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Emotional "Roller-Coastal"

Sometime in June, my homegirl Ilda, hit me up and said, “Let’s go on a roadtrip down the coast!” There was a part of me that was ready to go without hesitation—then, there was the quiet whisper of my subconscious reminding me that COVID is impacting the nation. I’m healthy enough to not worry about being physically affected even if I come in contact with the virus, so it was actually my precautionary mind thinking of all the restrictions and limitations that would be in place as we passed through each region. I gotta throw it out there—ever since I was born, I’ve had a rebel spirit so feeling like I don’t have freedom to do as I please can be difficult for me. Ultimately, I was all in, packed a duffle bag with enough swimwear and light clothing to get me through a week. I grew more excited with each day leading to our departure. There were two things I was certain of; I needed both a physical and mental break from the current reality, and a really good summer tan.

We drove to the Bay Bridge from Sacramento; hopped on Highway 101 and made our trek down the coast (and when I say we, I mean, I rode shotgun and Ilda drove—thank God because I tend to zone out when driving long distances).

We stopped at many beaches I didn't realize existed in my 10 years living in California. Every day brought new learning, new insights, new appreciation for my friendship. Being fully present in each moment I absorbed the beauty, wonder and even detrimental sides of nature and life. There would be no way to share each detail of the trip without making this blog post much longer than it needs to be so I’ll share my Top 3 Memorable Moments and encourage anyone thinking of road tripping to consider this scenic adventure (it’s an especially fun experience in a drop-top—keep that in mind when planning!).

1. This is Literally the Edge of the Earth!

Sitting in the passenger seat while riding along narrow mountainous roads really puts life into perspective. That aside, being surrounded by the vastness of the hills, cliffs and ocean fronts was so breathtaking—I found myself giving thanks, and often to the Creator. A few times I got emotional thinking about the actions of mankind—feeling so entitled

and large—being so badly blinded by ego, without remorse they ruin what is natural in attempts to preserve their shallow comforts, while forgetting how very small they are in comparison to all that exists in this world.

Reaching the edge of the earth it was marvelous to see some shifts—gently transitioning from land, to sand to shore and ocean, and other points where land abruptly ended, without notice turning into rocky, sharp, and steep downfalls toward the crashing waves. It reminded of life. Sometimes gentle, sometimes perilous. When we stay present and connected through spirit, it’s impossible to ignore the beauty and necessity of both.

2. When Nature Nurtured Me on a Whole New Level

While in Santa Barbara, one thing I was reassured of was: while I find all beaches beautiful, I have absolute preference for the warmer ones. It was cold there! I was excited to watch the sunset while relaxing at the shore, and as the temperatures dropped from the cool ocean air, I snuggled into a sweatshirt, crossed my legs, closed my eyes, allowed the remaining heat from the sun to warm my face as I began preparing myself for meditation. I remember focusing first on my breath, my posture, my temperament. I was calm and ready to shift my energy to all the nature surrounding me. I listened to the rolling waves, deeply breathing in the air; enough so to taste the sea. I relaxed into the coolness of the wind blowing gently around me. Completely unaware of when it happened, I was entranced.

I don’t know how long I was in meditation, but I know I felt only peace in my spirit, in my body and mind when I came back to reality. It was like I was in another realm, and if I had any worries before I meditated, they’d been stripped from my being and memories. That entire evening, I kept laughing in amazement at how much serenity I felt. It had been a while since my connection with spirit felt so purposeful. This was my reminder that all life is connected and nature truly nurtures—especially when we become still, simply listen and allow it to.

3. Who Built This vs. Who Benefits

I’ll try not to get too deep on this one, but as a Black women in America, I’ve always been aware that I stand out in spaces that lack diversity. I don’t mind standing out because I like to think I’m outstanding… (Miguel fans will get the verse), but I do appreciate seeing people that remind me of—ME; especially when I’m traveling. Just as I was mesmerized by the vastness of the mountains and cliffs, I was also intrigued by thoughts of “exactly who built these roads, tunnels and bridges? Who risked their lives to create these pathways?” I don’t have enough knowledge on the topic (and I will be researching it further because I’m now curious) but from what I understand, construction of Hwy 101 began just over a century ago in 1919 through prison labor.

The reason this made my top three memorable moments is I can’t shake the disheartening feeling that comes from seeing a lack of diversity in who enjoys the fruits of the free labor of Africans stolen and brought here and the Indigenous people who’s land was stolen from them—and the prisoners of war, etc…all who had a hand in building the United States. It’s hard to see how racial injustices can be reversed when the critical conversations surrounding immorality of law that still exist are rarely discussed with actual expectations for accountability, change, reparation or restorative justice. These thoughts didn’t ruin my trip or take away from all the beauty of nature I just mentioned. But it wouldn't be me if I wasn't honest, and for me, systemic racism is like one of those optical illusions—once in focus, I can’t unsee it.

Our girl's getaway down the coast was fun; and a much needed mental and spiritual refresh. I came back with both a renewed peace of mind and fabulous tan! Wanna know if a friendship is built to last? Make travel plans, and if you come back as friends, it's safe to say you have a friend for life. Share this blog post with your bestie and plan your next adventure!

When was the last time you journeyed on a road trip? Was it local, east or west coast? Would you do it again or recommend it to a friend? Feel free to share!


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