Sometimes I will go to a cafe to write and enjoy a cup of coffee. The atmosphere of the coffee shop can be both calming and energizing. The sounds of bartsias brewing beans and steaming cream combined with the chatter of people working on projects or just catching up with friends creates a gentle hum perfect for writing a few thoughts on paper.
The morning I took this picture I was in Sightglass Coffee, a cafe on 7th Street in the SOMA (south of market) neighborhood of San Francisco. I was a few months into a new job that gave me the opportunity to take work assignments in various cities and travel to different parts of the state. It was a perfect way to take trips and pay for my expenses. That was a year of meeting new challenges and learning a few things.
Like, a person becomes a expert only after going through the experience. The collection of my travels thus far were just for attending a few conferences and visiting friends and family so I wouldn’t call myself a travel expert. However as I made an effort to see more places I noticed a few things. Like the a solo road trip from the So. Cal’s Inland Empire to the Bay Area is not a hard as I thought it would be. The best luggage to carry on excursions is small and light. Oh, and on trips one should dress comfortably-fashionable, even just to sleep on a plane, because you never know who you may meet. With every purchase of a plane/bus/train ticket or start of an automobile a traveler collects the tips of the trade that turns him/her from novice to expert.
And travel doesn’t have to be in far flung places to be a memorable experience. One of the things I love about traveling through my home state of California by car or train is that I can see the diversity of the landscape. In one road trip you can see the land shift from a dry, windy desert to forests thick and heavy trees of all kinds running into concrete jungles and cityscapes that transition into soft sandy beaches along the shoreline. Each of these cities and towns have people with their own ways and habits of living that can be different form the others. For instance Los Angeles is a busy city packed with people doing things but Palm Springs, just 3 hours to the east, is a little less crowded and bit a more chill and relaxed in nature. Then there is San Francisco with its mix of old victorian homes, skyscrapers of the 20th & 21st centuries and a wave of technology start-ups that at can make it feel like another country.
Ok maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration about SF. But since taking that picture above I have gotten a chance to explore more of the Bay Area. I had grown accustomed to the view of the city and the Bay on my morning commute, the lines at my favorite food truck and the hum of tourists, tech workers, vlogging hipsters, retired hippies and just plain regular folk mixing an interacting each day. I realized I wanted to stay.
However that was not my original plan, which was to get a flexible job and travel as much as possible. That plan was my means to have a fun, balanced life after years of the hard work of getting a degree and a good job. Moving to the Bay Area, with its high rent and parking fees, would require me to get a regular full time job again. But it’s ok to change plans sometimes if you find something you want. And if people can move to other countries to travel and live their best life as an expat why can’t I move across the state to do the same? Besides there are several ways I can meet my goal of exploring the world around me. I don’t have to quit my job to travel the world. So I’m moving to a new place and getting ready for new adventures. I am looking forward to spending time in cafes like this sipping on a latte, writing and reflecting on new experiences.