I grew up in the East, currently go to school in the South, previously visited one of my sisters in the Midwest - so I knew it was my time to go West.
When my older sister offered to host Christmas at her place in California, I was thrilled. As a plant-based college girl, I knew that seeing San Francisco was going to complete all of my goals.
I packed the cutest clothes I could find (I was inevitably going to take artsy pictures) and planned out some trips to the most eye-catching attractions.
I knew the entire holiday could not revolve around my desires, since my whole family would be in California with me, but I hoped that at least one or two of my siblings would be interested in the things I wanted to see.
Anyone who has multiple sisters or brothers will tell you that I was being wildly optimistic.
Even if your sister wants to do the same thing as you, she will claim she doesn't just to spite you.
Fortunately, all of my family members have one thing in common, one thing we all love that California specializes in - food.
There were so many wonderful, adventurous activities I pursued in the great West, but the food is truly incomparable.
Everywhere you go, there is a donut shop with the strangest flavors, or an ice cream parlor that serves seaweed-flavored frozen treats.
I had not one, not two, but eleven chai lattes, all from different locations with unique flavors.
Of course, my trip to California was not only about finding the best desserts. There are so many cool art galleries, cultural events, obscure theater shows everywhere. Although I was mostly focused on exploring Northern Cali, the trip inspired me to return soon and investigate further.
Everyone always says that people from the West are generally happier than my East-coast peers.
In California, when you smile at a stranger on the sidewalk, chances are they'll smile back, or at least give you an uncomfortable grin.
If you're in the East and smile at a stranger, you might as well be asking to get punched in the face. Maybe it's the lack of snow, but most people I saw during my vacation seemed genuinely content. A diet of avocado toast and kombucha might be working for the residents of the Golden State.
My journey in the West came to a halt, but I hope this is simply a short hiatus. There is so much more to see and do in the great state of California, so many juice cleanses to consider for a day, only to revert back to macaroni and cheese.
I am willing to push through the massive amounts of traffic and expensive meals to explore another quirky store that sells solely mason jars.
Thank you to the beaches of Pacifica, to the art of Berkeley, to the various districts of San Francisco for allowing me to explore all you have to offer. I hope to see you again soon, hopefully with a little more money and wittier Instagram captions.
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