By Carly Clegg
s there a place in the world that you really just soul-connect with? Whether it‘s the great wide somewhere, your grandparents’ home or a country in Europe? For me, I have an all-consuming, overwhelming love for the state of California. I’ve had it since I was in the 6th grade and I can’t explain where it stems from, except that it’s been a constant hum in my inner self that lingers until I’m physically reunited with the Golden State. A collision of the mysteries of the Universe and my soul’s deepest desire.
It sounds dramatic I know, but it’s how I’ve always been wired; so you can imagine my reaction(s) when I had the opportunity to take a road trip up the California Coast…complete and utter awestruck from every single enchanted crevice that we discovered. Let me preface by saying that I’m not one to get overstimulated by my surroundings; I can handle chaos, large crowds, variations of sounds, smells and sights- but put me deep in the Redwoods on the spine of Big Sur and it’s like my brain forgets to communicate with my body. A paralyzing reaction to the grandeur of the earth.
Seven days, eight cities and 1,560 miles make up a road trip from San Diego to San Francisco and I can confidently say, my life will never be the same.
San Diego–Laguna Beach–Santa Barabara–Cambria–Paso Robles–San Francisco–Monterey–Carmel-By-The-Sea–Malibu–San Diego
There’s a nostalgic and child-like thrill that comes from the anticipation of the road less traveled. The people to be met, the stories to be shared, the lessons to be learned, the “remember when’s” in the making.
My husband and I were ballin’ on a budget, but we made sure we squeezed in every opportunity that came our way, regardless of our tight finances. Thankfully, Airbnb, local bed & breakfasts and campsites made for an affordable option for lodging. These creative accommodations allotted more funds for sightseeing and for touring museums. Hearst Castle was a stop on the itinerary, and it’s undoubtedly worth the time to take the tour and pretend you’re on a floating castle. It especially stuck out to me, not only because it sat atop 40,000 acres of coastal ranch land and had a pool designed with gold mosaic tiles; but also because it was designed by Julia?Morgan, the first woman in the state to be granted an architect’s license.
The simple joys of a road trip, you can stop and go wherever your soul directs you…and that was only day two!
Throughout my trip I journaled the term “travel eyes” that came to mind as I was gazing at the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1. At the time I think the phrase simply meant absorbing and analyzing every new thing that I was seeing, because new places require new learning. You notice things because you need to. But now, after the fact, it’s the film that’s removed from our line of vision that forces us to be more vigilant to our priorities. Travel has that special way of shaking the brain that allows you to get reacquainted with yourself.
It was in Carmel-By-The-Sea that I met Carrie Theis, the proud and dedicated owner of the Bavarian family-owned inn called Hofsas House Hotel, that I was reminded of the importance of family heritage and building off of that legacy. I was able to sit down and talk to her about the history of the bed & breakfast and the city of Carmel, and received some expert level winery recommendations. She was a gracious host and really put into perspective what hard work and selfless hospitality looks like.
In that moment, I was reminded that travel is a medicine that stimulates us to observe and connect with life that is yet to be discovered. The simple act of befriending a stranger or striking up conversation in an Uber can lead you to become more self–aware and introduce you to a whole new point of view-if you let it. Be humbled by failures, wrong turns and language barriers and remain patient with yourself along the journey.
Carly is a Texas Native living in San Diego, California with her husband and English Bulldog. She studied Telecommunication Media Studies at Texas A&M University and has been chasing dreams ever since. Currently, she is the proud Digital Content Director for a woman-owned online boutique, Town & Key headquartered in Dallas, Texas that embraces individuality and empowers women to express their unique style. A performing arts enthusiast, her passion for production led her to positions at entertainment and media giants like the Walt Disney World Company and iHeartMedia. Always open for thought-provoking conversation and connecting with others over an iced coffee, you can find her on Instagram at @carlyclegg.