We all come from someplace. A birth place can dictate your customs, your mannerisms, your accent, and how you spent your childhood. I spent my childhood, in shorts, stomach on a carpet, watching soul train on teleision.
I grew up amongst yelling, screaming, violence, and looking like I was from a perfect family. As I grew up, I realized that there are ideal families, not perfect. Ideal families that like to hangout with each other and enjoy the holidays together. I stopped going home at 19. Now, I know some people are sadden by that, but really it taught me independence.
This year, I decided to return. I am 27. I rented a small “cabin” in Topanga, California. I drove 12.5 hours west. I wanted to return home my own way. While there are things I would rather leave 12.5 hours away, there is also the warmth of the sun, tacos, salt in the air that I deeply missed.
So, I returned home and did the one thing I always wanted to do while living there: I bouldered, I ate tacos, and rented a house by the ocean.
This is Stoney Point, California:
I loved returning home, I hated it, and I learned from it. I learned why I left. I left an unhealthy environment. I left the heart wrenching social inequalities you see in the neighborhoods. I left the boom boxes and selfie sticks while hiking,
But, then you catch the moments of beauty that reminds you of something you lost. My father dressed up (he is a Valley kid x 10) he made reservations at Moonstone. It is a beautiful ocean front restaurant with the best fish you will ever taste. For the first time, I met his beautiful inside and out peruvian girlfriend. Oddly, it is also about that midday shower outside with the sun hitting you, and remembering how much you love cold showers.
This is our little house in the Topanga Mountains with an outside bathtub, and Shower:
The ocean. The salt filled air. The sun crabs digging beneath the sand when each wave hits. The dolphins jumping amongst the waves. The Succulents that grow naturally and the green waterfalls hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains. The kindness of strangers in the Valley.
The history of a place developed by a sense of wonder. From the rich culture of museums, and learning about those who walked before us. The beauty of food from all over the world, and people from all over the world,
Here is a photo from La Brea Tar Pits. In case, you didn’t know, in the middle of Los Angeles, there are tar pits where archeologists have uncovered some of the oldest bones in the world.
We are human, and the complexities of a place reminds us that even in a place like Los Angeles there is something wild and free. My home taught me to keep an open mind, and cherish the little wild that is left. It’s not the people that destroy a place, it’s the mindset of greed, fake beauty and taming society.