While I was in Ecuador, I decided to look for and purchase a ticket for one week in California’s Bay Area (Specifically San Francisco & Oakland). I had never been to the west coast and was itching to visit. In fact, I was simultaneously planning two trips out west. That’s how badly I wanted to go. Luckily for me, after Ecuador, I was going to find myself with a lot of free time. It made sense to me to plan a trip, the way it makes sense that 2+2=4.
As is quite normal for me when I arrive somewhere during the day, I spent no time dropping my bags and heading out into the city. I’m very much a homebody, couch potato if you will, but once I’m in a new place, my Dora the Explorer hat comes on. I definitely did not fly across the country to sit at home twiddling my thumbs & scrolling through Instagram.
After a series of messages with my cousin, I learned where to take the BART (Bay area rapid transit ) from, and headed into Downtown SF with absolutely no plans. I just wanted to wander. There’s something about being alone and not having an itinerary that leaves me with a sense of calm. I didn’t have anywhere I absolutely needed to get to, nor did I have any time constraints. I kind of just went with the flow, willing to get a little lost, although with the knowledge that Google Maps was handy. 😄.Walking the streets, I realized how different and similar it was to NYC. It’s the parts that were different that I liked. SF felt calmer, less rushed, and I didn’t feel suffocated by people. To me, the city seemed like NYC’s cleaner, more reserved older sister & I liked her already.Ravenous, I stopped at the Ramen Bar to try Ramen that didn’t come from a plastic box for the first time and it was delicious. Delicious and overpriced but still delicious. In the slightly chilly weather, a warm bowl of Ramen was more than welcome.A few blocks down from the Ramen Bar was the famous ferry building on the Pier. Well, one of the Piers. The Piers here are numbered out of order (or it seemed so to me) so you can’t just say “I’m at the Pier”, you have to say which one.
I decided to walk to the nearest one, and this was where I met K – a nursing student from Los Ángeles- who I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon with. I had asked for her help taking a picture and returned the favor. Before I knew it we were trading names & travel stories.
It’s the kind of thing that’s never happened to me before. I’m always traveling with someone so I’ve never 1) made a friend on my own on my travels 2) felt comfortable enough to spend more than 2 minutes in their presence. Usually, I’m quick to disappear, comfortable enough to share a quick laugh and nothing more; but one of the beautiful things about travel is that it forces you to step outside your comfort zone. You travel enough and you start to find courage in places you didn’t know you had it. This, of course, is not simply the result of going somewhere, it’s the experiences you have and how you react to them that tend to evolve you. The weather in the Bay was what I’d call ideal. In July, it wasn’t scorching hot or humid like Miami is. There was almost always a cool breeze in the air which meant I needed a jacket most days, but it was nothing uncomfortable. Being the tropic native and all-around nonchalant dresser than I am, I often forgot my jacket at home. Tip: Be prepared to take your jacket on and off like Jaden Smith in Karate Kid. Weather in the Bay Area is temperamental and strange. It could be warm and sunny on one side of the street, cross over to another side and it’s still sunny but chilly. I’m serious.
Temperamental weather aside, my first few days in the Bay were promising, so I couldn’t help but look forward to the week ahead. Remember when I said I didn’t have an itinerary? When I realized how much there was to see, I decided to make one for the rest of the week.
This is part 1 of a series covering my recent trip to California in July. It’s been a long time coming but I just haven’t been able to put out the words I wanted to share until now. If you’d like to see more photos from the trip, check out my Instagram page here.
Thank you for reading!
All photos shot & edited on iPhone 6S+
Same footprints, Different Sands