California Road Trip: Santa Barbara

Bonjour mes amis, from the world-famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California!  I am essentially writing you from a cave right now… but more about that in my next post.  This entry is all about the gorgeous, sunny day I spent in Santa Barbara.  In all of my previous trips up the coast, I have skipped Santa Barbara for no particular reason.  I’m usually set on getting a little bit more north than that, so there was never a reason to stop.  This time though, I made a point of it.  Conclusions:  Santa Barbara is like a tiny San Diego!  Naturally, I loved it.  They have a zoo, a mission, lots of beaches, lots of sun.  The topography is a little different and it’s considerably smaller, but I think it’s safe to say that the two cities have much in common.


On a personal note, I’m getting more into the swing of things travel-wise.  As I touched on in my last post, I have been feeling a certain amount of (self-imposed) pressure to do certain kinds of activities, or have a really great forward-facing time – you know, because the social media perception of life is the most important thing of all (not).  After today, I’m feeling a lot more trusting of myself to choose what I do and do not want to do.  If I’m taking a whole week off of work and spending all this money, I better damn well do what I want!  If it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing or impressive, it’s not the end of the world.  The important thing is that I enjoy myself, and I certainly did today.

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  • Had a quick breakfast at Jeannine’s Restaurant and Bakery – delicious garden omelette!
  • Saw the entire Santa Barbara Zoo in two hours flat – was fully expecting to scoff at it, being from San Diego and all, but it was actually delightful (and cheap! – $15 bucks a pop)
  • Walked along the ocean with my shoes off for two miles until I reached Stearns Wharf
  • Ate lunch at the Santa Barbara Shellfish Company, situated at the very end of the wharf (and got seated immediately despite the wait – #singlerider)
  • Walked the two miles back to my car while tipsy off a couple of local IPAs
  • Stopped in Solvang and was not impressed – kind of surprised that so many people recommended this place.  Maybe I didn’t do it right?  I left after 20 minutes.  As far as I could see, it was just a bunch of run-of-the-mill boutiques and restaurants.
  • Arrived at the majestic and mind-blowing Madonna Inn… but more on that tomorrow…

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  • All of the zoo animals were super close to the glass, and/or really active today!  I sat and watched the gorilla and fennec foxes for a very, very long time each ❤
  • Even though it was disgusting, there was a seal carcass washed up on shore with a big bite out of its stomach, exposing its ribs and organs… disturbing, but also fascinating from an anatomy perspective!
  • Chatted with my neighbors at lunch and got their local recommendations
  • Walking two miles back to my car along the beach all tipsy was really fun 
  • The drive from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo is breathtaking – I love those funny little trees that seem to cling to the sides of the yellow, rolling hills

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I had a fleeting idea about a short essay during my drunken beach stroll… I took a few notes but I wish I’d just sat down right then and written it out.  Something about the essence of traveling – why some people feel a basic need to travel, to see new things all the time, to keep moving… I had a realization about a year back that the reason I crave travel and constant movement is that it’s essentially a desperate attempt to run away from old age, from death.  If one makes everything very fast, right now, perhaps time will slow, or better yet, reverse.  If one chases those coveted, fleeting feelings of yesteryear, maybe time will turn and go in a calmer direction… maybe it would bend to one’s liking and allow just a few more years of peace and tranquility.   You run and you run and eventually you realize that cheating death is impossible, so what is there left to do?  There is only the present moment ever, always.  Be present.  Be alive.  Be here now.  

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Wildflowers outside my motel


Delicious breakfast – egg whites with corn, peas, asparagus and goat cheese (this was just before I doused it in Cholula)


This zoo bird jumped out of nowhere and freaked me the fuck out


Obviously I had to check this part of the zoo out!


Beautiful, papery flowers


Hung out with this dude for a long time.  He was thinking about life, I think.


SQUEE!  #fennecfox


Santa Barbara beach


Stearns wharf


Seagulls just chillin’


The water was actually sparkling


Shrimp cocktail was on fleeeek – accompanied by an oyster shooter and a local IPA


Neat public art near the shore

2 thoughts on “California Road Trip: Santa Barbara

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