I’ve wanted to share my time in California with you all a lot sooner, but it took me a while to sort out my pictures and write down my experiences. But now it’s finally done. My first blog post about my time in LA. I hope you all enjoy.
The City of Angels!
Before my three week camping trip last year started with Trek America, I spend 5 days in the City of Angels, Los Angeles. Oh and how much I learned not only about this city, but also about myself.
For my first two nights in the city, I booked a shared room at the HI Hostel in Santa Monica. It was not only my first time in LA, but also my first experience staying in Hostels. And I now understand the hype.
I booked a shared all female dorm with our own bathroom.
The moment I stepped into the room it proved how easy it is to meet new people, with everyone asking where you’re from and where you’re travelling.
I always found it hard to believe when people said that hostels are the easiest way to meet people when travelling. Being afraid that although this applied to them, it would probably not to me. This trip proved to me that when you open yourself up for it, and not join the breakfast table zoned out listing to your music as some do, it is so easy to talk to people and join them in activities or for a drink or two.
My first night in Santa Monica, after a 14 hour flight, standing in line for about two hours waiting for customs and with a terrible jet lag, I went over to where my friend Aimee and her boyfriend Ron were staying. She came over from Oregon to spend a few days in LA and to see me again (YEEH!!) after 6 years. Couldn’t believe it had been that long since she came to visit me in Rotterdam. I met Aimee during my first contract on the MV Explorer back in 2009, when she was doing a Semester at Sea and we clicked instantly as friends.
We had such a great time seeing the sunset over Santa Monica and catching up over tacos and beers that night.
The next morning we left Santa Monica early for our visit to Disneyland.
I loved it! Even though it was hot, even though it was busy and the lines were long, I still loved it. You know when people say, feeling like a kid in Disneyland. That was totally me.
On Tuesday I pre-booked a biking tour through Venice beach and Santa Monica with Barbara.
This was one of the activities I booked through AirBnb and I really enjoyed it.
Barbara really knew a lot about both places and I had a good time riding along the beach, the Venice canals, seeing some incredible murals and visiting the Santa Monica Pier.
That afternoon I took an Uber to my next hostel, the Freehand in Downtown LA.Where HI hostel in Santa Monica felt a bit like a student dorm, the Freehand feels very luxurious, like a hotel, with a nice looking lobby and bar. Again, I went for an all-female dorm, and it was a 4 bunk this time which felt a bit more comfortable. Very cozy and clean.
That night was very exciting as I was part of the audience of The Late Late Show with James Corden. I entered a few months before coming to LA through 1iota.com and was thrilled to find out I was invited to join.
The guests were Mark Ruffalo, Chelsea Clinton and Mackenzie Davis and it was amazing to see them and James in real life.
Wednesday was my second pre-booked activity through AirBnB, the Runyon Canyon hike with rescue dogs. It was such a great experience. You take all these cute dogs on a nice long walk and get them used to people and other dogs so they will be ready for adoption.
I also met the loveliest lady, Lena, who I, after only spending 2 days together, call a dear friend. (Since my trip to LA, Lena has come to visit me here in Rotterdam last September, see my post about that weekend here)
That night, Jeff, Kiki, Lena and myself went to see a baseball game at Dodger Stadium. My very first baseball game ever, hanging out with friends I met less than 24 hours before.
I loved everything from the first view of the stadium, the overpriced gigantic beers and the 7th inning ‘Take me out to the ball game’ sing along.
After the game we went to have a drink at the coolest club called No Vacancy.
Thursday it was time to finally try Egg Slut for breakfast, and with a bit of a hangover this was absolutely perfect. I had the Bacon, Egg & Cheese sandwich and it was the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time.
I had to say goodbye to Jeff and Lena that morning, but was very happy to still be able to meet Kiki that afternoon for a, very touristy, bus tour through LA and Beverly Hills.
On my way back to the Freehand I stopped by The Last Bookstore, as the shop has been on my Pinterest board for months. And it did not disappoint. A few hours and a few books later, I was on my way back to the hostel to pick up my bag and make my way to the Fairfield Inn where I would spend my last night before my long awaited Westerner 3 tour would start.
There are a lot of things I was not able to do during my time in LA such as Universal Studio’s, Rodeo Drive and Malibu, even though I had 4 full days, but I was more than happy to put those aside for another time in order to spend time with my new found friends.
That is one of the things I learned from my days here. Don’t plan every single moment of your trip, be flexible and allow yourself to say yes to the spontaneous things that come your way. I did and it made for an unforgettable few days.