Saturday, December 4, 2010

Adventures in California::: "Hopped Off The Plane At LAX..."

Santa Monica Panorama

There's something about California that had me intrigued all year. The sun, the palm trees, the thought of visiting another part of the world where my pasty white skin would stand out in a crowd. Whatever it was, it had been calling my name ever since last winter, and I was determined to find out exactly what it was that I knew I'd been missing out on all this time.

North Dakota, that's as far west as I'd gone before. As a native from Virginia, I thought I was actually doing pretty good. But, again... the sun, the palm trees, and the off-off-off-off-chance of running into Patrick Dempsey at a random Starbucks.. (-sigh-) it proved to be too much for me to sit around and do nothing about it. So here's a ginormous shout out to my awesome photographer friend Josh Newton, who invited me to go second shoot two beautiful weddings with him in California. That was definitely the perfect excuse for me to hop on a plane as fast as I could and be happily on my way to L.A!

The night before flying out of Philadelphia I had to sort through a lot of stuff, and pack everything from the summer. I had to play the whole "make everything be according to the new airline baggage restrictions" game, and so I ended up running on 3 hours of sleep. I had a layover in Houston, Texas, and on the flight I met Randy, the most inspiring man ever. Cancer survivor, strong Christian, amazing story. I love meeting people in planes, and I loved being able to bond with this man enough for him to tell me about the hardest battle he ever had to fight, the closest he'd ever been to God, and how through it all he became a better husband, father, and friend. We both had to hold in the tears at some point! Previously just random strangers sitting next to each other in a plane, we ended up hugging and exchanging business cards before going to our gates. Ahhh... this is why I love traveling. Anyway, I
landed in LAX at 5 pm on a Friday night, bad idea.

"Hopped off a plane at LAX..." and now I have no idea what to do. There were a million shuttles taking you anywhere you wanted to go. It took some time for me to figure things out, but eventually I got on the right one. It had the most hilarious driver ever. Mad driving skills, is what she had. Fighting through the craziest traffic ever, and cracking jokes the whole time. I told her she was my superhero, and I meant it too! It took me 2 and a half hours from when I landed to get from LAX to Union station to catch a train to Santa Barbara. By the time I got there it was 735pm, and I found out that the last train to Santa Barbara had left at 730. Bummer. By then I'd been traveling for 16 hours straight. Double bummer. So I sat at union station and talked to a friend on the phone until it was time to catch my bus to Santa Barbara, which was supposed to leave at 925... and ran on a 25 minute delay.

I finally got to Santa Barbara at 1 am west coast time, and realized it had somehow taken me 21 hours to get there. It usually takes me less time to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It's all good though, Josh came to pick me up at the creepy-because-it's-totally-empty-and-its-dark bus station, and I crashed on the couch feeling like sleep had never seemed so inviting. Welcome to California! :)

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