CALIFORNIA DREAMING

John F. Kennedy once said, “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”

I think of this quote as I stand on the shores of Manhattan Beach LA, alone and crying. My tears are silent, the type that slowly escape your eyes without much more emotion. I’m not quite sure why I’m crying. What I feel is an overwhelming sense of melancholy, an uneasy feeling that after this moment things are going to change.

As I stand here, I think back to the past few whirlwind weeks, filled with perfect moments that will be with me forever. I want to go back to that feeling of arriving, alone in a strange town, yet already feeling like I’m at home. Back to that drunken evening in an Mexican restaurant, where I don’t recall the name, but I do remember the new friends that I made. Back to that moment where I embraced my best friend at LAX airport, reunited after weeks of travelling apart and now excited for our next journey of travelling together. Back to Runyon Canyon, where I glanced out over the Hollywood Hills and felt that sense of awe, that feeling of knowing how big this world is and that it’s standing right in front of me.

I decide right then that I don’t want to go back to the old me, a person that is controlled by routine, confined by responsibility and living out my own sort of ground-hog day, with no meaning and no destination.

I’ve got about an hour until I have to make my way to the airport and leave this place behind, the amazing Manhattan Beach, LA. My mind is racing with fantasy plans of running away and never returning, but I know going home is inevitable. I know when I get home, home will still be the same. But something in my mind has changed, and for me, that has changed everything.

Best beach: Manhattan Beach. Although I didn’t get to see all the beaches in LA, Manhattan Beach holds a special place in my heart. Often a location for the television show ‘Baywatch’, it really does deserve its own show.

Best view: Runyon Canyon. A popular hiking trail, Runyon Canyon offers amazing views of the Hollywood sign and the entire city of LA.

Best food: Sugar Fish Santa Monica. Whilst I wouldn’t normally say I’m a fan of raw fish, this place totally changed my mind.

Best nightclub: No Vacancy Hollywood. I can’t even describe to you how amazing this place is, you really have to see it for yourself. Set in the bygone days of Hollywood, with live music, burlesque dancers and tightrope walkers, it is definitely not to be missed. But a hot tip – make sure you arrive dressed well and relatively sober…

Best coffee: Intelligentsia Coffee Venice. If great architecture is a signature for great coffee, then this place meets all the expectations. They brew the kind of coffee that has you thinking about your next one while you’re still drinking the first.

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