Safety is super important. Always be cautious when walking alone at night and buy pepper spray.
Rideshare Apps are your best friends. Uber and Lyft come in handy as public transport is so unreliable.
It’s much harder to spot celebrities. They’re very good at disguising themselves with caps and oversized sunglasses, blending in with us ordinary folk.
Don't visit the Hollywood Museum of Death
This maze-like museum is flooding with items surrounding death: coffins, EXTREMELY graphic photographs of crimes undertaken on victims, taxidermy animals, hundreds of skeletons and artwork and letters from serial killers. I'm a fan of horror films so when my friend suggested we visit the Death Museum located on Hollywood Boulevard I was actually really enthusiastic. My excitement quickly turned into regret once we stepped foot inside and walked amongst those eerie artifacts. I certainly felt an unusual presence following me and held onto the cross around my neck. Maybe I was being dramatic but the atmosphere inside is indeed spine-chilling. Definitely do not visit this place if you're squeamish; there were moments where I even felt as though I was going to throw up, especially upon seeing photos of decapitated heads. The price is $17, quite high, probably because they know that no one is going to come back for a second time...
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.
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.
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).
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.
Dreaming of the big wide world beyond Australia and creating stories was my way of escaping from the confines of suburbia. After completing a degree in film and television production I finally decided to take the leap. Following the childhood dream I headed to the city where glitz and glamour meet hardship and homelessness, the city of over priced housing and even more over the top people: Los Angeles.
Here I am again, sitting on the bus, legs wedged between tight seats and knees aching. Times like these make it tough for a human over 6ft. It’s peak hour (well actually every hour seems to be peak hour here) and the smell of perspiration and old socks waft through the warm, stuffy air. I feel like a cockroach trapped in a small plastic Tupperware container that a five year old has brought to show and tell; unable to breath and constantly being jolted back and forth. It was only yesterday that I witnessed a man getting on the bus with a face covered in paint and carrying a plastic zip lock bag full of syringes. How did I get in this situation? Why did I move halfway across the world, leave my large, mum-sized Ford Territory behind, to now be sitting on an overcrowded bus, which has taken two hours to get to a place that I could’ve walked to in 40 minutes?
Caitlin is a 20-something broad from Australia with a passion for filmmaking, writing and exploring the world.