San Francisco

Who says you need a plane ticket in order to travel? There's so many forms of transportation-planes, cars, buses, trains, boats, bicycles...

Quick pit stop after grossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

Quick pit stop after grossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

The distance and time that came with driving was brutal, but well worth it. On the way up, we passed through the farm land of California which I have never seen before. There was livestock and lots of fruits. Though the drive was long and taking a plane could have been much easier and a lot faster, it gave me an opportunity to see more. I have lived in California for 16 years and I’ve never seen the mountains and landscapes that we saw while driving up to SF.

The transition from beach town/suburbia OC to the busy city of SF was interesting! It basically felt like once we left Orange County, the land stretched out and the city faded and all there was were hills and cows everywhere. Slowly after 7 hours the roads got back together, the number of cars grew, and the city slowly started coming back to life.. only this time it was a lot more squished together and a lot taller than what I'm used to.

Admiring the architecture in San Francisco.

Admiring the architecture in San Francisco.

Fire escape shenanigans.

Fire escape shenanigans.

Not really sure if we were allowed to crack this window open at the hotel, did it anyway.

Not really sure if we were allowed to crack this window open at the hotel, did it anyway.

As a soon-to-be college undergraduate, and fresh senior in high school, we took the opportunity of being up here to look at colleges, so that's what a majority of our days looked like. We woke up early, threw on our grown up faces, and headed to orientations and campus tours. Once that was all done, we found ourselves roaming around at the heart of the city. We walked aimlessly around blocks, got lost, sought out shanty lucky stores selling gems and stones, and my personal favorite..we devoured the coffee and toast at The Mill SF.

The Mill in SF. The best toast I've ever had.

The Mill in SF. The best toast I've ever had.

While searching the nooks and cranny’s of cities that you’re foreign to is fascinating and exciting, there is no shame in hitting up the classic tourist spots. The only thing I caution to those who claim to be tourists is this: do not see what you have come to see. Explore. Get lost. Visit the unpopular. If you find a place that doesn’t have a yelp review, go in anyways. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from branching out to new places.

On THAT note, our first “tourist” destination was Fisherman’s wharf. I appreciated this stop as it felt like a breath of fresh air away from the crowded city buildings. We visited boudin for some fresh baked (and really cool looking) bread, wandered down the pier while window shopping (and actual shopping) at Jewelry stores and fruit stands. Finally, we made our way down to see the infamous place where there are supposed to be hundred’s of seals and sea lions perched a top the wood floats.. but sadly there were only two that day.

2 sea lions out didn't stop us from happy jumping!

2 sea lions out didn't stop us from happy jumping!

You can’t expect me to drive up to San Francisco and not go across the Golden Gate Bridge! Of course (as our next “tourist” stop) we did that.  I think me and my friends took literally every photo opportunity we could by stopping at every place possible to get different angle’s of the bridge. Perspective is awesome. It looks breath taking from afar, and the closer you get, the more awestruck you are. Before driving across, we stopped along the shore line to find a hidden treasure of SF called the wave organ. I was too caught up in the moment to take photos, but it was pretty cool. The concept of it is that the way this sculpture was built, the waves create noises through out the architecture. There were people painting views of the city skyline and journaling out their thoughts. It was a pretty special moment.

After that stop, we took our sweet time driving across. Getting in random stranger’s family photos, sticking our hands out the window, letting the wind run through our hair. I loved every second of it.

A different angle of the bridge.

A different angle of the bridge.

The windchill was real!! But the view made it worth it!!

The windchill was real!! But the view made it worth it!!

On the shores in San Fran.

On the shores in San Fran.

A fun fact: I walked across this bridge when I was a brownie in girl scouts while wearing a rainbow jelly belly hat on my head with a fan on it.

A fun fact: I walked across this bridge when I was a brownie in girl scouts while wearing a rainbow jelly belly hat on my head with a fan on it.

On our 7 hour drive home, I watched the city skyline fade from my point of view. But more importantly, in the traffic, I gazed out –as the day had just begun– watching all the people. Some had bikes. Some looked at their feet as they walked. Some were on the phone. Some were laughing, and some just looked pissed. I wondered where everyone must be going.. work? Picking up their mail? Meeting for coffee with a friend? That is what I loved about this city. There were parts of it that I couldn’t relate to, and other parts that I was head over heels for. Amidst the chaos and hectic lifestyle SF holds, there was beauty in the balance of crazy and soul-filled wonder. SF, thank you for the adventure. I will see you soon.

- Aubrey Dela xx