I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase ‘SPRING BREAK WOOHOO’ numerous times in American college films but I’m going to tell you why my spring break really was like that. And no, I didn’t go to Mexico and have a blast with the girls whilst downing a shitty vodka lemonade. In fact, I went on a road trip through California with 4 guys. So, immediate reaction, you probably think I’m a raging slut. Just to clarify, I’m not. It was genuinely like being with four brothers. We started our road trip by heading to Santa Barbara. Stopped at Monterey on the way. Saw some rocks. Good crack.
We got in our Dodge car and drove down to Santa Barbara. We decided to visit the university the next day. For those of you who don’t know, the stereotype of UC Santa Barbara is the ‘party school’ with surfers and perfect bodies everywhere. Think of the image you have in your head of the typical Californian and Santa Barbara literally embodies that. It was so odd how everything looked like something out of a film. We were walking along what we assumed was frat row and guys roll past on skateboards while another passes with a surfboard in hand. Walk a little further and you see a bunch of college students on the roof of a house overlooking the beach listening to music and looking genuinely happy unlike the rest of us at university who are on a slow march to death. Santa Barbara served us well. We got into a bar fittingly named Sandbar, with 3 of us getting in on one id… I love America. I’m sure you know what a night out is like, I’m not going to bother explaining how cool I am going to bars, getting in underage, drinking Satan’s nectar etc.
The next day we drove down towards San Diego, our next stop, but got distracted by the serene views of Malibu. We stopped off in Malibu. I can’t explain how nice it was, couldn’t even do it via Facetime. I tried to Facetime my dad overlooking the beach with this view:
His exact words were “Yeah yeah, looks like a shithole”. It wasn’t a shithole but do you know what was? Our airbnb in San Diego.
San Diego was one of the weirdest places I’ve ever been. Again, hard to explain but this would be a terrible blog if I didn’t try. We drove into downtown San Diego and just so many odd characters presented themselves. A surprising amount of homeless people were situated literally opposite our airbnb. I was later informed by my friend that the homeless problem is such a big issue that there is even a conspiracy surrounding people trying to physically burn the homeless in San Diego. Sorry, WHAT? After spending years trying to find a parking space we unloaded the car and were let into the apartment block by a limping man and his dog. The door was unlocked and there was one bed for five… Someone found a mattress in a cupboard but essentially, five of us were sharing a small room. Sleeping like sardines was an absolute treat.
Oh, one thing I do want to say is that my experience in San Diego taught me that people are such liars on social media. So our airbnb claimed to have an ‘AMAZING rooftop’. The rooftop was a few tables and chairs and some outside heaters and a bbq that didn’t work. Hardly ‘AMAZING’. Nonetheless we took advantage of this and invited some other Berkeley students to join us who were conveniently in San Diego at the same time. They stopped by for about an hour maybe tops, don’t think I could tell you more than 3 of their names, socialised amongst themselves and the next day one of them posted on Instagram a mediocre picture of the view from the roof with the caption ‘Rooftop party last night #ifiwasarichgirl’– everything you see on social media is a lie kids. We were on the top of an apartment building surrounded by homeless people; we were not in some millionaire’s penthouse. What a knob.
San Diego was pretty average but before we left we wanted to go see the Mexican border. Not as thrilling as one might expect, just a fence really and some grassland. Border patrol were pretty scary though. A bunch of men in black riding around on quad bikes with masks on, how could that not be threatening? We left quickly and made our way to LA.
LA traffic is no myth. The thing about LA is that you can be in a completely impoverished area and then 10 minutes later be in one of the richest areas in the world; it was jarring but also what I was told to expect. LA was cool; I highly recommend it. Did all the tourist things like spend the day on Venice Beach, go on a Hollywood Studio tour or walk along Hollywood Boulevard. However, the highlight for me was definitely looking across LA from Runyon Canyon Park. It’s about a 1.5 mile hike in the Hollywood Hills and is full of runners and dog walkers, so don’t go in flip flops like I did.
Big city life was too much and we left for Sequoia. Saw some trees. Good. Let me backtrack though. So we left LA quite late and ended up arriving at our airbnb when it was pitch black. I had booked for us to stay on a citrus farm in the middle of nowhere. We were driving amongst orange trees and could not find any sign of life in the dark. I called Diana (our host) who was only too happy to help and she came out from amongst the trees with her hubby, Tim, in a golf cart and led us to our cabin. The woman had thought of everything, different types of tissues in the bathroom, sweet sweet citrus fruits and even turned on the fire for us. God bless Diana. Literally, God bless her.
Had to leave our citrus farm early the next day in order to see the biggest tree in the world, General Sherman. Just when I thought I had seen the best scenery California had to offer, we made our way to Yosemite. We ended up staying in another airbnb that was an old antique shop/ horse supply shop or something. There were hardly any doors in between rooms and the decor was a mixture of Native Americans and cowboys. Odd to say the least. We were in the middle of nowhere. Literally, in the exact centre of California. We obviously visited the National Park and it was beautiful but what struck us most were the people who inhabited the town where we were staying. Pick up trucks everywhere, American flags everywhere, characters everywhere. The further inland we went, the further I felt like we were stepping into redneck territory. Although I didn’t personally experience this my pals went to a bar right next to where we were staying and one of the first things someone said to them was ‘Y’all foreigners aren’t ya?’ Followed by, ‘So how much American pussy have y’all got?’ I’m just going to leave it at that.
Seeing the difference between inland California and Berkeley was mad. So much variety in one state. But it all felt so real and genuine. California is the only place I’ve been where the stereotypes live up to expectation. Isn’t that weird? That never happens. Every place we went excited me more and more and I’ve only just touched the surface in this post; I could talk about this trip forever! If you ever have the opportunity, visit California, you won’t regret it.