Thoughts Travel

Finding My Love for California

For the past few weeks or so, I for some reason started to feel a lack of passion for Southern California. It was to the point that I called my best friend and told him I was considering moving back to the East Coast and he was in shock. That’s mainly because all I ever wanted was to move and live in California and here I am (ask my best friends from middle school, I wrote it in someone’s yearbook lol), living all fine and dandy, yet, somehow lost the love for it. And I just couldn’t put my finger on why.

I didn’t realize what the reason was until I spent a day in San Diego visiting my father while he was here on a business trip. The drive to San Diego is not that bad, depending on where you are coming from. I was driving from Orange County and made a first stop in Encinitas to grab some coffee at Better Buzz (amazing btw!), which was only about an hour or slightly less. This stop was so impactful in finding my groove and realization as to why I love SoCal in the first place.

I ordered their recommended coffee and took a seat to get some work done on my computer. In my previous experiences at any normal Starbucks, I just sit there to get my work done to be productive and that’s about it. However, on this day, while sitting in this shop, I took a moment to look around and observed the people around me, the decor around the shop, and most importantly, what caught my attention the most was the music playlist they had playing, which seriously set the tone for everything. I’m not kidding when I say when I saw at least three other people just head bumping or dancing to themselves in the shop and when I saw this, I couldn’t help but smile. I love the way music affects people, but more importantly, I simply admired how well this shop treats its customers. Seeing people happy makes me happy, and soon enough, I realized I had also been dancing to the music all along.

After spending some time there, I headed to Duke’s La Jolla for dinner with my father and a little bit of exploring around the cove/lookout area. Seeing the Pacific Ocean along with the gorgeous sunset in the background felt so peaceful to me, as if I was at home again. This was the same feeling I felt when I initially visited California and saw the beautiful sunsets near the ocean.

After this short and sweet day trip, I realized I haven’t travelled much at all recently and little bits of traveling is incredibly important for my soul. This is because I have so much passion for traveling and exploring the different areas of our world, our playground. Yet, I forget I can still achieve that with short trips even an hour away. More importantly what I realized during my visit to San Diego, is how different it is from the Los Angeles environment…and I love that. During my dinner at Duke’s La Jolla, I looked around and saw many people that I could relate to, although most were dressed business casual with a good impression look, they did not demonstrate that “LA” attitude of entitlement or arrogance, which I have seen plenty of times during my outings in Los Angeles. With this ambiance, I felt so comfortable and at home. And this was exactly what I needed to remind myself why I love it here and why I came here to begin with.

I recommend to everyone out there, if you are ever feeling  bit off or stagnant, to travel somewhere away from your normal environment. Leaving OC felt so nice, because I did not realize how much of a bubble it felt as I was driving down to San Diego. And who knows, maybe you will also find a newfound love for a place you never thought you would love.

Stay open-minded.



Emily Duong

Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, but currently residing in Orange County, California. Emily Elizabeth is an entrepreneur, athlete, and lifestyle blogger sharing her everyday lifestyle and healthy mindset.



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