Epiphanies in San Francisco

Epiphanies In San Francisco

What happened was this:

I got laid off from my job for the third consecutive time and the first thing I thought of was, Get me the fuck out of Chicago. This city, while majestic, has  screwed me for the last four years and if I had to do one more walk of shame out of my office with my bag of crap, it better not be for nothing. I need to be on my way to somewhere better (figuratively AND physically in this case).

My father, God bless him, had a similar sentiment. When I told him what happened one of the first things he asked was – where’s somewhere (within reason) you’ve always wanted to go? He said now’s an opportunity to see something you’ve never seen before. Thanks dad, couldn’t agree more.

A couple days later, my dad and I booked a flight to San Francisco for the next weekend. Why San Francisco?

Well, I have a thing for big ass bridges, people who eat “chowda” on piers, and views that take your breathe away. So basically it was either there or Cape Cod, and I grew up in New England.

I’m not comparing my weekend in San Francisco to Elizabeth Gilbert’s year long journey in Eat Pray Love, but there’s something to be said for allowing yourself some [physical] space between what was, and what could be, even if it’s only for a couple days.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 1

Keep in mind my dad was going about 20 miles over the speed limit here. Two miracles happened: 1. THIS shot. 2. We didn’t get pulled over.

So would I have taken this spontaneous trip if I still had a job? Probably not. Would it change my life? Money’s on no. Might it offer some perspective on my situation and quiet my mind? Yes. 

And to me, that was the only answer that mattered.

Fortunately I had the company of my favorite travel buddy and professional career risk-taker to serve as a sounding board to my stream of consciousness.

We saw some cool shit, but I most remember driving along the bay with my arm grasping at the cool silky San Francisco fog, where my mind wondered and surprisingly started making some sense.

Behold, my epiphanies in San Francisco:

I need to focus on the present.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 2

Typically when I see anything to climb on, I climb. The view wasn’t too bad either.

SanFran2

I read about this hidden forest in the middle of San Francisco where they say on a foggy day, the 200 ft. trees disappear into the clouds. An hour-long hike through nature at first seemed like the perfect opportunity to be one with my thoughts. But as I was hiking I realized how much I was looking down and thinking about work, my future, and my life in Chicago. Finally I started to look up and really take in my surroundings. Here I was on this gorgeous hiking trail, and I was missing it.

What’s the point of being anywhere or doing anything if you can’t stop and appreciate it? That moment in the cloud forest, I needed to focus on what I could control in the present. So I looked up and I did.

My most valuable assets are the people I surround myself with.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 4

 We caved and bought a selfie stick. Our lives are forever changed.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 5

I have a lot of crap. When you’re 25 and you have an online shopping addiction it’s not hard. But even if I doubled or multiplied all of that stuff, it could never hold as much as value as the people in my life. My dad spent the one weekend he had off work navigating San Francisco with me,  listening to me talk.

Things can’t support you like that. They can’t listen to you or give you advice. Most importantly, things can’t believe in you. My dad’s belief in me as I enter the next scary chapter of my life is what I value most.

Travel must be a part of my life.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 7

Epiphanies in San Francisco 8

Haight Ashbury. It’s like stepping back in time, particularly to the 1970’s.  Thrillist posted this article and I became immediately skeptical, but I was a fan…for a minute or two. 

Epiphanies in San Francisco 6

To be fair, I have this epiphany every time I visit a new place. But as of last month I gave myself permission to think seriously about where I find happiness and to focus on making those things a part of my life. And what makes me happy – what’s always made me happy – is traveling. Exploring the colorful nooks and crannies of San Francisco only solidified that feeling.

They also made me have a hipster moment that I think is worth repeating.

Where there is wine. There is peace.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 9

Page Mill Winery’s vineyards in Livermore, California. Grapes for days and a Petit Syrah that will make you forget your boyfriend’s name.

Epiphanies in San Francisco 10

Tasting menu at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California. One word: Chard. Run don’t walk.

On our last day we ventured out of the city to Livermore, a  mountainous town in northern California that pours wine by the gallon. There’s something about walking in a vineyard, hearing people talk about wine, and even the simple act of tasting a new wine on my tongue, that gives me peace. It’s hard to explain, but swirling a glass, bringing it up to my nose, and tasting different nodes of “caramel” or “oak”, gives me an odd satisfaction and calmness. Some find peace in their morning coffee or afternoon run. For me, it’s tasting a new wine.

I thank you San Francisco. You did a wonder for my mind and sanity. Until next time…when hopefully my visit isn’t prompted by another life meltdown.

It's not goodbye... it's see you later. Also, you're welcome Southwest.

It’s not goodbye… it’s see you later. Also, you’re welcome Southwest.

 

Where would you go on a spontaneous trip if you needed to clear your mind? And more importantly, can I come?!

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