For those who know me well you know I can't go long without some form of adventure. Yes ma'am , I'm a confessed addict...but at least its a good one right ?! I mean the bank account suffers at times but he doesn't mind too much because he knows that money comes and goes and experiences fill your soul forever!
Ive always been a traveller and the type of girl who will be the first to raise her hand if you mention any sort of adventure but in the past year during my knee recovery I realized just how much I NEED it in my life. Of course I bloody love dance and my career but do not be fooled I could be almost equally happy traveling the world with a backpack, writing blogs on new countries and meeting kindred spirits around the globe. Because of this I made 2018 my year to constantly seek adventure...whether its a new hike, a day in a new part of LA, a small day cation or an overseas trip I will constantly be taking time out for myself to do the other things that make my heart sing .
So after weeks of complaining to all my friends "I JUST NEED AN ADVENTURE" I called up my friend Tanya and suggested we take a day cation to Santa Barbara and have our first american experience glamping. Yes we will get to the stage of camping but I've still got to roughen my "sangi" up ( we have strange nicknames... 10 points if you can guess where this came from) . I was extremely proud of her for using a shared bathroom in the canyon !.
Santa Barbara for those not familiar is a beautiful coastal town about an hour and 25 min out from Los angeles city. Its a sun soaked place known for wine tasting, delicious cuisine, bike riding along the coast and shopping!. Being so close to LA its the perfect place for a quick getaway on a solo adventure, girls trip or couples retreat so if you are in LA its a must to tick off !!!.
We set off at 10AM arriving around 12:30PM and our first stop was Handlebar Coffee Shop (128 E canon perdido St) just a few minutes from the town centre. Known for its espresso I had to give it a try and compare it to the Aussie coffee I miss so much. If you have been to America you know that they allow cappuccinos to be a cup of watery froth made from drip coffee oh and it costs $6 australian buckaroos. I ordered a latte with oat milk (my latest dairy free obsession) and it was delicious! A wonderful espresso bean perfectly roasted, the right milk to coffee ratio, not too hot and most importantly not burnt !. So well done to them for delivering such great coffee and also the perfect decor and atmosphere to soak up the sun or spend hours looking important on your laptop.
We walked around the city for a little before hitting THE FUNK ZONE
The Funk zone is an area known for its tasting rooms, cafes, galleries and murals. It covers the largest part of the "urban Wine Trail" which is a path you can walk covering 20 + tasting rooms presenting the best of Santa Barbara County Wines. The fine wine lover that I am of course this was our first thing on the agenda. First stop was Cork N Crowns a small sun soaked cottage with the perfect patio to slowly sip on a tasting. We started with the champagne tasting because we are fancy ladies who enjoy our bubbles, and of course it was a little early for a red. They were delicious and two hours flew by as we closed our eyes, heads rolled back in laughter and pure happiness.
Next Stop was Oreana Wines . This place quickly became my favorite and I have been to plentyyyyy in the funk zone let me tell you. Not only was there tasting a good bang for a buck ! $12 for 5 tastings that you can pick up one at a time at the bar as you please, because no one wants to carry five wines while they boogie on the d floor to every favorite old school song- my favorite VALERIE was of course played. Needless to say we didn't want to leave this spot but our tummies began grumbling as the wine set in and so we hit one of the Food Trucks right by it to smash a Torta ( A mexican bread roll) which was perfect to take on the go as we wandered down to the water and perched on the beach. Maybe it was the wine talking but we couldn't contain our happiness, ok sure the wine had some doing but I mean it guys this place just warms your heart right up. It was getting late so we decided to head to our accommodation for the night
EL CAPITAN CANYON
This Ranch has been saved in my screenshots for over a year. I first came across it and its beautiful cottages and safari tents on instagram and its been high on the list for LA escapes. Just 20 minutes out of the Santa Barbara city into El Capitan it is a secluded Paradise of forest filled trails leading to accommodation that delivers the perfect mix of childhood nostalgia and romantic vibes. They have several different cabins, yurts and safari tents available for rent and we chose the double safari tent for our night stay. For those who want a camping experience but not the type in a sleeping bag and not showering fro a few days (which I'm totally down for ) this is perfect for you. A canvas tent with your own picnic table and fire pit but with 1/2 double beds with sheets and all, electricity and even a mini heater!. But you will still fall asleep under the stars and wake up to the birds.
The ranch has bikes which can be rented for free so we grabbed a pair and headed on the short ride to the beach to make sunset. What a view !!! A little secluded beach with rugged stone corners and the most stunning view we sat until the last glimmer of orange had said goodbye and then rode back... well lets say walked because that hill got us real good. I committed for about half way and then I was practically rolling backwards as I pedaled harder so off we hopped and walked it back to ranch in fits of laughter as we couldn't believe how unfit we were. The rangers for sure must have had a chuckle seeing our red, sweaty faces returning the bikes when everyone else seemed to return at ease.
Exhausted we decided to start the fire, lay out a cheese platter and mini picnic, uncork the wine (Apothic red- the choice of late) and smack on some spotify. The stars are no joke out here so we sat in silence for a good while both in our own little worlds. We kept repeating to each other that this was the best idea we have had of late and it certainly was... after Tanya hit the sack I laid on my back and watched the stars for a good hour caught in my moment of awe.
An early rise for me was easy being surrounded by nature. We grabbed some coffees at the cafe ( which serves breakfast,lunch and dinner which is perfect so you don't even need to leave the area). Had another little bike ride to the beach to read and climb rocks and simply 'be' for a few more hours before returning to reality. This time round I made it all the way up the hill and though my thighs were burning a flame , i did it !.
We were so sad to leave , wishing we had one more day to lap up this moment with nature. Oh I didn't mention that we also took a detox from social media for the two days and me oh my my brain felt so spacious and calm ... I felt like a new woman as we packed the car and waved goodbye to our new favorite day cation ranch.
With an hour and a half we were home and already reminiscing on the good times. Buttttt the good thing is that Santa Barbara is so close, and this vacation so cheap that honestly splitting with another you can spend $120- $150 for your complete two days with accommodation food and all. Ive spent that amount on a night out at Davie Waynes in Hollywood and I don't recall it in my memory banks.
So the next time you need some fresh air and a quick refresh.... Santa Barbara is the ONE!!!
Im currently taking part of a 21 Day Meditation experience created by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Each day it presents a centering thought to focus on and then we meditate using a mantra that vibrates with the topic of the day. Ive loved waking up and beginning my mornings with some light and positivity and even though some days I'm itching and scratching through the meditation as I think about what I want to eat for breakfast and then re run the episode of 'new girl' in my head... I push through!. Though I must admit two times I have fast forwarded the section because 14 minutes is real long for someone who's legs constantly move and twitch as they sip their coffee. Sorry Oprah! We can't be perfect ...
Last week there was a segment on Fulfillment. We were given the task to write down one moment each day that delivered us fulfillment. It could be fulfillment in the form of a full heart, a smile, heightened self esteem, courage... and most importantly it could be something you did for yourself, for another or something another did for you. I thought this was a nice thing to focus my attention on rather than the usual gratitude journal we have all begun, forgotten about, and re started.
It got me thinking though, what makes me more fulfilled ?...
Doing things for myself or for others
Nice gestures, adventures, challenges and everything in between that I provide myself certainly deliver a high level of fulfillment. Theres nothing like attempting your mums gnocchi and it ACTUALLY tasting almostttt like hers or achieving that goal thats been by your bed side.
However, buying a gift for a friend, running to their side when they need compassion, telling someone how much they mean to you, acknowledging someones improvement or goals and the smile that generally falls off their face into your heart provides almost a double dose of fulfillment.
A study in the Journal Of Science showed how performing acts of kindness for others can provide fulfillment and thus happiness. Participants were given a sum of money and divided into two groups: One group was to spend the money on themselves, and the other to purchase gifts for another person. The result was that the latter group reported higher levels of happiness. Another Case Study recorded 95 % of their 3,000 volunteers to experience an increased sense of well being both physically and emotionally and enhanced energy. A certain type of high that psychologists call a "helping high" because it is achieved by helping others not ourselves. For those of us who teach and help others grow - wouldn't you agree the joy you experience from seeing a student kick a goal excites you even more than you kicking that goal.
A lot of these studies point to the clear fact that by HELPING and GIVING and showing EMPATHY and COMPASSION we derive much higher levels of happiness than by competing and being selfish. This comes as no surprise Im sure to most of us but still, living in a place like LA its easy to fall into the act of fending for yourself, working yourself to the bone, chasing to the finish line and becoming selfish with your time. Close to 60% of our happiness comes from our relationships, friendships, and joint experiences... so with that in mind... what could you do this week to provide not only yourself but more importantly a close friend or stranger who needs it with some happiness in their heart.
I challenge you to perform 5 acts of kindness this week and see what it does to your mood, your perspective and your smile!!
Im going to start with reaching out to some people and letting them know just how valuable and worthy they are by thanking them for being in my life :)