I can’t imagine that anyone really wants to not be on vacation, until you realize that if you lived on vacation, then it wouldn’t even be vacation any more. It would be normal life, which would actually make your previously normal life your new vacation.
(My apologies if you read that paragraph before you had your morning coffee.)
For a moment, there was a hint of sorrow in the air.
“What do you mean we have to go back to San Diego!?”
… And that was the end of our transitory gloominess. We packed up and checked out of our hotel for the last time on this trip. Our first stop of the day will be a real bombshell:
Avila Beach, CA
Avila Beach is the quintessential, pocket-sized beach town. It sort of feels like stepping out of a Delorian into an alternate-universe blend of 2014 and 1950 (not that I’m qualified to talk about life in 1950).
There’s actually a really good explanation for that.
In the 1990’s, it was discovered that the pipes under the township had been corroding from oil seepage for decades. That ultimately caused an enormous oil spill that wiped out several blocks of beach-facing buildings and businesses. After a prolonged clean-up effort, the entire seaboard was rebuilt from scratch. As a result, the town looks like it was recently constructed, but feels like it’s been around for a century or two.
We spent a couple hours there, walked the pier, snapped some photos, and hit the road. If you’re ever on the Central Coast, Avila Beach is certainly worth a quick pit-stop.
Our next (and final) stop was Santa Barbara, but we weren’t quite done exploring just yet. On a windy stretch of road that takes you over the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, we found another little hidden gem called the Cachuma Lake Viewpoint (pictured left).
It wasn’t particularly memorable (comparatively, at-least), except that it was our last little off-road adventure on our journey down the coast.
Big Sur aside, the most consequential and unforgettable things we saw were the things we took risks for, and certainly didn’t have in our itinerary.
Maybe there’s a life lesson in there somewhere…
Santa Barbara, CA
This wasn’t our first time in Santa Barbara, and it won’t be our last. To help paint an accurate picture of Santa Barbara, it’s the place where Mailbu residents go on vacation. If you’re having a hard time picturing what that might look like, here are a couple visual aids:
The entire city is as stunning as it is snooty.
It’s the kind of place where you’d feel a little second-rate ordering from the Happy Hour menu. Just about everyone seems to be rather self-important, and nobody would ever dare to drive one of those cheap, C-Class’ Mercedes.
That would be just downright embarrassing.
In recent years, I’ve gravitated more towards these types of environments. There’s a reason the wealthiest class in California frequents this spot. It’s because they’ve learned what I’ve learned: In life, you almost always get what you pay for.
You want inexpensive lodging? I hear Ferguson, MO is a really nice place to visit. You want a bargain meal? Try Jack in the Box.
But if you want sandy beaches, panoramic views, first-rate weather, and top-notch restuarants, you’ll pay a premium for it.
… But you won’t leave Santa Barbara dissapointed.
If you’re ever passing through, check out our two favorite places:
Deep Sea Tasting Room
217 G Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
It’s exactly what it sounds like: An open-air tasting room, with an outdoor patio, on the pier, overlooking the ocean.
Intermezzo Bar + Cafe
819 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Exceptionally good (American) food, inviting ambiance, fireplaces (not that you’ll need them), all without breaking the bank.
Home: Carlsbad, CA
Years ago, I remember reading a quote from Mid-20th Century Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese. It read:
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
At the end of our lives, the totality of our existence will be recollected this way. In our present lives, we’re probably not there yet. Everything we do is summoned by a time stamp.
“I moved to L.A. in ’07.”
“We got married in September.”
“I started my business in ’13.”
I can’t be perfectly certain, but forty years from now, I’ll be hard pressed to tell you what decade certain events happened in.
But I’ll be able to tell you what a perfect sunset looked like over the ocean.
And what it felt like to scale the top of a mountain.
Or the way my wife looked at me on our wedding day.
You can spend your days working hard (I sure do), but that never has to keep you from the moments that you’ll revisit, relive, and remember for the rest of your life.
Go make them.
No more excuses…