Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fare-Thee-Well, Long Beach

It has been almost 3 months since that fateful day I decided to take charge of my own life and pursue my personal legend like Santiago from The Alchemist! Since then, I have moved out of my apartment in LA and couchsurfed at my friends place in Long Beach to save some money on rent. The problem is that I work in Beverly Hills, and I have to commute 30 miles to and from work everyday (60 miles total) in LA traffic. I know that might not sound so bad, and I’m sure other people have it a lot worse… but not everyone is trying to save every penny for a Round The World trip like me… and with the gas prices as high as they were the past couple months, I was forced to reevaluate my expenses AND lodging options.

It’s been tough because I have grown to LOVE Long Beach so much that I was really trying to make it work… I was ignoring my fatigue, refused to take a look at my gas bills and neglected the fact that I lose so much time just driving everyday. 

One of my favorite authors, Andrew Matthews says the Universe is always nudging us with gentle signals. When we ignore the signals – we get a sledgehammer!

I got my sledgehammer alright. Last week I got into a stupid car accident involving a motionless pole. (Yes, a pole, and I'd rather not talk about it... Hmph.) Thank goodness for insurance, but I still have a $500 dollar deductible I have to pay. $500 dollars I could have used on a plane ticket, a backpack, or food on the road, now has to go towards an unnecessary bill I could have avoided by being more careful!


Anyway, the point is… I feel like that crash literally knocked some sense into me. This added expense which forced me to dig deep into my pockets made me realize I haven’t really been saving much at all. I’ve spent almost $500 on gas alone last month, and from someone who only used to spend less than $150, that’s A LOT.

Luckily, a room opened up for me in LA, only 2 miles further than my old apartment from my office. My co-worker lives close by and she has agreed to let me carpool with her too! So by this time next week, I will be an LA resident once again.

I write this with a heavy heart, for I have grown to love Long Beach in the short time I’ve lived here. It seriously is one of the cutest most fun little beach towns in SoCal. In fact, let me enumerate some of the reasons why I’m going to miss this place so much…


I love LA, but one of my main grievances about it is that you can’t ever walk anywhere. I always thought that London and NYC had this advantage over LA because walking and public transportation in those places are ideal. Living in Long Beach made me feel like my legs have found a new sense of purpose! Our apartment is centrally located in downtown Long Beach so that adds to the charm as well! My grocery store is across the street, coffee shop a couple blocks down, numerous restaurants all around me, and a movie theater half a mile down the road! It’s awesome, I tell you.

I’m Close to the Water

Oh and did I mention I was walking distance to the beach too? And to the marina? Yeah I am! It’s really weird because all of a sudden, I’ve become sort of addicted to walking/running – and I used to hate it! But because I’m just a hop skip and a jump away from the water, it’s like my body craves it now… Like I’d feel ashamed if I didn’t take advantage of the scenery and nature or something. And so even if I itch, I run anyway! Or… walkrun… Um… Fastwalk? 

Free Yoga

During the weekends, my friend, Nelson, takes me to free yoga at the park (by Ocean and Junipero)! We do it on the grass under these big trees overlooking the ocean. You seriously could not get any more naturalist than that! Again, just like running – I don’t really do yoga. I tried Birkam once and I threw up. I tried Anti-Gravity Yoga once and I threw up. But for some reason, yoga at the park works for me! First of all it’s free (you just give whatever donation you can, if you like) and second of all, the surroundings are so conducive that I don’t really mind the exercise with the sun beaming down on me and the ocean breeze blowing on my face. Even if my flexibility (or lack of it) is tested and I end up with jelly legs the next day, I’d do it!

Local boutiques and Café’s

I am typing this at a local café called Berlin, a couple blocks away from our apartment. The coffee is good and cheap, they serve beer, and the cute barista’s know your name. It is connected to an Empire Records-esque record store called Fingerprints, where they feature local bands a few times a week. Thanks to my roommate, this place has become my spot… a place where I could spend hours on my laptop just working on the grand master travel plan, or play my ukulele and no one would mind.

On the 5 minute walk from my parking lot to our apartment, I pass a row of very cute boutiques that sell their own stuff, whether it be bags or jewelry or clothes. It’s just really refreshing not seeing a Forever 21 in every corner, and being greeted by the people who actually make the things they sell. They’re friendlier and they actually know what they’re talking about.

Ceviche Night

Wriss and I are joined by our friend, Ben, for ceviche night. A night with the three of us, and ceviche. Yummy homemade ceviche. There’s really nothing else to say apart from that. :’)


And so there you have it. My affair with Long Beach was short and sweet… and you have to imagine me as Audrey Hepburn when I say - I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live. <end scene>

I'm really gutted I have to move again especially since I love LB and I have so much fun here... but I figured I have to start getting used to this too; packing up and moving on. When I leave for my trip, I won't be staying too long in one place so I have to practice detachment.

Sigh. This is tough... but I have to do whatever it takes. So it's goodbye Long Beach for now... pretty soon, it will be goodbye Los Angeles... and then before I know it, it'll be Adios America...

And so the pre-adventure continues...

I'll miss you, Roomie!!!