Although we’ve closed the chapter on our international travel, we’re still exploring and pretty much living out of a backpack…..so I am going to keep writing! Please, feel free to stop following this blog at any time- I will in no way be offended. At this point, it’s a bit like a picture journal for me and I’m enjoying the whole process.
Shane was in the wedding of one of his best friends this past weekend, so we got to travel up to one of my absolute favorite spots in California- Big Sur. We were up at 3 am and on the road which was great because we’ve never gotten through LA traffic so quickly! The 7 hour drive flew by.
As you start to get close to Big Sur, there are tons of Vistas to pull over and check out. We stopped at one with tons of cars, figuring it must be quite a view. Walking straight out to the water, we saw 3 or 4 seals playing in the water and watched them for a while. We turned to go back to the car and as we walked a few more steps, we saw what everyone was there for….100’s of seals all over the beach and the water. TONS! I’ve never seen so many seals. It was fun to watch them slither in and out of the water and all huddle on top of each other, making their funny noises.
That night we went to the rehearsal dinner after a quick nap. I love weddings!
The next morning we went for a gorgeous hike and I was again feeling in complete awe of nature. Big Sur is a very well preserved, undeveloped area and has that “raw” feeling that I love.
After our hike, we wanted to check out one of the Big Sur beaches: Pfeiffer Beach. We waited in line to go down a 3 mile hill leading to the parking lot (restricted access is nice so the beach isn’t overcrowded!) The tall, deep green ferns against the ocean and cliffs is so unique and beautiful. It feels equally powerful and peaceful here.
The day before someone told us this beach had purple sand. In my head, the purple sand beach was shiny and glittery and looked like a fairy tale- I couldn’t wait to see it! In reality, it was slightly less impressive than my imagination and there were small patches of not so shiny purple sand (manganese garnet deposits fro the rocks)….but it was still really beautiful 🙂
It wasn’t hard to see why this beach is one of the most highly photographed spots in Big Sur. This huge rock structure with an almost perfect arch/doorway looks like the gateway to heaven! It was mesmerizing watching the light and waves come through.
Walking down the beach a bit we found an area with hundreds of cairns. (FYI: A cairn is a human-made stack of stones that is sometimes used as a trail marker and sometimes carries spiritual meaning- a practice of patience and a physical effort of creating balance). I love the connection of nature and prayer and took the time to create one of my own.
The wedding that night was at the Henry Miller Library. Henry Miller was a writer who lived in Big Sur from 1944 to 1962 and wrote about the “joys and hardships that came from escaping the “air conditioned nightmare” of modern life.” He said that Big Sur is the “California that men dreamed of years ago, this is the Pacific that Balboa looked at from the Peak of Darien, this is the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look.” I happen to agree with him.
Which makes it an extremely dreamy, romantic, and magical backdrop for a wedding. Here is the beautiful bride and groom on their first dance.
I didn’t get many pictures with my own camera because I ended up being the wedding photographer for part of the wedding! They didn’t hire a photographer and instead asked a friend to take pictures with her nice camera. The problem was, that friend was IN the wedding- so her husband actually was the one taking the pictures. After 3 glasses of champagne at the rehearsal dinner, I told him I would help him with the responsibility because “I love taking pictures!” Well, he held me to it and at the beginning of the ceremony when I said “Let me know if you need any help”, he (unexpectedly) handed me the camera, smiled and sat down. I do love taking pictures, but I didn’t know what the heck I was doing! It sure was fun though.
It was a really laid-back wedding and they also didn’t have a DJ, just music playing from people’s iphones. Not many people were dancing (other than Shane, myself and a couple other people) so I took it upon myself to also be the dj. I would run off the stage/dance floor towards the end of each song and pick another one. Shane didn’t even realize what I was doing until Bel Biv Devoe’s ‘Poison’ came on and he looked at me and said “Are you the DJ?” 🙂 We ended the night in a huge circle, locked arms, singing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. It was fantastic.
The next day/night we went camping at an incredible campsite right on the cliffs. When we were gathering tinder for the fire, we met this great Australian guy who had been traveling through the US for a while. He had also been to India (Varanasi specifically) so we had fun chatting about it and telling funny memories. He had been mostly camping all along the California coast, through Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. His next stop was Miami which made my jaw drop, thinking about the culture shock going from the quiet forest of Big Sur straight to the epitome of flash and excess that is South Beach. What fun!
We hiked down to the beach right by our campground and found the most serene spot. You know those sound machines that are supposed relax you and they have sounds of the ocean and usually a babbling brook? This spot had both of those sounds simultaneously (and quite loudly) and it made me want to sit down and meditate. Or, lay down and take a nap!
“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller
It was so great to be at the wedding and around friends that we love. And we were so grateful to spend more time in our favorite place- the outdoors 🙂
We’re both feeling slightly more adjusted to being home now and have committed to keeping our same sense of awe, wonder, curiosity, and adventure in our “normal” lives.
“If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.” -Henry Miller