“Goin’ to California,
Suitcase in my hand
Never run away a boy
When you can walk away a man”
Lyrics to “The Reckoning” by Needtobreathe
Without being too melodramatic, I believe these lyrics are a description of my California vacation. The words “boy” and “man” have to be replaced with “girl” and “woman” in order to describe my particular experience. Before I went to California, I had never gone on a real airplane ride. The only time I had ever been on a plane was when I went skydiving two years ago. It was such a contradiction that I had only gone on a plane to jump out of it, but to never experience a full airplane trip. I was not avoiding an airplane trip out of fear. I could not have had that fear if I had the nerve to go skydiving.
I believe one of the reasons I may have never gone on a airplane trip was that I felt that I had no opportunity to do so. I had a lot of excuses for not traveling which included lack of funds and my sister’s illness. I believe that my sister’s illness had a huge impact on how far I wanted to be away from home. I felt this urgency to be there for my sister, parents, and other siblings in case something happened. As you know, something did happen. My sister passed away, which not only gave her freedom and rest, but it gave my family our freedom too.
For any other person, a trip to California would just be a trip or a fun vacation. For me, it was a fun and beautiful trip, but it was also the freedom to take care of me. I am very blessed in that I have God, family, shelter, church and so many other things. But one of the things that I have desired to do is to travel without any worries. Finally, I feel that God allowed that desire to happen.
In California, my travel buddy, JH, and I went to San Diego Zoo and watched the animals as though we were little children. We also walked around a beach with more rocks than sand and enjoyed the sight of the splashing waves. We spent time with my nephew and his wife and they took us sightseeing to several spots in San Diego. One of my favorite spots was Mount Soledad, which gave us a view of the entire city. On our last full day, JH and I strolled through the Gaslamp Quarter, a section of the city that was filled with eateries, tourist shops, and people. We moved past the Quarter near the Convention Center.
Behind the Center, we were greeted by the ocean. We saw folks selling their homemade goods or services. JH and I met a man who was charging money for folks to take a picture with his parrot. I have to give this man his kudos for his hustle, as he is making that paper. After JH took a picture with the parrot (I was all set with the bird picture. Lol!), we sat by the ocean and chatted about California. We both love New England as it is the place we were raised in, but we noticed the differences between California and New England. California seemed a lot more chill and laidback than New England. I do not know if it was because we were in chill vacation mode, but we noticed that even the people in California seemed less hurried.
We became saddened that vacation would be ending, and that we would have to leave California the next day. While I was on the plane back home, I listened to music on my iPod, and I wondered if I could ever live in a California, a place that was a 6 hour plane ride from my family and friends. Could I deal with not being able to hop in a car to visit a family member who was in the same city as me? Could I deal with not being able to just call a friend and ask her if she could hang out in a few hours?
I was not sure of the answers, but I knew that I would have to think and pray to God more about my future. A few days after my return to New England, I began to miss the palm trees, warm weather, and ocean views of California. I figured that I was just having vacation withdrawal. No one ever wants to come off of vacation. But even an entire week later, I still think about California as an ocean flavored dream, as a place that I want to visit again. Maybe even as a place that I would want to live in.
The California vacation made me wonder about my own desires and dreams. It awakened this battle between what I want for myself and following God’s will. Between sitting around and dreaming and actually taking action. I have a huge dream to move out of New England, but I do not know what place is the best place to go. In the future, I could end up in California or somewhere else. But I also know that I have to follow God’s desires for me.
It can be so challenging to surrender your dreams and to not know what is going to happen. It feels out of control to not know what’s going on. Yet, it seems that God wants me to be in a place where I do not have control and where He has all of the control. I know that God sees the desires in my heart, and if those desires are aligned to His will, then those desires will happen. For now, I carry this ocean flavored dream of taking another trip to California.
Please check out some Cali photos:
Another beach candid
My favorite spot: Mount Soledad