I have a confession to make: I have never had any desire to see Los Angeles – if you’re from there, please don’t hate me. I’m sure that my abhorrence for the city is unfounded and I have heard from a lot of other travelers that L.A. has lots of museums, restaurants, and notable sights, however I feel as though – thanks in large part to Hollywood movies and T.V. – that I have already seen too much of it.

With this lack of interest and also a limited amount of time at our disposal, I coerced Spencer into circumventing L.A., instead hugging the coast in favor of focusing on the beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica and Long Beach. The last of the three was more for the town itself and less for the beaches (warning: Long Beach’s beach is gross, muddy and trash-filled, something I had already been informed of and later confirmed with a short visit).

I’m sure I’ll have other chances to see L.A. – though I doubt I’ll die with much regret if I don’t. What we were able to see of the other aforementioned areas was fulfilling in a way I doubt the city center could have contended with. Taking my first dip in the cool, azure waters of the Pacific Ocean was satisfying in a way that transcended just being cooled. Its been a sort of a personal bucket-list item I’ve had as long as I can remember. Being a boy that grew up on the Southeastern Gulf Coast, I am no stranger to beaches but only of the Atlantic variety and living in Seattle, the waters are always far to frigid for much swimming. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more.

The swimming session took place at the Santa Monica beach, where I was one of only a few brave enough to face the, admittedly, still fairly cold waters. Spencer waded in up to his shins and, seeming satisfied, retreated back onto the warmth of the dry sand. My only companions were mostly surfers catching the reasonably sized waves crashing into the shoreline and a couple of small children who squealed with joy in the shallows.

Santa Monica is also home to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, notable for having appeared in numerous movies. It is a sight to behold; a whimsical amusement park of sorts jutting out above the ocean on a long, wooden pier. Atop its large timber planks sits a wonderland of roller-coasters, an arcade, various food vendors and a plethora of fairground-style rides all painted in a rainbow of colors and sparkling with innumerable lights. We toured the whole scene from shore to the pier’s end, exchanging smiles with the other denizens and snapping pictures of all the vibrant sights.

Long Beach was our final stop. I have a close friend that lives in the area, which was honestly our primary reason for going there to begin with, but much as I mentioned in a previous blog post, some of my favorite things about travel are the serendipitous occurrences. Long Beach was such a thing, in the sense that, despite not earnestly being a point of interest for us, we were enchanted by the city. The whole town is a strange and fascinating mix of bohemian culture, urban style and tons of cool little boutiques, bars and restaurants. It possesses an intangible quality – an essence of sorts – that casts a languid, sun-drenched spell on you. Perhaps this was the reason we ditched our plans to head to our next location that day and instead found a very well-priced AirBnb in town so we could crash.

We only have a few more sights on our itinerary that are in California and then we will be off to Nevada and then Colorado for even more adventures.