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!!!
I came across an article shortly before embarking on this solo adventure about the word "awesome" and how it has become an overused description in our vocabulary for days deemed mediocre.
The word was originally intended as a sense of full awe and profoundly reverential. It was used for moments described as "lifechanging"... yet today in 2017 it stands as a word so bland, stripped and bereft of meaning. The movie was awesome - but really it was average. The restaurant was awesome - but the service was slow. Someone is talking as you wonder if you should clip your toe nails and you reply "oh awesome".
I raise my hand, I am totally guilty of this Also. An ex of mine used to tease me, everything for you is "awesome". Sometimes I used it correctly but more than often it was just a sheer reflexive response. It got me thinking , I want to change my ways and dive back to the words original roots.
If your day was "awesome" was it really and truly "awe-some" ... were you caught in a state of awe, wonder and marvel at the nature, beauty and events that magnificently presented themselves in your life that you are lost for words ?! How many moments of silence, sunsets, crunch of twigs on an untrodden path, connections have you missed out on being trapped in a "busy" , "overconsumed", de sensitized day?
I began paying attention to this a while ago and of late on all my travels through Europe. I can say that I have challenged myself and found myself to live in a constant state of awe, with the most simplistic things leaving me bounding like a child first seeing the world. My pals tease me a lot for my little outburst remarks when I'm overwhelmed with joy at what I am experiencing. Some receive a lot of enjoyment from seeing my responses because they wished their hearts weren't so numb to the magic of the world . I would not choose to live any other way, I cannot imagine not being so easily excited, exploding and high on life from a sheer row of giant dandelions in the side of the road or like when I was 5 and mum still says it will forever be the greatest reaction to a Christmas gift . You could give me a wrapped apple and I would cheer like it was a million dollars.
I cried two days ago soaking in the most delicious bowl of linguine, frothing over the champagne that hit my lips and the site of the endless ocean. I couldn't speak watching the sunset with Spanish music in the background as I sat with two new friends from Sweden I had just met, I ran with excitement as I saw the sights of Big Ben for the first time, my heart pounded as I let it sink in that I was riding on the streets of Paris and was lost for breath each time I passed a church, river, or cafe. Riding a double decker bus into Camden markets on the busiest day my mind was exploding like when I first saw Times Square when I was 18, arriving at a live jazz bar in the quiet streets of an out of the way town my ears transported me to another place and time. I'm teary even just reading this back to myself.
I dare you to live your day in awe. Do it !
See the world as a child for a moment, look around and jump with excitement at the things that have always been there . I have no doubt your days will feel more meaningful, limitless and inspiring . I can't wait to land in Budapest shortly and be lost for words as I sit in the gellert baths, camp in Europe and look at my life of travel like holy shit - this is real !!!!!!!