I decided to go to California for a week alone to hike, explore and photograph for my Natural Coexistence series after a major change in my life. This shift in my life made me realize how important it is to spend time with yourself so that you can learn more about who you are. When I decided I wanted to go somewhere for a week to take some time alone the goal was to push myself in photography, push my body and mind. I wanted to go somewhere where I could be outdoors, see unique cities and somewhere that had different landscapes for my series. As one can imagine it would take months to see all that California has to offer and based on some of my previous favorite trips there, I wanted to see more!
A year prior to my trip I flew into SFO airport, touching down in California for the first time while on a work trip in Monterey. I started my adventure with only 48 hours to spend in the city of San Francisco. For me the most important part of being there was the photo shoot that I showcased in the first blog. I still took time to be a tourist seeing the Camera Obscura at Cliff House restaurant, the seals at Pier 39 and hike to Point Bonita Lighthouse. Then I headed down to Carmel, CA to camp at Saddle Mountain Ranch among the Monterey Pines. While this stop was more so a pit stop on my long drive to San Diego, it was also about seeing a town I fell in love with during my previous work trip. There is something so simplistic about pitching a tent then heading out to the west coast sunset with no one and no plans. After a solo quaint dinner in the town it is back to the tent for a bit of reading and writing in the dark of the night. The following morning I took a short detour to take in the views of Big Sur and wave hello to the hundreds of seals and a whale in distance while on a hike.
After many hours of driving, my next stop was a camp site outside of San Clemente. Once I arrived and my tent was up and ready, I was able to enjoy yet another beautiful sunset and dinner in a new place. While on my trip I ate at all local restaurants and enjoyed local coffee shops, rather than the mainstream options. I had the best cup of coffee in San Clemente, Caramel Lavender at Bear Coast Coffee. I had one stop to make in Valley Center for a photo shoot before going into my final route for San Diego. Once I arrived in the city and had explored a bit (yes, this also included a sunset) I sat down to relax at the Adventure Hostel in San Diego. The time difference, many hours of driving, hiking and exerting a ton of energy during the shoots had finally caught up with me. I had no time to rest for the next day was going to be one of the biggest days on my trip! I set out at 5am for Joshua Tree! A place I never thought I would go; I was there and I was hiking, but also photographing. I spent one day there partly by myself hiking and reflecting. The other part with a model photographing for my series. The following day I explored La Jolla and prepared for another day of photographing in Torrey Pines. After a hike down the majestic cliffs I quickly realized this shoot, my simplest one on the trip, was quickly going to become my favorite just by the views and color palette in the images. I had saved the best meal for last, Kettner Exchange. I have had the privilege to travel to a lot of states and eat at a lot of restaurants, but for some reason (it could be all because of the duck meatball) Kettner Exchange is by far my favorite. The following morning I packed my bags and drove another scenic few hours to the airport to head home.
I could tell you ALL the details about my trip, but that is better for a chat over coffee I believe. What I can tell you is that if you ever get the chance to go somewhere alone to explore and spend time self reflecting it will change you. Being in another culture eating different food, seeing the way new people react to you, the quiet moments in a tent alone for a night, a sunset by yourself or just taking a drive for hours in views you've never seen are experiencing you will never forget. It teaches you about yourself and takes you out of your everyday life to reflect on it all the while learning about a new place. There is something about the unknown that makes creativity spark and something about the new and unusual to your eye makes you look at things around you and wonder, rather than take things for granted.
Below are some images from my photo shoots while on my trip. If you would like to see images from my series please check out my Natural Coexistence page and if you would like to know more about my trip or have questions do not hesitate to contact me!