Six years ago I visited San Francisco for the first time. Six years ago, almost exactly. I remember it vividly, the drive back to Marin from Oakland airport and the traffic we hit, I even remember the smell of the air after leaving the airport. I remember these things because it was the first time I was visiting Alex. We weren’t dating at the time, those months felt so tumultuous, I was twenty and falling hard for this guy, whom I had liked since the day I met him 18 months prior. Everything during that time felt particularly heightened and raw, and I remember it in surprising detail. Much like this year, we had spent the winter months waiting for the sun to make an appearance and help us forget the long, dark days of a rainy climate, then, the Pacific Northwest. California represented sunshine, and a chance to spend time with someone special. And so, from the moment I stepped off the plane, San Francisco etched itself a permanent place in composition of my life. And there it would remain, six years later; I am always giddy to return. When I visit New York, and see that skyline for the first time in months, I feel a great surge of excitement, New York is a place I associate with a time of constant flux, or fast movement, of discovery. But not San Francisco, no matter how many times I catch the glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, I never feel that surge of energy, instead I feel a deep sense of calm. Continue reading
Nearly 30 hours after we began, we arrive home. No delays, no lost baggage, and only minimal customs fan fair. Arduous, certainly, but thankfully uneventful.
This time of return is always a hazy-euphoric event. The spell of travel has not yet lifted, as we observe what was once familiar with new eyes. Routes etched deeply feel fresh, the grind of the day to day is pleasantly far from our minds. Everything is again, beautiful and interesting as if you were seeing it for the first time, with the benefit of the knowledge that this is home. These simple pleasures, of hot showers and favorite foods, the comfort of our own bed and thorough command of our surroundings make this ephemeral time almost as blissful as travel itself. The spell of course, will be broken as daily tasks must be completed, bills paid, errands run, but for now we’ll bask in the surreal haze, recount our stories and think to the future and our next adventure. And of course, eat Mexican food.