California

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” – Jack Kerouac, Big Sur.

For a long time I have dreamt of visiting Big Sur. Having first heard of it in song lyrics as a child, and then later on in literature, I have always pictured it as place of incredible natural beauty where vagabonds, poets and artists would hideaway in the wilderness, untouched by Western ideals and at one with the ultimate inspiration – nature. In June I was in California to photograph a wedding, and I knew I had to find time to see this place. One of my best friends, Kara, lives in California, so we made a road trip with her family down the coast, through Monterey and Carmel and down to Big Sur. It’s hard to find words to describe the coastline here. The colours are unreal, the mist is soft but thick and unrelenting and makes you feel as though you are floating above the clouds, and the air is warm and smells like the ocean. We didn’t have that much time, so we didn’t make it all the way South, but someday I want to spend much much longer in this part of the world, I feel so inspired here. I also got to see the Redwoods at Big Sur, which has also been a dream for a long time. I really really love trees, and so seeing these majestic old trees (some of which are hundreds – even thousands of years old) was pretty special. I imagined all the things that they have seen in their lifetime, and thought about how amazing it is that a tiny seed holds all of the information needed to make a tree the size of a Redwood.

Before we left for Big Sur we took a walk down to the American River next to Kara’s in Sacramento and took some photos.

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Kara made friends with a duck!

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We then headed out on the road for the coast…

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McWay Falls, Big Sur

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On the way back from Big Sur, Kara’s family dropped us off in San Francisco and we spend a couple of nights here before I flew home. I’ve been to SF before but we were staying in a different neighbourhood this time and it had a totally different vibe. We booked a hostel without really knowing where we were staying, but it turned out to be in North Beach where the beatnik subculture originated, and where some of my favourite authors and poets hung out. Kara and I spent an afternoon in the Beat Museum which was full of snippets of the lives of Kerouac, Ginsberg and co, and we found a place called Peña Pachamama, a sweet little Bolivian restaurant with amazing raw and vegan food. At night we wandered through the streets, mesmerised by the bright lights and neon signs. I can see why creative people are drawn to San Francisco, the inspiration is almost tangible. Everything felt so alive, and the air felt laced with potential, like anything could happen here…

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