31 October 2012

Lopez Island. How did I get here?

Apologies for the slow posts of late readers, been having quite the mini adventure. Buses, ferries, islands, kayaks, new people, it's been intense!

I'm here now though.

After my very unique week in Olympia at Leeann's house as part of another HelpX, I had to quickly be on the move again to meet with my next planned HelpX. I caught a bus from Olympia (in Washington) and headed further north to arrive at the city of Seattle, cool! I never had plans what so ever when I first arrived in Los Angeles all those many months ago of being this far North, to see Portland and Seattle, but I had heard great things about both places so, yep, my direction it seems for the time being is North.

It looks like a great city, I hope to explore more soon

After only 2 hours of seeing Seattle I was greeted by my new HelpX host, Rita, who picked me up in her car and off we went to her house to begin the next stage of my adventure.

So, where am I now in the world now?

A pretty unique place I am sure you will agree, an island in fact, known as Lopez Island =)

Google it.

No, seriously, Google this place... it. is. ridiculous =D

A little information: the area is known as the San Juan Islands, made up of four distinct islands; Lopez Island, San Juan Island, Orcas Island and... some other one that I forget. These islands are located off the coast of Washington state, the very North-West corner of America (we are right up against the Canadian border). Rita has a farm here that she has owned for 30 years with her husband, although she is now widowed and has been for some years now, therefore has been living on her own ever since. Keeping top of the large piece of property is tough on your own, so that is where I come in. 

To get there we first need to catch a ferry:

The ferry boat docked

Pretty amazing...
As I stood on the bow of the ferry, the sunset unfolding before my eyes, illuminating with dancing shadows the untouched natural beauty around me, I had another of my infrequent "How did I get here?" moments. I've had a few of these over the course of my trip (my awesome failed road trip attempts from Los Angeles, and the Napa Valley wine tour to name a few!), and it is good to have yet another. I have no idea what is ahead of me whilst on this island but it looks promising to say the least.

It was dark by the time we got to Rita's house.

The next day Rita and I made a big English breakfast (Rita is English) and enjoyed it out on her patio. Her place rocks!

The view from Rita's patio, with a great English breakfast to enjoy
Rita's house
Our plan for the day? If you guessed kayaking, you'd be right!

We are going kayaking here!?
Rita preparing the kayak
Kayaking! I never guessed I'd be going kayaking in between this amazing mess of islands, on absolutely perfectly calm waters too! I didn't want to risk bringing my phone with me on the kayak (as we all know how my luck works) so I didn't get to take any photos whilst on the water... which is a shame because it really was simply beautiful. So pristine. When we got past all the islands and into open waters we could see the mountain ranges back on the mainland of America! Very cool indeed.

Kayaking and running errands took up the entire day, and we returned home just in time to catch the lasts rays of sunshine before it dipped out of sight from our small little island home.

What a great experience.

The next day however I already managed to have a typical 'Aaron moment', which I know is inevitable as it is just part of who I am, but I wish it didn't have to be so soon of my arrival!

So... I awoke early on my second day, eager to get a feel of the place and what is to be expected of me. We had run out of milk so I volunteered to go into the village to buy. Got to get some brownie points with the host.

"Oh that would be great, do you want to take my truck?" Rita said with a smile.

"I'll take the bike, it is nice and sunny, it'll be fun" was my reply. The village wasn't far. So I thought...

Off I go in the absolutely beautiful morning air and sunshine, pondering deeply how I got so lucky to be having such a great day such as this. On my right is a thick forest of the purest greens, and on my left was deep rolling hills of farm land, a barn or two piercing its smoothness. I had music blaring and was in no rush to get there.

Now... I had originally written this long story as to what happened, but I think I will just summarize it for you all. So very long story short:

I thought the store was a quick 10 minute ride away. Turns out it was 5km away. Eventually I reached the town, bought milk, and headed back the long way I had just come, soon coming upon a hill. I challenged myself to make it up this very steep and long hill without stopping. I got three quarters before stopping, which I was proud of. Immediately however things didn't feel right, I soon realized that I had pushed myself too hard! My chest was pounding and my head begun to feel light and dizzy (I hadn't thought to bring water with me, nor had I had breakfast yet). A quick evaluation told me that my best solution would be to ride back into town to buy water, which was at least 1km away.

Things were not going well, I started getting real dizzy, and my vision was starting to blur. Zooming back down the hill I had just climbed, I struggled to stay upright, my vision and headache almost unbearable now. Gliding along the road felt like I was floating amongst clouds! It soon got so bad that I couldn't ride anymore so I got off and sat on side on the road, in the middle of no where. I may or may not have at this stage tried to wave down a passing car... who ignored me and drove even faster once passing me! I was stressing a little, battling the urge to pass out, but managed to stay calm, finally recovering enough to continue. Eventually made it the store, bought some water... and burrowed a phone to call Rita to come pick me up... rather embarrassing really ha!

I could only imagine what Rita was thinking. Here is this random guy she agrees to come work for her for a few weeks, and on only his second day he goes off riding a bike, disappears for over an hour, then calls asking for a pickup... all for what was meant to be a simple run to the store for milk!

Well done Aaron... Ha! Better step up my game now.

This place really is amazing though, I didn't even know these islands existed until two weeks ago, and now I am actually on one, kayaking, watching sunsets, bike riding... so very cool. But now is the time to do some work, and looking around the farm it looks like there is quite a lot to be done. It is going to be a challenge that's for sure.

For the next 3 weeks, Lopez Island will be home.

22 October 2012

Hello Portland. Hello Olympia.

I've arrived at my next destination, en route for my very cool and extremely exciting (to me at least) next stage of my trip. I never planned to head in this direction, but... well, it's awesome, and I am having the best time I could possible be having.

After being in California for such a long time, I figured it was time to do some real traveling thus I boarded a quick flight northwards to the next state, Oregon. Only after a ridiculous 'only in America' situation mind you.

At the airport there is of course security checks to go through, no big deal usually. Well, in America it is a huge deal, requiring you to take off your belt and even shoes, before stepping into one of those full body X-ray machines. Everyone looks terribly disgruntled as people put their shoes, belts, and all their belongings back on afterwards, with big delays. Crazy. Not to mention the fact that my jeans wouldn't stay up without the belt, resulting in a very awkward 'hip slant' in an attempt to stop them from falling down when having to hold my hands over my head while being scanned ha.

I stayed in a city called Portland for a couple of days, it was only ever intended to be a quick stop over before moving onto more HelpX destinations I had lined up. All of which will hopefully go to plan... because I don't have enough money for them not to go to plan actually haha.

So how was Portland? While it definitely didn't live up to the legendary days that were San Francisco, in its own way it is an amazingly beautiful city. If I were to choose a place to live in America (which I never will, but this is just hypothetical) whilst with San Francisco I had so much fun, I would definitely be tempted to choose Portland. It's small, clean, modern, environmentally inclined (something that is important to me), is really hip and just has a really active, full of life vibe to it (without being all corporate). You could easily settle here.

During my stay I purposely didn't attempt to make friends which was nice, it is good to just chill with your own company from time to time. I went on a walking tour, did a lot of walking on my own, listened to a lot of music, read a lot of my book, and just kind of chilled out really. And that's exactly the mood that this city invokes, it invites you to just take it easy, have a long lunch at one of the many cafe's, read a book in one of the very many parks, walk the tree line suburban streets, take a hike in the surrounding hills and mountains.

After my short time in Portland it was time to say goodbye... to absolutely no one, which was refreshing, and I caught a bus about 3 hours north to the next state on my route, Washington, with my first stop being a town called Olympia (I'd recommend looking at Google Maps to see where these places are in the world). I am actually slowly making my way to Seattle, but luckily I was able to get a HelpX in Olympia organized which is perfect because it is literally on the way.

My HelpX host was an awesome lady named Leeann, who was nice enough to pick me up from the bus station and take me to her house. And wow was her house impressive!

I only spent a little less than a week here as I had another HelpX to go to very shortly after, but I really wish I had much longer because it was such a great place and I know I could have really enjoyed myself if given the time.

During my short time I:
Explored this beautiful forest
Spent time at this absolutely amazing fjord. It was cloudy on the day but it would have been amazing during the sunshine I could imagine.

I mowed the lawn... which was on a hill... it was damn tough!
The view from Leeann's loungeroom window... very cool
Had great fun with Sonia the dog as we explored the surrounding forest
Leeann's house engulfed by the solitude of the forest at dusk
Working isn't without its surprises of course. As I was outside working one day I mistakenly without realizing ran over a wasps nests with a wheelbarrow, whoops! It wasn't until the feeling of immense pain of being stung (one on my ankle as seen in the picture below, and another on my calf) and the notice of the swarm circling around me that I realized my error... haha! I dropped the wheelbarrow where it was and ran as fast as I could back into the house. Wow those stings hurt so much more than I thought it would!

Leeann was prepared however and recommended baking soda to ease the pain, and explained that they are known as Yellow Jacket wasps who have nests in the ground (something I had no idea that wasps do).

It hurt a hell of a lot, but in a kind of funny way
Downtown Olympia, it was a very nice place
And that was my few days with Leeann. It was tough work but very rewarding, and I say yet again that I really wish that I had had much more time to spend here as I would have loved to have gone kayaking, played the piano more, explored more of the forest and even finish a book or two. But alas it was a great week nonetheless, and I must move on once again.

As per my customary style on this blog I shan't reveal my further destination plans. But I will say that my next planned destination, if all goes to plan, is looking to be one of the most amazing places I have been on this entire trip.

Wish me luck!

10 October 2012

You've been good to me San Francisco

After the awesome 3 day road trip with Chris we were now back in San Francisco! I still had 4 days until my flight to my next destination and at first I was dreading how I was to fill up all that time as despite my love for the city I have seen so much of it already thus I couldn't imagine experiencing anything I hadn't already.

Yep, I was waaaay off :)

On Wednesday I applied for my old job of hosting the hostel pub crawl, but it had been filled already, bummer. But that doesn't mean I couldn't still attend! Although, I don't know, my heart wasn't in it like the last times (which were absolutely legendary), but Chris and I still had a good time.

Yes I am well aware, and will gladly admit (with humour included), that I am looking more and more scruffy as the months go by ha! Shaving and hair cuts are too cumbersome, and having most of my clothes stolen didn't help either as I am now wearing hand-outs and second hand clothes. But whatever, I think it adds nicely to the 'long term backpacker' aura!

The next day, Thursday, was enlightening.

So as you will be aware, my MacBook met with an unfortunate... incident a few weeks back which has resulted in my MacBook acquiring a brand new feature unique to mine only where upon pressing the 'Power' button it makes noises, ticks, lights up and otherwise acts as a MacBook should, but ultimately fails to actually run or show anything on the screen. Which isn't a particularly useful nor desired feature to be honest. Sigh. Solution? Well I can either buy a new one (tempting), get my current one repaired (sounds like a hassle), or send my current one home thus not having to deal with it now (something which suits my personality perfectly really).

I went with the latter.

You always see 'Fed Ex' in American movies, so I was curious to put them into real-life perspective.

Me: "Hi, I am wanting to send this MacBook to Australia"

Fed Ex guy: "Sure, that'll be $240"

Me: "Goodbye"

There goes that idea.

Buying a new MacBook sounded awesome, but then I'd be carrying two MacBooks around with me... which still sounded tempting. Fine, I'll attempt to get it repaired I guess (I owe it to my bank account to at least give it a try before buying a new one). I walked into the nearest MacBook store... although I couldn't tell if it was a retail outlet or a music concert was taking place due to the huge amount of people in the store! One 'Apple Consultant Appointment' later and I now contained the knowledge that it would cost approximately $700 to get it repaired. Sigh.

There goes that idea too.

On the way out of the store I walked by the latest MacBook Pro models, looked at the price, calculated how much money I have with me, and asked myself a very serious question: Would I be comfortable sleeping at parks/beaches/airports for the remaining time on this trip in return for a brand new MacBook? After a lengthy debate while pacing the store, in which I eventually got a small pat on the shoulder from a rather concerned looking staff member who asked "Sir, are you okay there?", I grudgingly concluded that a roof over my head is indeed slightly more preferred than spending my remaining money on a brand new MacBook. The keyword is slightly.

The night was rounded off with Chris and I at a pub with a bunch of new friends we made that day. Although these bars were pretty expensive... I shouted the group a round of drinks and it cost me $40! But as my strange luck would have it, at the next bar we went to I found $40 on the floor haha! Win.

So that was Thursday.

Finally it was Friday... and I was to be flying out late the following day, meaning I had less than two days to fill up left. Although, it wasn't going too bad I guess, I mean I wasn't exactly bored, it just wasn't the extremely fun filled San Francisco that I remembered from my previous times here.

I awoke with a terrible hangover. Bleary eyed and half asleep I stumbled my way through the hostel kitchen, attempting to make myself breakfast which was far more difficult than it should have been really. Whilst there I got informed that a free 'walking tour' was to take place shortly. Despite seeing San Francisco so much already I figured a walk would do me good.

BestTour. Ever!

Our guide was hilarious. The tour went for an impressive three hours. I saw all these hidden gems of the city I was so terribly oblivious too. And the stories of the city's past were incredible! Wow, such a great time, I couldn't believe my luck. I could hardly even remember how I got from bed to walking tour.

Some random guy, where upon seeing us, rushed out just so he could start playing
Our awesome tour guide, showing us one of the infamous underground tunnels of San Francisco

The photos above are a small snapshot of the tour really, it went for ages and had such cool history and sights to it, that to talk about it in the depth that it deserves would take far too long thus I will spare you all. Although! I can't leave without mentioning at least one of the cool stories I heard on the way (remember, this blog is both entertaining and educational!).

The first is about the legends of the San Francisco underground tunnel network. To this day there is believed to be a highly elaborate network of underground tunnels spread through the entire of the city, originally used for smuggling contraband both in and out back in the late 1800's. Myth tells us that there are a few entrances to the tunnels still existing today underneath China Town, but the Chinese keep them a secret, and the picture above of my tour guide in the tunnel is the only officially known entrance to the tunnels, cool! But it is blocked off so you can't explore the rest of the tunnels. All very fascinating I thought!

Oh, then there is the story of how hundreds and hundreds of sailing ships would sail into the bay back in the late 1800's, where the crew would abandon their captains once docked and head into the hills to search for gold so the entire bay was jam packed with lifeless ships! These ships eventually floated their way to shore, broke apart, and are now buried underneath the buildings and roads of San Francisco. Every few years when a new building is being built a new ship is discovered buried below, way cool!

And there was a lot about the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire which annihilated virtually the entire city. The rebuilding afterwards and how it forever changed the dynamic of the area. And... well, just so much more. It was really good.

Whilst on the tour I became good friends with two absolutely incredible people. Will (America/Japan) and Pam (America/World). Will was 49 but had spent the last 21 years living in Japan, thus could now speak fluent Japanese (yet he couldn't speak any when he first decided to move there!), and is now back in America in pursuit of a completely new career move. Very cool! Pam I would say was around 55 (Will and Pam were not a couple), could speak fluent French, Spanish and Japanese, and had spent more time of her life living abroad than in her home of America, wow!

Will took us to his favourite vegetarian restaurant, it was amazing.

Having lunch with these two people was simply brilliant. To be in the presence of such people who have lived such diverse and fulfilling lives, who had so much knowledge and skills between them, and a similar view on life that I myself like to hold, was just incredible. The conversation was... I think I will go as far as to use the word 'electrifying'. Yes, the conversation, for me at least, was truly electrifying, and a real treat too.

That night Will, Chris and another friend David (Swiss) had awesome plans for the night, for I had tracked down a pub in town that was to be showing the AFL Grand Final!


Beers! Watching the footy! Explaining to my foreign friends what the hell was going on haha. And I was surrounded by other Australians too! Spent the night chatting away with a bunch of people I met who spoke English that I actually understand, and who obviously understood and appreciated AFL. Great night indeed!

Oh! So I was chatting to some bloke I met there for quite some time, he knew a lot about AFL and was just a great all round guy. After a very long time I found out who it was... he was Terry Daniher! Captain for the Essendon Bombers AFL club in the 80's, including which time he won two Grand Finals! Woah! At the time it didn't sink in but now that I think about it, it was damn awesome to have had met one of the greats of the game, let alone of my team, the Essendon Bombers! So that was cool.

No... I am an idiot and didn't get a picture with him...

So all that somehow happened in one day, it was ridiculously amazing. To think that I had originally woken up with a terrible hangover with not one plan in mind for what to do for the day, to then somehow have every minute of the entire day taken up with such great times, was just surreal.

Finally Saturday had arrived, the day of my flight, although seeing as how times were going so well all of a sudden I honestly wish I didn't have to leave now. Sigh. Even more so because of what I had in store for my remaining time in San Francisco.

My plan on how to spend the day?

Meet Clare:

She refused to let me take her photo, this was the best I could manage haha
She's awesome.

We had met briefly on Thursday afternoon, didn't have time to stick around and talk so we made plans to meet up the next day or so. The next day was Friday, which was the day I just described above, so that kind of didn't turn out how I was expecting, thus Saturday arrived (the day of my flight) so first thing in the morning I sent her a text to hang out. She gladly welcomed the company.

Our time spent together can be summarized quite easily: You know you are in good company when it takes you over an hour to finish the apple you are trying to eat.

It was a really nice time. She will be missed.

Time to catch my flight I guess. How I started the week not having a clue as to how I am going to spend my days, to somehow managing to have a road trip, then a blast in San Francisco yet again, is beyond me. I honestly thought I'd be reading books to pass the time away!

I have a strong feeling that this is to be truly the last time I am to see San Francisco. Well, on this trip anyway. It is time to move on, with my next destinations not a simple bus ride away this time either, for now is the time to do some serious travel! I won't reveal where I am off to just yet, to be honest I hardly even know myself sometimes, but mostly I don't like to jinx it.

With a warm goodbye to Clare, and of course one to Chris for we had had an epic time together, it was time to leave.

San Francisco... I have no words sufficient enough to describe how awesome you have been to me.

04 October 2012

Road trip!

Traveling without my Macbook is tough. And depressing. And makes blogging quite difficult too. My last post left off with my imminent departure from the Bed and Breakfast to continue my travels seeing as there are so many places still left on my 'must see' list, despite the fact that I have already been in America for over 6 months now! But who's counting?

I am.

It is strange to be back on the road again after being stable for so long, it honestly took me a while to get used to it; the carrying of bags, catching buses, fending off the homeless people trying to give me directions in exchange for money despite the fact that I'm on phone call and aren't even walking anywhere at the time. With my new Icelandish friend Gunnar (whom I met at the Bed and Breakfast), we caught the long bus ride from Fort Bragg to San Francisco... wow it was great to be back in this city, it really is one of my favourite places in the world thus far. I only had a few hours to spare however because I already had a bus reserved to take me to the city called Sacramento to meet up with a friend of mine, Margaret (America).

Which I missed of course... so I caught the next one, a quick 2 hours later. During which I, and the entire bus terminal, was lucky enough to listen to a man have... quite some difficulties in the bathroom. Good times!

I stayed at Margaret's house for a few days, extremely grateful to have time to rest up after the hardship that was the Bed and Breakfast, and to basically plan my next move. Oh and she does swing dancing too! We went out to one of her classes and it was some of the best fun I have had on my entire trip, very cool indeed.

On a related note: Australian accent = awesome.

I explored Sacramento for a while:

Capitol Hall
The local neighbourhood of the city was really nice
It was a really nice, beautiful city actually. Chances are you are like me and weren't aware that Sacramento is actually the capitol of California (eg. not San Francisco or Los Angeles as one would assume) so there was some great history around the place. The tour of Capitol Hall was a real treat and highlight, the tour guide was brilliant and explained much about the history of the country that I was completely oblivious to, something I always appreciate.

Things got a little tough soon after however as out of no where Margaret informs me that I needed to leave her house much sooner than originally organized. Sigh. All the hostels were of course booked out by that stage, so yet again there was some stressful times as I tried to find somewhere to stay. Eventually I managed to secure a motel for one night (at a painful $46 for the night) and then a hostel for the following few nights.

The motel was fantastic though! It had a lovely 40cm TV with fuzzy reception for starters, something I hadn't seen in over 2 months because the Bed and Breakfast didn't have any. I watched Despicable Me (it was funny) and Good Luck Chuck (it wasn't funny). Great times. And as a special amenities option (that I was unaware of) the motel was kind enough to offer a free complementary live mouse included as part of my room (literally there was a mouse in the room). How modern! As I was watching the movies I'd see Mr Complementary Mouse pop out from behind the TV, then disappear as I try to catch him, so that was a nice unexpected extra entertainment. What will the hospitality industry come up with next I wonder.

Oh! I nearly forgot to mention my favourite part. Mr Complementary Mouse didn't just run around the back of the TV cabinet, but he also gave free back massages while you watch TV! Oh man I can't tell you how relaxed I felt after Mr Complementary Mouse ran across my back as I tried to watch Despicable Me. The guy has magic fingers or something, so effective.

For some reason I didn't sleep well that night.

Now I've had the next few destinations that I plan to travel to in mind for quite some time, so it was time to actually... like, go to these destinations. Of course I am the worst planner in history and waited too long to book a flight, so the next cheapest available flight was seven days away. Argh. I had already seen most of what Sacramento had to offer, and even returning to San Francisco didn't sound ideal as I had been there so much already as it is. I was pretty worried how I was to entertain myself for the next 7 days, especially without my MacBook with me anymore...

Turns out travel is a funny thing, for in the end I had nothing to worry about what so ever because as my strange luck would have it, it was the very next day where I made an awesome new friend: Chris from Switzerland! Our first adventure was an awesome bike ride along the American River (some big river) on a perfect blue sky day. It rocked!

Well besides us nearly getting mugged, but at least it got my heart racing! Haha!

Chris ready to ride!
Pretty sweet shot
Sacramento with perfect skies, great day for a ride
That night I found out that Chris had hired a car and was planning a little road trip, leaving the following day with the loose plan being to leave Sacramento and head to a city called Reno (in Nevada) where he will stay the night, then to a city called San Jose (in California) and stay the night, before finishing up in San Francisco.

"Umm... dude, I know we only met yesterday, but I have seven days of nothing to fill up before my next flight... can I come" was my enthusiastic request.

"Sure!" was Chris' equally enthusiastic reply!

Road trip =D

The very next day we packed our stuff and headed off first thing in the morning, wow was it good to be back on the road! With music playing and beautiful scenary it was such a great time.

Now that is a great view
And along the way to Reno I got to fullfil a huge goal I've had in mind but never ever thought I'd ever be able to achieve... seeing Lake Tahoe! Although it appears my photos do not give it anywhere near the justice it deserves. Plus there was cloud. But still, being able to tick it off my 'must-see' list felt really good.

Eventually we arrived at Reno, Nevada, which immediately looked like a dull version of Las Vegas really. A very dull version of Las Vegas. Basically it was like Las Vegas' younger weird brother, where despite being family the two were nothing alike, and you kind of just let him tag along else you'd never hear the end of it. Chris and I looked to be the youngest ones around by a good 30 years too.

Although we did get our own hotel rooms for a very reasonable price, with mine being on the 20th floor with an amazing view of the city below so that was pretty sweet.

How exciting...
The view from my room of Reno below. It was so peaceful to sit by the window and just stare at the city lights down below, the silhouette of the mountains in the distance, the moon light bright. I ponder a lot during these times. 

And... well, besides that there wasn't anything else worth writing about to be honest, the view really was the highlight of our time there haha.

The following day it was time to hit the road once more to return back to California to visit a city called San Jose, but this time with perfect skies and even better views along the way:

San Jose is about an hour or so South of San Francisco. It was okay I guess, and we just checked into a random motel for the night.

The reception guy at the motel upon discovering my name is Aaron and that I am from Australia, laughed to himself and said this:

"Haha, you're the same as that governor"

"Umm... huh?" was the best reply I could conjure at this stage.

He continued. "You know, the governor, Aaron something! He used to govern California"

"Umm. Oh... you don't mean Arnold do you? As in Arnold Swartzeneggar?"

"Haha oh, yes, well, same name as yours really"

"Not really"

"Well he is from Australia so you are both still similar at least"

"He isn't from Australia, he is from Austria"

"Yes, Australia, that's what I said"

"Not Australia... Austria"

He was now confused.

We spent the next 5 minutes trying to educate him that Arnold Swartzeneggar is in fact from Austria, which is a completely different country to Australia. Sigh... well done America.

I was particularly excited to be around the San Jose area because it is close to the famous Silicon Valley. For those of whom are unaware what Silicon Valley is exactly, it is basically the geographical area between San Francisco and San Jose that has a very high concentration of high-tech companies' headquarters; such as Google, Intel and Apple. If we had more time I would have loved to visit and perhaps even tour these buildings! But I soon got told that there isn't really much to see and is in no way as exciting as the idea I had depicted in my head, so... yeah.

That didn't stop us from driving around of course, and I had heard good things about a town nearby called Palo Alto where apparently a lot of the people who work at said companies live.

It was a very classy area and really cool... which made me question if I have spent my time wisely on this trip, yikes! I am here on a 1 year work Visa, meaning I am legally allowed to work here in America, yet I haven't worked an official job not once yet (ha!).

My original plan of coming to America with this Visa had been to get a job in New York City, which going by the fact that I am over 6 months into my trip and I am currently writing about my time spent driving just outside San Francisco, it isn't hard to guess that that idea didn't quite go to plan. But what I could have technically done is tried a hell of a lot harder and gone for some computer programming jobs whilst here, perhaps even one day becoming one of these people who work at those awesome companies like Google or Apple, and live in these super nice neighbourhoods such as Palo Alto or even in San Francisco... what a life!

If only I had applied myself...

Then I realized I am thinking all of this whilst walking past scores of people in suits, all of whom are eating lunches on what I assume are their far too short lunch breaks, inevitably destined any moment to return to their desks to work far too hard and with too much stress, while Chris and I are about to jump back in the car, cruise the rest of the way to San Francisco, with plans to grab some beers at my favourite pub upon arrival.

In other words, I regret nothing =)

Hello again San Francisco! Did you miss me? I missed you!

I've got 4 days until my flight, bring it on.