Big Sur has always been one of those magical places for me. One where I could tune out, get creative and hang back as life continues to happen around me. When a long weekend happens, and it's not often, one has to make the decision to take advantage.
I've been very panicky lately. Little things have been sending me off into these thought tornadoes. Whipping and whirling keeping me awake at night. The words that are my weapon can sometimes be my downfall. Words. Constant. Bleeding. Thinking. Sometimes the walls you confine yourself in start to cave. You have to keep moving.
I had to change my surroundings, people say that the ocean has healing properties. So I packed up my car and headed out in search of a sense of calm. A sense of calm that writers and artists have found in Big Sur for decades.
California's historic Highway 1 or, The Pacific Coast Highway is home to some of the moth breathtaking views in the country. Grape fields and redwoods, coast line and sail boats...there's something for everyone.
As far as road trips are concerned, this and Route 66 get their fame because of the things that surround the stretch of road. People argue all the time that driving is boring, but when the lush greens of California surround you, giving way to beaches that look like they're straight out of a brochure...it becomes exciting.
The music is flowing in the car and the windows are down. It's a foggy day but somehow the air smells clear and clean, like an ocean scented candle from some overpriced shopping destination.
Sometimes things don't look real until you actually see them flying past you at 70 miles per hour. It's incredible how vivid the sea is. I now fully understand why so many of my literary heroes sought it out for comfort.
Big Sur is a region located on the central coast of the Pacific Ocean. Tucked away from most modern conveniences it is a haven for artists, explorers, climbers and anyone who wants to get away from "it all".
"It all" being whatever is bringing you down at the moment: your job, your family, yourself. It's a beautiful thing to disconnect for a moment. If the only anecdote for the stale feeling you get from routine is checking into some dive of a hotel and running off into the wilderness, then of course, that's what you should do.
My life is a constant stream of social media, phone calls, text messages, tweets, Tumblr posts, Youtube videos and every other platform you can imagine. At least 70 percent of my time is spent looking down at some back-lit screen, trying to figure out what the hell is going on with people I've never met.
It's exhausting. It's scary. It's the damn future all the time, and it makes for a completely digital existence.
2016 is so digital, that sometimes you forget what's actually out there, in places where the service drops off.
When you finally put down the phone, and just focus on the drive you can find yourself thinking more clearly and more perfectly than ever before. The disorganized thoughts that usually plague you are ironed out. The vision of the beaches and cliff sides that some people may never see comes into view, and you feel lucky.
Though California sun was covered by clouds I could still feel it on my skin as I flew up the coast, thinking of nothing but standing out on one of those cliff sides and breathing deep.
I won't say much more, for fear of losing the integrity of the experience, but I learned a great deal about myself while near Big Sur. Driving aimlessly up and down The Pacific Coast Highway without constraints, no time limits, nobody to answer to was completely freeing. And it wasn't poetic, and it wasn't perfect but I had a great time.
I truly acknowledged the moment, and understood that life is about more than deadlines and numbers, money and contentment. It's about the pure, act of living.
Sometimes you just need a break. The sounds and voices of the familiar have to be forgotten. There is nothing like looking out at the sea an realizing that the world moves underneath you, that there is a force around you that you cannot even dream of controlling.
It's an incredible feeling, to look out into the fog and realize that you can't possibly predict the tide. No matter what you do, as you stand on the rocks where Kerouac and Thompson and Miller came before you, you can't become them. You are something utterly of your own, and as you draw on the energy of the ocean you realize that your life is just beginning. Living 20 years in the future is exhausting. I refuse to do it any longer. All of the anxiety is smaller, lesser than, because as the tides shift and turn it becomes clear: you're on your path, and the only person that can stop you is...well, you.