Capturing Moments from the Pacific Coast

There is something so untouchably, yet infinitely special about stepping off a plane and knowing you're not at home anymore. Somewhere in your mind, you know it for sure - this definitely isn't the little town I left a few hours ago. At the same time, your body feels just the same. Maybe a little stiff from sitting on the plane, but nonetheless, you're the same person, with nothing but excited images of what you're going to see flashing in your mind.

California lived up to every single hope that I had in mind. The dazzling blue waves, the coastline dotted with trees, mountains, and surfers. Warm sand between your toes - a bustling city filled with life. California far surpassed all of my expectations, and I know for certain I'll be back as soon as I can.

We started the trip - as the Bruns family must do - with Disneyland. As a Disney family, it was such a strange turn of events to not know exactly where we going, and know exactly what to expect. On the contrary, we got lot - a lot! We only had two days, but as Disneyland only has two parks, we had the perfect amount of time to explore the new rides and lands we had never seen before. We had - in Disney fashion - a magical time, and even though we were on the other side of the country, being in Disneyland felt just like home. It was the perfect start to an unfamiliar vacation, and it only got better from there.

After we toured Disneyland, it was time to move to our hotel in Los Angeles. Growing up in a partly rural area of Pennsylvania, being in a big city is always a treat. Los Angeles was like nothing I'd ever seen before - streets lined with achingly tall palm trees, swaying under a constant blue sky. I loved the architecture as well; not just the skyscrapers, but the beautiful colors, and the cozy coffee shops and restaurants on street corners. Los Angeles, though touristy on Hollywood Boulevard, packed with overpriced shops and filled with crowds at Santa Monica, was a dreamy city. There was so much energy in the air (probably because it felt like the city held more cars than people...).

We spent two days exploring Los Angeles. We ate in Chinatown and explored Santa Monica Pier. Los Angeles was hot, and it was so interesting to see how different things were from being at home. There was so much more outdoor seating - I had completely forgotten how often California sat in dry spells. Despite the heat, everyone who lived there was very fashionable! I felt very much like a foreigner in my tank top and shorts, when everyone else was wearing long pants and stylish, long-sleeved shirts. I could appreciate the change in scenery (and I could also appreciate that my sister, who is vegan, could actually eat burgers and pizza in LA. There were dozens of vegan restaurants, and all the ones that we tried were fantastic.)

Once we wrapped up our adventures through Los Angeles, we had a day of travel ahead of us. Here's a shoutout to my dad for not only taking us through city traffic, but also driving us seven hours up the coast of California! Thank you!!

We didn't want to stop too often of course, just because the actual drive was so long. We did stop at an adorable little restaurant for lunch in Monterey. After our delicious meal we stopped on the other side of the bay - one of the crazy things about the pacific north-ish west was the way clouds and mist would accumulate over the water. In Monterey, coming from inland California, in just the snap of my fingers we were out of the sunshine and underneath overcast skies. Not a hint of rain, of course, just a swift grey mist that hung low over the towering dunes. Truthfully, I think I liked the blue tones over the vibrant sunshine of Los Angeles. Especially as we moved into my favorite city of the trip - San Francisco.

San Francisco was my dream city. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was - maybe the fact that it was a breezy seventy-five degrees at the end of July, or the way the city was stacked on twisting hills and the winding coasts. When we went to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, on our very last day in California, it was the way the wind sent fog and mist flying in your face - not to frown on summer too much, but I love the way the wind bit at my face, but also how you could still see the sun sparkling along the waves below.

Our time in California felt frustratingly fleeting. I was beyond excited for a trip, but based on all the stereotypes that surrounded the state, I had no idea that I would enjoy the state so deeply. Now that I've been, I'm itching to go back soon.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the photos I took - the more I travel, the more I long to travel more. And the more places I go - well, the more places I want to go! I hope reading about California made you want to take a visit, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. Any likes and shares are very much appreciated - don't forget to check out the rest of my website if you liked my photography! And lastly, I've included the rest of my photos in a gallery below, so take a look at the trip in its entirety!

Happy travels!

Julia Bruns

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