We booked our flight (hooray for frequent flyer miles). We booked one hotel ahead of time, a rooftop condo in Seattle for less than the cost of a hotel room. For two weeks, we traveled from Seattle down the coast of California with nothing but GPS (coastal Highway 101 and Hwy 1), using online booking sites along the way in tiny towns as we made our way to California.
We hugged the coast and ventured through an actual Redwood tree (in the rental SUV) and through miles of forest that made us realize how insignificant we really are. I hung out the window snapping pics as Chad drove, pulling off at random cliffs to snack on local cheeses and picnicking on fresh caught crab boiled in a pot right in front of us at a marina on Rockaway Beach. Chad played golf at Bandon Dunes, where I walked a labyrinth in memory of a friend’s daughter who had gone to Seattle for a cure for cancer when I was a kid.
San Francisco was a quick "drive through.” Bundled in sweaters, we walked the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral.
We lunched in Monterey, saw art in Carmel, and, when we reached L.A. (not Lower Alabama, mind you), we immersed ourselves into rock-n-roll culture at the Airbnb home of a retired 80s producer and snuck through a gate to the water tower at the top of Hollywood Hills.
I found the home on Balboa Island that I lived in as a newborn in Newport Beach.
After a week in the car and motels in random spots, I’d looked forward to the pool and spa at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego – but the crowds drove us away fast. Ever heard of Comic-Con? It was in bloom. In our fast flee from Comic-Con, we accidentally got behind a DeLorean in lead position of a parade. As people shouted about our intrusive, non-ozone friendly SUV, we waved to the throngs of people standing along the barricade. We settled into the retro hotel Lafayette, with 50s tunes, bubbles around the pool, and Bob Hope memorabilia where we stayed to get to know my family (two sisters and two of three brothers) I had never met.
By the end of the trip, we had clocked over 2000 miles with our 13-year-old daughter, who is a trooper for rolling with us on the adventure.
Sometimes, the best plans are to make no plans at all. It is a gift to just have life. If we aren't enjoying it, then what is it for?
Blessings as you plan for your next holiday. What are your best holiday travel ideas? Share them with me @artallie on Twitter.