Moment of awesome
Over the past weeks people have told me they are envious of my experience and my lifestyle, and with good reason; my life is awesome right now. Where most travel blogs show the amazing places people visit and the crazy things they do, I felt like I needed to strike a balance and share some of the tougher moments of traveling. Hence the title of this week’s blog: The Naked Truth.
This picture was taken on the last day of Fall 4s Beach league at Ocean Beach, organized by the Bay Area Disc Association. The Ultimate Frisbee scene in SF is very vibrant and the weekly fall league was probably the place I met most of my friends. IT WAS AWESOME!
PS, this is the last post from San Francisco for a while… Read Three More Paragraphs about this week
Most days I wake up to find the friend I’m staying with to have already gone off to work. I make my bed, do my gratification exercise, and do the rest of my morning rituals. I usually have a number of tasks lined up for myself for that day ranging from getting a cell phone plan, finding a new place to stay, to working on my blog. This way of life comes with a lot of freedom and it is one of the main reasons I quit my job and decided to travel. Thinking back about that decision, I might have romanticized the freedom I currently have. Obviously, the liberty to go wherever you want whenever you want is a great luxury to have. On the other hand, it does feel somewhat ungrounded at times. Moreover, currently I’m the only one with this lifestyle that I know around here. As a result, it does feel lonely at times to be out on your own and fall in the anonymity of the city. Don’t get me wrong, I love me-time, but I prefer that to be a choice.
One source of stress the past few weeks was buying a car. When I set out for this trip my plan was to buy a car and drive north to Oregon, Seattle, and eventually Vancouver (I can only stay in the US 90 days at a time on my tourist visa). My choice to buy a car was based on the idea that it is cheaper than flying, plus it would give me the flexibility to go to any place I wanted especially when plans change (which they always do of course). I anticipated buying a car would be an easy task in a country focused on cars mobility, but it proved to be more challenging than expected. I wasn’t sure where to find an affordable, good, used car, and I don’t really know anyone in the Bay area I can ask for advice. I looked on Craigslist and found a car for sale on the street, but both options did not make me feel comfortable. I felt trapped as I felt I needed a car to get out of the city. Adding to my stress level was that as long as I didn’t have a car, I’d have to find new places to stay in the city, and a solution to the car problem did not seem to get any closer. In search of some comfort, I decided to call up my friends on Cape Cod to see how they were doing and share my concern about the car purchase. Maybe they would even have some tips as to buying a car. To my relief they told me their son had experience in buying used cars and they offered to let me stay with them, noting that buying a car in New Hampshire is cheaper than California. This news made my week! I didn’t wait for a moment and booked my ticket to Boston that same night for the next Thursday.
My travel so far has been mostly fun and exciting. The freedom I have created for myself is priceless. That being said, the experience has also presented feelings of loneliness and helplessness. I guess it’s all part of the experience and I’m glad these realizations will further develop my personality and aid to character-building. In the words of one of my favorite writers, “the experience is like a party, but the hangover comes first.”
Favorite landscape picture
For some reason this view just really resonates with me. I think one or even 10 pictures just don’t do it justice. The day present so many beautiful views from Bunker Spencer that I decided to take a full day time lapse.
The morning traffic at 7am is in a rush while I sat there peacefully looking out over the city as the cars pass by you. Within 20 minutes, the sun rises and glows in the water from the east bay and Alcatraz as the fog rolls in. A good 45 minutes in and the fog disappears under the heat of the October California sun. Slowly, boats and ships start pouring into the bay creating lively scenes. You can see the sun move in the sky and right after midday a serene fall sunlight bestows the bay. At the end of the day, as traffic picks up again, I can see the sun set over the Pacific while still sitting quietly on top of the bunker watching it all pass by.
Samovar is a high-end Tea Lounge in the Mission district. All senses are served to your needs: as you walk in you cannot help but feel impressed by the great taste in which the place is designed, the scent of freshly brewed chai greets you, and the Indian tunes feel like a hug to your ears. The price of their teas is in the slightly higher bracket ($4), but it the ambiance more than made up for it.
Staying out a full day at Bunker Spencer required the necessary preparations. Aside from water and anything to fight boredom, I figured I needed an exciting yet filling and cheap source of food. In the end I settled on corn tortillas and a big jar of salsa. Both were of questionable quality and I’m sure it wouldn’t have made this category if it hadn’t been breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two days in a row.
“The only way out is through.”
– Dan Harris (1971 – present). American news anchor and author of “10% Happier”. Dan was a war correspondent for a couple of years. Upon his return to NYC he was looking to find the same adrenaline kick as he had gotten during his time abroad. He found his need met in cocaine, which let to a panic attack on Live national TV. After quitting cocaine he went on a spiritual journey, that he describes in his book. One of the gurus he meets explains to him there are situation in life where you cannot shortcut your way out of it, you need to get through the pain in order to escape the state of suffering.
Although the context in which Dan received this little piece of wisdom was different, this quote has helped me during tough times and it helped me keep my head straight this week as well.
Favorite gadget / book / app / life hack
I used the Slik Mini-Pro III Tripod to shoot my full day time lapse of the city. I like that the tripod was cheap, folds up small to fit in your backpack, yet is stable enough to be a good tripod. The suction cup on the bottom makes it easy to attach the tripod to various services and the legs can be extended for better balance.
Click here to order the book on Amazon for $30 (yes, I get a sales commission 😉 )