I tend to avoid traveling within the US because I would rather use my travel fund for international trips.
However, this month when my internship fell through, I made an exception and decided to join my college roommate Nicki on her trip to California.
I was excited to visit because I’ve never been to the west coast and I also wanted a quick escape from the harsh winter of Boston.
The first two nights were spent in LA. And LA was everything I expected it to be—dirty, terrible traffic, and pretentious people.
I just could not wait to get out and start driving down the coast to San Diego. I was beyond thrilled knowing that we booked only two nights in LA.
I instantly fell in love with San Diego. It’s quite small and intimate. People seem very friendly with each other, which gives the city a “tightly knit community” feel.
After a day of taking in a spectacular view of the city while hiking in the Cowles Mountain, we decided to go catch the sunset by the bay.
We only had 15 minutes before the sun set, so we raced against time to make it. Luckily, we were staying at Pacific Beach Drive, and the bay was just minutes away.
Though we had no idea which direction to go, we started pedaling as the GPS was loading.
I was having a hard time taking off on my bike. It had been awhile since I rode a bike, and the oversized bike only made the struggle worse. I couldn’t keep my balance, and I kept on crashing.
It was quite amusing, but deep down I was praying to make it to the bottom alive.
We looped around and found the Mission Bay Beach bike path. I have seen many sunsets, but there was something about the way the sun was slowly descending below the horizon that was unique that day.
Everything around me felt like it was slowing down. I thought that the sunset made quite a contrast with hiking and going and going all day to slowly biking, watching the sunset, and hearing wave after wave crash into the shore.
The light faded and left hues of bright blue, orange, pink, and red in the sky. It was like looking at a painting by Leonid Afremov, one of the most colorful artists that I know.
For a moment, nothing else seemed important. I was living in the moment. I deliberately started to notice the sensory details of everything—the sound of the bike tires, the smell of the water, the waves crashing, the wind against my skin, and most importantly, the feel of the upturned corners of my mouth. I felt the crinkle of my eyes as I genuinely smiled.
What a lovely way to end our day, we agreed. None of the beauty was captured since both of our phones were dead. I know for certain that if we both had our phones, it would have been a slightly different experience.
We would have gotten carried away—snapping pics, applying filters, and doing it over and over again until we found the “best” picture worth posting. After the “best” picture was posted, we would have gotten carried away with refreshing whatever app we are using to see who likes and views our posts.
Delving into our phones would have been trivial, and it would have also taken something away. We would have missed out on the little things, and forgotten to live in the moment.
We’ve traveled to five different cities within six nights and seven days, but watching the sunset and biking around Mission Beach Bay with no cell phone has been one of my best moments in San Diego.