Well, friends, I guess I should come clean about something: I have run away to Los Angeles. Okay, actually I drove. (By myself. Cross-country. I have never done anything like that before, and it was amazing.)
In brief, here’s what happened: about fifteen years ago, I made my first trip to L.A., and I immediately fell in love with the place. It’s not that I don’t love my home state of Virginia: believe me, I do, and I always will. But just like it’s possible to be in love with more than one person at a time, it is also totally possible to be smitten with more than one coast at a time. And I was bitten by the L.A. Lovebug. Hard. I spent the next fifteen or so years trying to convince my family to move west, and also trying to convince myself that I really didn’t want to. I was equally unsuccessful in both ventures. 🙂
Then, a few months ago, I came to Los Angeles for a visit, and I managed to secure a job for myself. (You can read a little about my up-and-down employment history here and here.) Once I had guaranteed employment waiting for me, I had a guaranteed excuse to make the leap from east coast to west. And so I leapt. Totally terrified, completely unprepared, and doing it anyway.
I arrived in L.A. a little more than four weeks ago. Yes, it’s a big city, and dirty, and there’s a lot of traffic and everything is more expensive than back home. I miss my family and friends more than words can express. But I for some reason, I am happy. More than happy, I have the feeling that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. I may not stay forever, but I’m here now.
So, that’s a quick rundown of where I am and why I’m here. I’m including some pictures from my drive. I wish I had taken more pictures and better pictures, but these are a few of my favorites. Also, before I forget, I am writing! New releases coming soon. For real this time.
This “travel plaza” (aka truck stop/gas station) was a welcome stop between Nashville and Memphis. I love this sign.
Stopped in Memphis to take in the grand sight of the Mississippi River. Wish I’d had a better camera to properly capture this moment. What a sight.
Arkansas. A beautiful state, and friendly people. I want to spend some time in Little Rock one of these days. I really liked it there.
Oklahoma, where the sky is incredibly vast and expressive. As I was snapping this pic by the side of the road, a young man in a pickup stopped to ask my, “Everything okay, ma’am?” I love country manners, and I loved Oklahoma.
Downtown historic Clinton, Oklahoma. If I had money to invest in real estate, this is where I would do it. Beautiful place.
Western Texas. After driving a couple hours through flat nothingness, the scenery shaped into something beautiful. I actually teared up when I took this shot. Totally awe-inspiring.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the artists dwell. I could’ve spent a week going through all the little shops.
Bronze archway sculpture guaranteed to capture the heart of all book lovers.
At the Continental Divide in New Mexico. I overuse the word “breathtaking,” but there’s no other single word that better describes this.
Just before I crossed the boarder from New Mexico to Arizona, I took a little side trip. This is one of my favorite pictures. It captures the highway, a dry riverbed, the train tracks and a dusty side road. I adored New Mexico. Didn’t want to leave it.
Totally by accident, I found this tiny house community in Arizona. My heart did jumping jacks and I wanted to make friends with everyone who lived here. #lifegoals
Driving through the Coconino National Forest in Arizona is an experience I’ll never forget. Just, wow.
Took this just inside of California. Can you tell I love mountains? (Or are they just hills here?)
Another happy accident: the giant dinosaur that’s in pretty much every road trip movie since Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the fence, lol, and was already too late to explore and get a better shot. But what fun to see this guy in person.
While in L.A., I’m renting a room from a friend (easier than trying to find an apartment as soon as I arrived). This is Willy, her cat. He’s in charge, of course.
Downtown L.A., where I’m working now. It’s confusing but definitely majestic. I’m looking forward to exploring more.
This is the neighborhood where I’m staying, and this pic is currently the screensaver on my phone. Every time I look at it, I feel at peace.