The Perfect Summer Town

Santa-Cruz-Lighthouse

After skydiving, I checked into the Paradox Hotel and enjoyed two relaxing days in Santa Cruz.  It’s the perfect summer beach town.  While the boardwalk is popular with tourists and teenagers, my favorite parts of town were off the beaten path.  The quiet tree lined streets of the lovely Twin Lakes neighborhood is calling out for me to rent a cottage for a week with Orelia.  And the pristine beaches along East Cliff Drive and the beautiful Pacific views from West Cliff Drive made it hard to leave.

While I’ll be spending the holiday weekend here in San Francisco, I’ll be dreaming of sunny Santa Cruz and the delicious pasta at Lillian’s. Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend wherever you’re spending it.

Santa-Cruz

Tiki-Bar{The tiki bar and brunch at Harbor Cafe were fantastic!}

Twin-Lakes-Beach

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In Case of Emergency

Stinson-Beach

I spent a lovely afternoon at Stinson Beach recently.  It’s only 30 minutes away and sometimes I forget it’s there.  Driving along the cliffs as the road winds around the Pacific, it almost feels like Greece.  Picture a deep blue sea below and a jagged, rocky landscape to the right.  It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

After strolling along the beach and feasting on a delicious kale Caesar salad and BLT from The Lunch Box, I looked down at my phone.  A text had come in from a friend in the hospital who needed a ride home.  It got me thinking about who I would put down as my “in case of emergency” person.

My parents live too far away.  My friends are great, but they are pretty wrapped up with their kids. Orelia would come if she could, but driving is one trick that she hasn’t quite perfected.  Although I could totally see her in the driver’s seat of my car rocking a pair of Doggles and jamming to a hip-hop song like FashionKilla as she races to my rescue.  Hmm, we may need to revisit the SPCA and see if they are offering any new classes.  Driver’s ed for dogs, anyone?

Stinson

On the Other Side of Fear is Freedom

Robby-Skydive

The past few weeks have been incredibly relaxing and invigorating.  However, I had a moment where a bit of anxiety started to creep up.  I was worried that I may never find fulfilling work or that I may not meet the love of my life.  After sulking for a few days, I decided enough is enough!

I went back to my well-worn copy of Awaken the Giant Within and asked myself a simple question.  Who do I want to be?  The words vital and adventurous kept coming up.  What would someone like that do?  Why skydiving, of course.  So, off to Skydive Surfcity in Santa Cruz I went.

The guy in the photo above is Robby, my tandem skydiving instructor.  He’s done 8,000+ jumps so I was feeling pretty calm in this picture.  The most nerve-wracking moment was signing my name and initials 19 times on the release form.  How many ways can they say ‘you may die and you cannot sue us’?

Within minutes, we were in the plane and going up 15,000 feet with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey coastline.  I was so mesmerized by the view and chatting with Robby about his Jack Russell terrier that I wasn’t even nervous.  Seriously, it just felt like another plane ride until he attached me to his harness and told me to hang my feet out of the plane.  My heart stopped.  It took more than a little effort to lift my feet and shift them outside of the plane.

Skydive-Plane

The 55 seconds of free falling at 120 miles per hour were the most incredible of my life.  I now completely understand how people become addicted to the adrenaline rush from adventure sports.  Even a week later, I have never felt more alive!

Plus, that anxiety that was plaguing me?  Completely and utterly gone.  There’s really nothing to worry about.  Once you’ve jumped out of a plane, everything else is a cake walk.

Skydive-View

Skydive-Feet-OutJump

{I laugh every time I see this photo.  I’m not afraid at all.  Oh, no.  Yeah, right!!}

Flying

Flying-Skydiving

Ahhhhhh

Parachute-Open

Freedom