I’ve been talking about doing this for a while, you guys, and I’m finally here!


Why, yes, it is a small, somewhat dirty hole-in-the-wall hotel room. You miss the point. I am BY MYSELF! I didn’t even realize how badly I wanted the solo time until I actually booked it. I figure it’s been about 12 years since I’ve actually gone anywhere (aside from the grocery store, sometimes) completely by myself. I mean, we were getting to the point of more freedom with the girls because they occupy themselves more and don’t need to come with us everywhere, but throwing a baby into the mix a decade later threw off the natural shedding and rebirth from the mommy cocoon. Also, since we’ve been married we’ve pretty much done everything of significance together, even without children! I almost forgot that I actually like exploring and being alone and feeling like I have the capability to make my own decisions. It’s quite exciting. I took the train northward from San Diego.

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These photos epitomize LA for me. I know I will have some haters, but I grew up about an hour east of LA and I never learned to love the sprawling, gray, dusty beast. I love big cities and everything that comes with them, generally, but in my opinion LA just did it wrong. I was happy to be on the train going through it instead of parked on the freeway.

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Past LA the landscape opens up into something beautiful. The stark coastline opens infinitely to the west, sparkling and blue and beckoning. This is what calls people to LA, really. At first, sagebrush and canyons scrabble and claw their way up the harsh terrain to the east, but as you get further toward Santa Barbara the landscape begins to give way to rolling hills. This time of year it’s a conglomerate of greens all thrown on top of each other, always softer around the edges than what I’m used to in San Diego. The above picture was taken just south of the City of Guadalupe, a small farming community just north of Santa Barbara.

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This is Guadalupe proper. I think I mostly love the train because you see the backsides of places and things that you normally would miss in a car. It’s really a beautiful way to shift perspective when you travel, and I didn’t anticipate this when I first took a long train trip.

I thought this would be a great time to just get some head space and to get a lot of writing done. In reality, I’ve spent too much time on Facebook already, and just wandering a little around the city. Tomorrow I am vowing to keep the internet off (except a newsletter that I HAVE to finish writing) and to make some art, albeit art squeezed into a day trip, squeezed out of my being at my request instead of organically. Sometimes you just take what you can, folks.