The O.C.

My last trip through America in 2012, was spiritual food for my soul. I was in the midst of one very, crazy separation and what felt like my whole life falling apart. Every day of that three-month trip, couch surfing my way across the country, was littered with magical moments and serendipitous encounters. Those times in the National Parks of the Grand Canyon, the Sequoias, the Redwoods, Yosemite and the Arches, where it felt like my breath was stolen, was what filled my life with wonder again. In many ways, it was what was really the seeds for this Canadian adventure. 

On that trip, I somehow ended up modelling for Couchsurfers in front of the ‘Full House’ house in San Francisco. Instant friendships were formed at this photo shoot, numbers were swapped, beautiful memories made. 

 Couchsurfers shoot. PIC by Cristina De Cardenas

Couchsurfers shoot. PIC by Cristina De Cardenas

One blonde, bubbly Swedish-Spanish woman and I instantly became friends and we ended up travelling the north coast of California together. Cristina and I later reunited in Venice Beach and met up with Corey, who was the photographer for the Couchsurfers shoot. The three of us then hit the road to San Diego, checking out Dr. Seuss drawings and seals in La Jolla, sleeping in the dirt on the side of the road in Yuma, Arizona, making light paintings in the desert, and finally celebrated an epic Swedish Christmas in Tempe with other new friends. Corey and I rounded the trip out by spending our last night sleeping under the stars on a park bench in Joshua Tree National Park. The road trips taken that year through America were some of the best of my life. 

FOUR YEARS LATER, and I am back! Coming out of the hospital in LA, I realised I was craving a familiar face and the company of old friends. Within a few hours of hopping on a train south, I had met up with Corey and we headed to Long Beach. While he shot a sorority bash at this epic hotel, I wandered the grounds and watched the moon rise above the Queen Mary from the verandah. Magic.  

 Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler.

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler.

 Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

Long Beach. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

Like no time had passed, the two of us were back to gypsy ways. However, this little adventure, we stepped it up and slept on lounge room floors instead of the side of the road (agreeing that this was indeed evidence that we were maturing along quite nicely, right?! Such adults). 

Mexican and flame grills, playing volleyball on the beach, checking out big boards, bodies and babes of Southern California followed. Corey and his mate Allen and I also attempted to stargaze again, searching for Mars in the sky. 

 Roadtrippers reunited! Corey and I somewhere in SouCal. PIC by Reza Allah-Bakhshi.

Roadtrippers reunited! Corey and I somewhere in SouCal. PIC by Reza Allah-Bakhshi.

 In my Arctic gear for Southern California. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

In my Arctic gear for Southern California. PIC by Corey Sandler. 

Here I am, all rugged up ready to find Mars. And yes, I was in Southern California. Reason for my arctic gear, I was breaking out in welts from the cold. That’s right, the cold of Southern California. Haha. Yes.

I'm a big believer in signs. Whatever illness I had that landed me in hospital, had knocked me for six. My body was still under attack. It was swelling and my nerves were going all over the place - alternating between excruciating and numb. As my allergies were flaring up and I received messages from home that a friend was in the final stages of passing away, I started wondering if I was meant to be doing this adventure...

All these thoughts were rushing through my mind, when Corey asked if I would like to go to a friend's BBQ to watch the premiere of a new show his friend/ business partner was on. That's when I started feeling the signs shifting...