I love California.
There. I said it.
I first moved to California in 2000, to Santa Barbara, and was taken in by the salt air and temperate climate. Harold Chase, who developed what is today the exclusive Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara in the years following World War II, had printed at the top of his letterhead, “Ocean-washed, mountain-guared, island-girded. Sunny, sun-kissed Santa Barbara, enjoys the most equitable year-round climate of any place in the world.”
California, though, is far more than Santa Barbara, and soon I would discover more of what the Golden State had to offer.
In California I can find maybe my favorite city in the United States in San Francisco. In California, I can find what is perhaps my favorite national park in the United States in Yosemite. I can spend endless amounts of time popping up and down the coast exploring beautiful beaches and cool oceanfront towns. I can experience the warmth of the desert. I can ski Tahoe and the Sierras.
A few years ago, I found myself on Highway 49 driving toward Placerville going through old Gold Country towns like Columbia. I thought then, “If you were to make a list of the Top 25 places you had to visit in California, I’m not sure this place would make the list…. and this place is absolutely beautiful…”
My love for California, though, goes beyond the natural beauty.
I love the way of life in California.
I love that in California, surfers and skiers are taken as seriously as doctors and lawyers.
I love that there are so many people in California who are trying to chart their own course. People who put lifestyle over money aren’t all that uncommon.
My birth certificate says that I was born in Indiana, but I’m a Californian.
In California, my heart has found its home.
For decades, California has attacted dreamers. Many of the iconic figures we associate with Calfiornia weren’t born in the state. Howard Hughes built his Spruce Goose in California, but he born in Texas. Ronald Reagan was a movie star turned Governor, but he grew up in Illinois. The greatest dreamer of them all, Walt Disney, was also born in Illinois but his dreams took shape in California. Many of those hippies at Berkeley and Haight Ashberry weren’t from California, but they came to California and from here re-shaped a nation.
As a traveler, I am drawn to the far corners of the world. I want to see it all. There really is, truly, no plae that I don’t want to go. For me, it’s not so much about “best vacation destination,” it’s about unqiue experiences, and every place in the world offers a different one.
I can’t think of another place in the world, though, that I’d rather make my “base” than California. I love the natural beauty, the way of life, the culture, the people, the attitude, the vibe.
I love California.
This post is the kick-off to a week long California Extravaganza here on Family Trek. Over the next week, we’ll be sharing perspectives written by people from California, across the United States, and around the world — all sharing something they love about California. For more in our California Extravaganza series check out our California Extravaganza Tag Page.
Hi, I’m Clark. If we’ve not met before, let me introduce myself. I live in Lake Tahoe and along with my wife and kids I’m on a quest to work less, live more, and travel the world. After losing everything — my money that is — and moving into my in-laws garage, my wife and I began the exciting process of reinventing our lives. As J.K. Rolwing said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation from which I re-built my life.” My wife Monica and I have 3 kids and when we’re not traveling we call Tahoe home, where I ski 50+ days a year. You can check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.