My Best Moment in San Diego Was Lived not Captured

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.

View from Cowles mountain, San Diego


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.

32 thoughts on “My Best Moment in San Diego Was Lived not Captured

  1. Those are great moments. My husband is really good at taking a minute to appreciate things, he usually makes us close our eyes and listen, but then you would have missed a beautiful sunset! haha Thank you for sharing, I hope you enjoyed my state. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would love to visit the Pacific coast. I have been on both sides of Atlantic, but these landscapes and experiences look so different and exotic to me. San Diego seems to be a nice city 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love San Diego. I just left California after living there for decades but if I ever went back to live it would be in SD. My phone was broken for a few weeks at the end of last year and it was so different to visit places and actually visit without capturing on something digital!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We’re visiting San Diego in August on a stopover on the ay to Ecuador and we picked it for that community feel. LA seems so superficial and I’m glad you agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also tend to not travel around the U.S. because I would rather use my vacation time on international trips. I love San Diego, such a great city. So much to do, and the food/bar scene is fantastic. I need to take a page out of your book and take a break from using technology every once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SD is awesome! I am really glad I had this phone less experience. You should try it once in a while. I would love to read about it 🙂


  6. A great reminder that travelling in our home countries has it’s rewards too, and how important it is to switch off and ‘be’ in the moment, not always be recording it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. San Diego is my hometown! I’m so glad you had a wonderful experience here. My husband and I really enjoy bicycling around Mission Bay, just as you did. It’s wonderful to see the bay and people watch at the speed of a bike (and not in a car!). It’s a nice level path, and it’s pretty easy to navigate. And the water is magical when the sun sparkles on it. One must really take the time to see and notice the special things like you did!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’re so right about the phone, it can often be a distraction for the moment and it’s wonderful to leave it behind. I love a good sunset and you’re right about all the feelings it can bring, I love the way you say everything seems to slow down, that’s so true and it will stay with me! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I also avoid traveling in the US if possible. The gas and airfare add up quickly. And I was lucky to have seen a lot of the US as a kid. I lived in California for five years but haven’t seen San Diego yet. I will try to swing by before I move and sell all of my stuff to continue traveling. I will bring my phone though:)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. San Diego is such a dream. One of my friends just moved there and I’m dying to visit. I know just what you mean about riding a bike after a long time – its not always easy! I love the way you wrote about that sunset, I felt like I was truly there. It’s so easy to get caught up in snapping pictures, sometimes its hard to remember just to live in the moment. This post is such a reminder that sometimes life’s best moments aren’t captured, their felt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should really visit. I am sure you will live SD! I absolutely love the quote “life’s best moments aren’t captured, but are felt.” Happy Travel and keep on writing 🙂


  11. It is such a great feeling when you are in contact with the nature and you are enjoying your trip so much that you just turn off of your normal world and starts paying attention in each detail of what you are doing right now, without thinking about anything else, I love this feeling

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sometimes you do need to disconnect in order to really appreciate the beauty of a trip. I remember the time when I did rafting for the first (and only) time. It’s only in my memory but some moments are meant to only be lived, not documented.

    Liked by 1 person

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