David and I aren't the types to travel somewhere, no matter how serious the reason may be for our travels, and not explore or attempt to enjoy our time together. Yes, much of our time in California was consumed medical stuff, that is after all the reason why we were there. But we had to enjoy ourselves a little bit, right?! :) It would have been too overwhelming to just make this trip about neurosurgeon consults, we had to add a little bit of relaxing and exploring into the mix! Here's a little bit of the non-medical side of our trip to Cali...
In-N-Out, you just gotta do it!
UCLA's campus is quite lovely. It's massive, so we spent a lot of time just wandering around. It was a little terrifying how old I felt there haha! The reality of my 10 year college reunion coming up this year set in pretty quickly. All the students looked like tiny little babies. It was kind of crazy.
L.A. is so crazy that we got overwhelmed pretty easily. All the people, traffic, noise and general craziness sent us into introverted tailspins every now and then. So when we found a lovely little grove of palm trees next to a fountain near the medical campus, we set up camp and we spent a lot of time there just sitting, thinking, eating, praying, people watching. It was nice to have a quiet spot to find a little peace.
After my appointment on Thursday, we got out of UCLA just in time to run down to the Santa Monica pier and catch the sunset. It was a beautiful evening! I decided to bring my photo gear with me on this trip, which is pretty rare. It's so expensive and heavy and awkward...it certainly doesn't make traveling easier. But my camera is a tool for therapy and I knew I was going to need a little therapy during this trip haha! It is such a great way for me to escape reality a little bit and focus completely on f-stops and fading sun rays. Almost every day we ran to a nearby beach so I could immerse myself in this creative process.
After we wrapped up at UCLA on Friday, we headed north. Since our appointments lined up perfectly with the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, we decided to take a few days and head to Santa Barbara. We knew it would be good to spend some time relaxing and getting away for a little bit. We needed a place to process everything.
We had a lovely weekend in Santa Barbara! We stayed at a beautiful Hilton right across the street from the beach. We snagged a beachfront room and enjoyed breakfast on the patio Saturday morning. A little room service, a few walks on the beach, watching the seals swim by, a little more In-N-Out Burger, another incredible sunset and our day was complete. We had some of the best conversations on Saturday and I ultimately came to my decision about surgery while on the beach. Our whole time there was very conducive to clarity and decision making.
On Sunday we walked around, had brunch at the harbor, spent a bit of time downtown and then headed towards Malibu! I had been wanting to visit Leo Carillo State Park so we headed over that way. All the pictures of the park showed a beautiful serene oceanscape with beautiful waves. It just looked so peaceful that I had to go. It was pretty much the opposite of that haha! There were gobs of people everywhere. It was a little bit crazy. We grabbed a few photos and then got the heck outta there!
We headed further in towards Malibu and found the perfect spot over looking the beach and set up for another little sunset shoot. It was really peaceful up there, despite sitting on the Pacific Coast Hwy. Everyone seems to slow down or stop for the sunset. I like that :)
After the sunset, we headed back into L.A. and the flew out the next morning. I'm so glad we were able to take a little bit of time and enjoy a few different parts of CA. California was overwhelming, but it would have been exponentially more overwhelming if we had just stayed in L.A. so I am very grateful for our time in Santa Barbara!