After three days of camping in the desert at Coachella, the idea of a few days of relaxation in beautiful Orange County was music to our ears. We were so very fortunate that our friend Lisa from high school lives in Costa Mesa with her boyfriend Pierre and was happy to take us in early in the week. We saw Lisa at the festival on Sunday and were delighted to be able to also spend time with her back in her neighborhood. After meeting up last Monday night, she took us on a quick bike ride around the area in time to catch a great view of the sunset.

The next morning Pierre took me to get my first ever Bonzai Bowl, a delicious healthy treat that was as appetizing as it was beautiful to look at. This acai based super smoothie was packed with tons of fruit (and even bee pollen) and was a great fresh start to a day in gorgeous Southern California.

Jeff, Nikita, and I then traveled down to Laguna Beach to enjoy a relaxing afternoon collecting shells, exploring rocks, and checking out some awesome views. Big thanks to Pierre for helping us get to this amazing spot for the day!

    

At this point in the trip, our trio had to go our separate ways with Jeff and Nikita returning home to Colorado. While we can’t finish the whole journey together, I owe each of them greatly for their presence and contribution to the adventures had over the last few weeks. Most importantly, I am forever indebted to Jeff for being an enormous inspiration to believe in myself and take this trip in the first place.

Spending almost every waking minute with two other people for a few weeks, many of them in a fully packed car, is quite an experience and I think we all learned a lot from each other. I know I personally learned tons about the importance of honesty. Being in such close quarters over long days, we definitely saw each other at our best and our worst. Nikita taught me to always be honest with myself and always be honest with those you care about. It usually isn’t the path of least resistance and might cause some pain in the short term, but straight up honesty is the best way to generate understanding and minimize assumptions in any relationship.

I can’t thank both of them enough for this crucial lesson and for helping me push my boundaries the last few weeks. I owe much of this trip’s past and future to their adventurous spirits,  and without them I would likely still have the car stuck in the mountains of New Mexico.

Cheers to our team for this moment and so many others and to making Everyday Wonderful. I wish you each the best of luck in your journey ahead.

The routine for the week in Orange County remained pretty consistent: do something active outside for a few hours, take time to really soak up the gorgeous surroundings, and spend as much time with good people as possible. After quickly making it down the East Coast and across the South in three weeks in time for Coachella, it was nice to have a week with no interstate travels and little on the agenda.

My cousin Jason was gracious enough to take me in for the majority of the week and his location was perfect for a few easy afternoon bike rides up and down the length of the Newport Peninsula. Riding next to a sunny beach with an ocean breeze…it gets no better.

  

On Wednesday Jason and I both made the scenic trip down the coast to San Diego to meet up with our Delsen cousins to celebrate Sherry and Scott’s birthdays and the end of tax season! It was so uplifting being around such a big loving family gathered to support each other. It was also my first time really hanging out with little Joey and Alyssa and their absolute adoration for their Grandma and Grandpa and Uncles Matt and Scott was just so damn cute. It was a rare treat for me to be together with the whole Delsen crew, especially on their side of the country, and I can’t wait until the next time we can make it happen.

Scott let me crash for the night and gave me a great list of things to see in San Diego the following day. I first stopped by a coastal meditation gardens in Encinitas and then headed downtown to Balboa Park to check out some amazing architecture and plant life. One group of roses in particular caught my eye and gave me some timely advice to go along with my slow-paced week. The reminder to Take It Easy was even more perfect considering my Dad had just been talking to me about his love for this song a week prior.

        

After exploring the park for a few hours I stopped by La Jolla Cove on the trip back North where I checked out the beach and some seals and made a new friend. Jim here was out relaxing on a rock I was eyeing up and we had a chance to chat for a few minutes. Back when he was my age roughly four decades ago, he did his own cross country hitchhiking trip after serving two tours as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam. We talked about the road and favorite destinations along the way and his wife snapped a few photos from nearby. You just never know what you’ll have in common with someone who you were a chance decision or two away from not interacting with at all. This was definitely a cool moment I won’t soon forget.

      

To top off a great day of relaxation and exploration I found this incredible mural and caught the tail end of another classic California sunset.

  

The last few days in Orange County led to some timely discoveries: a childhood favorite snack that I forgot had migrated out West, a brand new favorite aquatic activity in paddleboarding (hey Tom and Fran!), and the sun hat I’ve been looking for since the trip started.



A final awesome moment to end my time in OC…Jason’s coworker and neighbor Joe is another new friend who told me about his cross country travels back when he had graduated high school. Upon my arrival early in the week, Joe made a casual mention of how dirty my car was after a few weeks on the road. There was no further discussion on the issue, but a few days later this man washes my car himself while I’m out as a sign of respect and appreciation for a kindred spirit. I can’t thank him enough for such a cool gesture and for getting me ready for the back half of the trip in style. Cheers to you, sir.

Thank you to Lisa and Pierre for the generous hospitality early in the week on short notice. Thanks to Lake for meeting up with me for a great dinner before your trip to Oregon, we’ll hang longer sometime soon-don’t worry! Thanks to the whole Delsen crew for a fantastic dinner and to Scott for having me over. Shoutout to Kam and Greg for having me and for the delicious food. Thanks to Erik and Julian and the whole Penn West crew for an unforgettable LA pool party. Thank you to Alex and Chad for a blast on Saturday night and a legendary game of blind bocce ball. And finally a big thank you to Jason and Jen and Fran and Tom for an awesome few days of great food, new experiences, and all day fun in the beautiful sun with the family.

Much love to all and thank you for another stellar trip to Southern California. After a few relaxed days, I was thoroughly re-energized for my first-ever trip up the California coast…