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 sitting at a cafe overlooking a canal in Paris sipping an espresso munching on a croissant and contemplating taking up smoking to complete this parisian lifestyle.(but my mother would kill me). Its my last morning here in the city of love and as i reminisce the past week of traveling which has felt like a month, I've got to hold back the little tears that are welling in my eyes at this feeling of wander and magic I have been living in.
I didn't embark on this solo travel as a means of salvation, soul searching or putting my pieces back together. It was not an escape nor did I feel lost. I did that when I was 21 and I've had moments in my days where I remember the overwhelming realizations I had that trip and the experiences that helped me find my way back to my true self and can't help but smile for that lost little girl. But this trip hasn't had those moments, and I questioned should I be, whats wrong ?! And then I realized I am not having those moments because this is the first time in my life I feel so completely and utterly sure of myself and my life. I am not lost, I am exploring. This trip has simply been a celebration of how peaceful, independent and strong I feel within. A celebration of the hard months I have worked at my identity and my knee. Ive spent entire days in silence in my own mind and contemplating the wonders I am seeing, getting lost in books, being transported through music, and being completely present in my time apart from a quick instagram post because god knows I love a photo ( I do not know what any of you are up to as I have not checked my news feed and i love it) .
Some of my favorite moments have been
- a day of adventure with my best friend in London- starting with Pimms at Camden markets, onto a bike ride to Shoreditch, Sweating in the basement of Old Street records dancing our lives away, a stranger buying us tickets to an event which ended as one of the greatest nights I've had out and returning home with the sun at 5 am
- a morning adventure to Notting Hill and being swept up in the Portobello Road markets
- Sipping on an Aperol Spritz ( the best I have had ) in a cafe in the streets of Montmartre as a boy losses himself in his acoustic guitar tunes... I closed my eyes let my head hang back and couldn't believe the bliss I was feeling
- Devouring raclette and escargot for the first time with a carafe of rose and meeting a beautiful Columbian solo traveller and conversing in Spanish for over an hour
- Hiring a Velib bike like a local ( well not exactly as it took me 5 attempts and 5 french speakers until i Found someone who understood english to help me understand the damn thing. I rode for hours through winding streets, getting lost, and losing my breath at the sites and cafes and of course the gorgeous men
_ Sunset picnics both at the Siene and the tour eiffel. Complete silence and my book, shoes off and connecting eyes with lovely strangers
Moments every single day where my mouth is open in awe, my smile turns goofy and i feel like a child seeing the world for the first time, talking and laughing to myself and feeling every kind of emotion. Its only just begun and I already don't want it to end.
Eye contact is such a beautiful thing isn't it. Connecting eyes with someone and a small smile make something so wonderful happen down in your soul so I committed and did this as much as often. Sometimes it followed with entire sentences in french even when I said " Je ne parle pas francais" (I don't speak french) So i just listened to their gibberish and imagined the lovely things they were saying to me. Surely they were saying "mademoiselle , you are magnifique" and not "madame, you have chocolate and your face and you must stop eating those pain au chocolats ". Im Probably going to write a one of "those travel blogs" about Paris because Im actually patting myself on the back for the experiences I had and how much I saw in 3 days!
Ive had some wonderful signs from the Universe on this trip so far, but ill get them and their magic to myself. Ive still got two more weeks of traveling around Europe left to go, I can't wait to see where they take me to and what other stories I will add to my journal. A journal which I found the night I was packing that had my 21 year olds European adventures and secrets, New Zealand sister trip and now this one. Im reading a novel at the moment where a girl uncovers her Grandmothers journals from her Paris experience in the 1920's (which was perfect as i sat in some of the exact neighborhoods) , I guess maybe One day I hope my child or theirs can read and be lost in my words also . With that, I should get going to catch my train back to London. Until next time ....