Staying home and binge watching brain-dead television may sound appealing to some but after awhile even that can turn into a monotonous routine. Below I've put together a list of the best and most unexpected places in Los Angeles to relax.
Echo Park Lake
I worked at the swan boat rentals at Echo Park Lake for about a month when I first moved out to Los Angeles. It was such a chill job, and being able to spend my lunch breaks resting on the grass, enjoying the warm sun whilst people watching was so relaxing. Take a short stroll around the lake and listen to the wildlife around you, afterwards you'll feel completely refreshed.
SENSE OF BELONGING
Growing up I was obsessed with art and crafts, storytelling, and making d-grade movies (clearly not worthy of the b-grade notability) on my mum’s JVC camcorder. I was always a visual learner and steered towards the arts and humanities subjects unlike my science and mathematical counterparts. Naturally I didn’t quite fit in. When I finally spoke to the careers advisor about wanting to be a film director he simply told me to “be more realistic” and focus on a grounded career path like teaching... Fair enough. I didn’t know the first thing about being a director but, at that stage I was not going to let some middle aged man with a receding hairline, coffee stained shirt and a crooked back from slouching at the computer tell me what to do with my life.
First published in Wanderful
I know what you're thinking, how could anyone visit Yosemite National Park in just 2 DAYS?
My dad frequently spoke about the grandeur of the surrounding cliff faces and peaks, commenting on how the Yosemite Valley was almost too beautiful to be real. So naturally Yosemite had always been on my bucket list growing up. Despite the little time I had to visit the park I was so glad I got to experience it in person instead of on the back of an old postcard.
Whilst on a walking tour of San Francisco our volunteer guide had typed out an extensive list of attractions and experiences that should and should not be done whilst visiting this city. I forgot the lads name but had to repost as it was such a great guide for those who have no clue on what to do whilst here. Enjoy!
Things you MUST do on a visit to San Francisco
Ride the Hyde Street cable car
Visit the Golden Gate Bridge
See the giant Redwoods, Sequoias, or ancient Bristlecone Pines
Fakeness is HUGE - and I'm not just talking about those fake titties. There is really no authenticity to a lot of the people here. Unfortunately, many will use you for their own personal gain.
I've had strangers give me the side eye at the grocery store for purchasing regular milk over the standard cashew, almond, or oat milk...
Although it can be difficult to form solid friendships and relationships once you find your people through social events like sporting groups, church groups, work, creative networking etc, you'll discover that there are still genuine people who are just like you trying to navigate this crazy city that is Los Angeles.
Our Parisian adventure started with the Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour which took roughly an hour. We passed attractions such as Notre Dame, the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, Conciergerie, National Assembly, Palais Garnier and the Eiffel Tower. I really enjoyed the Hop On Hop Off bus tour and would definitely recommend it as it was a quick and easy way to see the main attractions of the city.
Once we finished the tour we walked the streets of Paris, getting our bearings and experiencing first hand local life by enjoying ice cream and fresh bread whilst window shopping. Eventually, we made our way back to our hotel which was situated in the Latin Quarter. Here, we showered and slept off the remaining jet lag.
San Francisco is known for its steep streets, eclectic mix of Victorian and Modern architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, The Rock (no, not Dwayne Johnson), indie hipsters, and cable cars, just to name a few.
I was so excited to finally have the opportunity to visit the city where Mia Thermopolis finds out she's the princess of Genovia (Okay, don't judge, I grew up in the 2000s, watching not only The Princess Diaries but also, Disney's That's So Raven, and the classic Robin Williams film, Mrs. Doubtfire, all of which take place within the fabulous city of San Francisco).
The US prides itself on the ultimate roadtrip, and that was just what I wanted to achieve last weekend. With warm weather and two free days I saw it as the perfect opportunity to rent a car and head up the Pacific Coast Highway, the longest state route in California, and one of the most scenic.
I woke up early Saturday morning and picked up the rental car. Of course I was a little nervous; this being my first time driving solo on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. But much to my surprise it really wasn’t as difficult as I had expected - five months living in the US must have re-wired my brain. I took to the highway with the windows down, sun shining, music blaring, I even cracked open an ice cold Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters (a rare find here in the States).
This morning my travel buddy (AKA my lovely mother) and I enjoyed a delicious English style breakfast at our accommodation, the Park International Hotel, before exploring Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery on foot.
At around 11 am we walked to Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard, which I highly recommend! It is such a fun experience seeing and listening to the marching bands play their brass instruments in traditional military uniform. If you want a good spot in the crowd best get there 20-30 minutes earlier, depending on time of year. Afterwards we did a tour of the Buckingham Palace States Rooms. Overall I thought this tour was very interesting and well worth the £26.50. It offered great insight into the royal family, with historical readings, videos, old stills, and the children's toys and clothing all on display. The interior is lavish and grand; colourful wallpaper hosts large gold framed portraits and dangling from the ceilings are giant crystal chandeliers - the type you could easily swing from... if only I weighed a little less.. and had good insurance.
We then decided to end the day with a visit to Madame Tussauds located in Marylebone, London. It was quite pricey, £30, but still enjoyable, especially if you're with kids or a group of friends. In the final room there were even Tussaud's original wax creations including Voltaire, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Guest Post by Alison Wright
Why is it that Hollywood rom-coms make dating seem so effortless? A meet cute at the local coffee shop leads to a lifetime full of romance, chocolate covered strawberries, orgasmic massages and rose petals floating atop a bath surrounded by hundreds of tiny tea light candles, capable of causing a house fire with one flick of the wrist… But we all know this idea of the perfect partner is just a fairytale. Come on, Child Protection Service would’ve swopped right in when hearing of a teenage girl living with seven dwarfs in the middle of a creepy forest.
21st Century dating is especially treacherous. Surfing the internet to find the most compatible dating app has become a common past time… unfortunately. And within these murky waters we struggle to find a genuine, real human being that isn't catfishing. Who knew there was more to just swiping right or left on someones face? Now, when striking up a conversation you must be able to decipher the words that follow: a “Heyy” with two Y’s comes across desperate, a simple “Hi” means they are not interested in the slightest. Perhaps I spoke too soon about the dwarfs, I think seven brains would definitely come in handy when trying to decode those messages.