Last month, we got back from California on a trip with my family!! My parents are extremely generous and have included me and Jared on several amazing trips. This trip was unlike any other due to the chaos that was the weather, plans falling through, and a really unfortunate case of food poisoning from food truck breakfast tacos that Jared fell victim too. Lol. Despite it all, for 30+ hours and over 3,000 miles in a 3 row SUV with my whole family, it was genuinely so great.
Jared and I landed in LAX before my parents, so we went to dinner at Fishing With Dynamite in Manhattan Beach. I got the koshihikari rice, which is basically a risotto like dish with seafood + egg yolk. So pretty. Then I swirled it around and the yolk made the dish that much creamier and richer. We also got half a dozen of oysters and cocktails! After, we made a grocery run for the family. Once they got to town, we drove straight through the night to Joshua Tree.
My favorite part of Joshua tree was the cholla cactus garden. They were almost iridescent and so mesmerizing. Nature is just the coolest. As someone who took several credit hours of anatomy and physiology, I understand how complex and intricate human skeletons are. But I was shocked to see the detail and intricacy of the ‘skeleton’ of the cholla cacti that had died. If God created the cholla cactus with such care and attention, wow how much more did He with us?
On our way out of town to Pahrump, NV (where we stayed for easy access to Death Valley), we went to the Kelso Dunes. My dad had told us it was a ’30 minute hike’ and a ‘quick stop.’ I didn’t even bring a water bottle. LOL. He was so, so wrong. No pictures or videos can do it justice. Essentially once you hike about a mile out, you reach the sand dune that is 600 ft tall that you bear crawl up. Keep in mind at this point, Jared had bad street tacos in his stomach HAHA poor guy. This was one of those I-think-I-only-need-to-do-once type of activity. I also cannot imagine doing this hike any month after March….it was felt SO hot just at 70 degrees.
We headed to Death Valley the next day. Jared sat it out, which was sad and hard *and* I was grateful for time with my parents and brother. We hiked the Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch loop from Zabriskie Point, saw Badwater Basin and Devil’s Golf Course, and everything else. This park is VAST. We drove through it the next day on our way to Lone Pine, CA and while still inside the park a fighter jet flew right over us before essentially going into a straight vertical climb. It was so unexpected and so cool. For someone who is wildly unsettled by the slightest turbulence and has pretty intense turbulence anxiety, I love fighter jets and planes. Top Gun is easily one of my favorite movies.
We were now officially out of the dessert, but unfortunately snowed out of Yosemite and Mt Whitney’s Pass. So we headed straight for the coast. We stayed in Seaside and Carmel, taking a day trip to San Fransisco one of the days, It so happened it was the day after a ‘cyclone bomb’ hit so Alcatraz was closed. Womp womp. We hiked the Batteries to Bluffs trail, through a neighborhood too with the most beautiful homes. This was an unexpected but favorite part of the trip. Truly, a lot of this trip tested us all with our ability to be patient and flexible. This was a sweet reminder that keeping an open mind sometimes leads to opportunities otherwise you wouldn’t have had.
We spent the last few days of our trip exploring Big Sur. We saw redwoods (which was great because we were so excited to see CA’s big trees but Sequoia was closed for flooding and Redwoods was a little too north for this trip), hike, say ‘omg this VIEW!!’ no less than 20 times, drive down Highway 1, visit the Hearst Castle, and see elephant seals in the wild. The second half of this trip had my heart. The cliffs, the forests, and rolling hills, the Pacific ocean. Just loved it all.
Jared and I are in that season of life where so much feels go, go, go. With the miles and itinerary this trip covered, it felt that way too. At my unhealthiest, I had zeroooo awareness of just how fast and unrestful my life was. Being able to say “oh yeah, we have a lot going on” helps me stay mindful in the midst of it all. This then helps me meet my needs. Business doesn’t have to compromise our needs *and* business can often be the biggest barrier to meeting those needs. There’s also a difference between got a lot going on and viewing your life as a check list. Signs in my own life that things feel like a check list is when I have an ongoing list of what’s next in my head, that I am less communicative with loved ones around me, and I’m overall a little bit more irritable. Lol.
Here’s too this busy season of life & this packed-full trip that were marked by mindfulness, quality time with loved ones, and enjoying it all. Even in the whirlwind.