathe it in, to honor Her, to give thanks to the Creator.
Since we only had one night in Big Sur, less than 12 hours really, we wanted to make it simple. If you find yourself camping overnight as part of your road trip, I highly recommend the following: 1. Instead of dealing with a “real” campfire, buy a 4-hour Duraflame log. It’s simple and easy. Since we were camping off the beaten path at an “illegal” campsite the Duraflame log was especially helpful because it was easy to maintain and produced just the right amount of fire for the right amount of time. And if you’re a worry wart like me about starting the next wildfire this will help ease your anxiety, 2. Bring leftovers for dinner. We brought leftover homemade enchiladas and re-heated them right over the campfire. Not only were they delicious, but it was also a one-dish meal that took zero preparation time, and 3. Remember while packing that less is more. You are getting away to get away, not to bring all your shit with you. These three simple things allowed more time to soak in the sunset, to breathe in the fresh air, and to ease that ache of what the soul craves.
From Big Sur we made our way up to the Berkeley and San Francisco. It’s such a delight to be in a space of diversity, of art, of culture. Coffee shops were buzzing with energy and art installations, buildings were alive with fresh murals, and the actual physical spaces radiated palpable energy—from the streets, to the parks, to the restaurants and bars. Hopefully some of this radiance comes through in these photos and greets you where you are.