The LA Chronicles

The orange glow of the midday city sun cut through the thick smog. Carolyn was driving, listening to some tight Spanish tunes, I sat in the back with my thoughts, reflecting on what had been my first journey by myself anywhere ever.

And I could’ve gone anywhere. The Great Lakes, Florida, Texas. I could’ve done the Grand Canyon. I could’ve done Boston, the northeast. I could’ve gone to New York.

But here I was: Los Angeles

The wind blew in my hair, my sunburnt skin reacting to the cool breeze. I sat quietly, contemplating my life as it was right now, and where I was. What I was. I’d come so far.

My crossroads.

I’d done much since my divorce 3 years ago. I’d cultivated a now budding side hustle as a blogger, giving advice to men in my situation, including how to get back into the dating pool. I’m a successful business owner, leading a family run business for almost a decade through the trials and tribulations that befall or bless said business. I’d learned how to date again, practicing my newly found game over the past 18 months, and getting more successful by the day. I’d struggled with my child’s epilepsy diagnosis and all the uncertainty that came with it. All through, I morphed from another red pilled guru type spouting off diatribes against beta males, single moms, IG models, and hypergamy, to sharing my own journey with weight loss, fatherhood, dating and relationships.

And here I was, on my way to Laguna. The 5 wasn’t bad at all for midday, although LA is such a huge city that going anywhere by car means “road trip”.

This excursion was in part a midday getaway on my last day here, and also a lunch date that had cancelled. I kept on, determined now more than ever to live this last day in the City of Angels with the same flair I had lived my life since becoming unplugged and entering the world on my terms some 3 years ago.

Why was I here?

I had several amazing friends I wanted to see. I knew one from many endeavors, and I had wanted to visit for sometime. One friend in particular was eager to show me her city. She as well as the others lived out there, so it became a long weekend of fun in the sun and an experience I wouldn’t soon forget.

Los Angeles is such an indescribably beautiful city. Millions of different cultures wedged in between the Sierras on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. It’s built like a giant chaotic mess, with small chateaus, bungalows, and cool eclectic dives sharing the roads with million dollar homes. Gas stations look up to huge hills filled with massive homes, looking like fortresses watching the invaders they turned back.

Everything walks, rides, or bikes. All the stuff is within walking distance. Like little bubbles pooled together, each sector of the city breathes its own life, with neighbors seeing each other at Starbucks, the grocery store buzzing with activity, and the joggers out in force.

LA is a fit town. The people are beautiful. Everyone’s in shape. Everyone’s waiting for their big break. But they all love it here. It’s a rich, diverse, crazy home, but it’s theirs. The people are so warm, kind, generous, welcoming, and generally good natured that you can’t help but fall in love with all of it.

Rolling down highway 1, California’s iconic site, I was amazed. Beautiful palm trees, rolling hills, blue skies and beautiful blue water. My Lyft driver turned into the Ritz Carlton, dropped me off, and went on with her day. That’s what I noticed. Everyone is LA grinds and hustles, but they do it with a smile. It’s always sunny, so why not?

I walk around. Sun is blazing, the air off the ocean smells like the Earth’s breath, fresh from each tide push. The reflections off of the yellow and orange buildings makes the sun seem millions of miles closer. The brilliance is something to behold. As I walk, I can’t help but feel this city is speaking to me, a voice I haven’t heard before but now listen to intently.

I keep walking. I knew where I wanted to go. After watching my diet for the trip, I had a cheat day, and I wanted a giant sub. A small deli was situated just past the hotel, so I struck out to that very place. I wanted a sandwich.

You can tell a lot about a city by its food. Over the course of the past 5 days, I had a chance to sample the best food from the most unassuming places. Little hole in the wall restaurants are always where I go, because they have the best food, as well as the pulse of a city and its identity. The people that work there truly love it, and it’s why I try to find just those places.

And I couldn’t have been more happy with any of it. The staff looked like 20 somethings waiting for their big break, but in the meantime proud to work for a sandwich shop that takes care of its customers. Great, earthy people who have taken on the identity of their city, all while cultivating their own life from the mountains and beaches they inhabit.

I sat and dined, enjoying people watching as I ate. I wanted to read, but kept looking up from my book to just watch the world of Southern California walk by. You can’t help but be fascinated by the folks that meander to their destinations. Tan skinned beauties, surfer dudes, boomers with fedoras, and housewives grabbing a beer.

So as I finished, I went for another excursion. As I walked, I thought about all that I’d experienced. Meeting new friends who exposed me to a whole new world. I painted for the first time since I was a child. My picture, as California as everything else I saw, was painted with a new energy flowing through me given to me by this land. I just can’t describe it any other way. The brush took on a life of own, and showed me, just like everything else here, just what I was capable of when I stop and let life take the wheel.

I called for my Lyft, because no self respecting SoCal visitor rides Uber. As I got in, I looked around one last time at this alluring landscape. When all you see as an Indiana boy is nothing but flat, green fields, this landscape can seem alien at first, but does it ever impress as you view it totally.

The driver and I chatted on our way back about LA life, pick up and game, the pros and cons of online dating, and how well the Clippers would be this year. He was truly a Southern California star, open, warm, and engaging. For almost two hours, we spoke like brothers, even though we were separated by 2000 miles for most of our lives. It’s like good friends who haven’t seen each other for years picking right back up where they left off.

As he let me off at my hotel, I thought about my trip. The great friend I had made who showed me around this great city. She truly made me feel at home in a amalgamation of 20 million souls, all bound together by a sense of belonging, regardless of race, creed, or color. She made it seem so small and welcoming. She was proud of her city. She lived it everyday and showed it to me. Her friends were mine, with every laugh filling the air with joy of a perspective I didn’t know, but was glad to be a part of.

I came to LA not knowing a thing about it, but I left with a new found enchantment of a truly unique city. I was able to find a distinctive voice that opened up a whole new part of myself I didn’t realize was there. This city changed me for the better, and for that I am truly blessed.

I also made a lifelong friend, who made my LA experience truly magical. I’m forever grateful for her friendship. You shared your city with me, you showed me compassion when I was alone, and you took me to places that I would never had known existed. I can’t thank you enough for your hospitality. It meant the world to me.

So goodbye LaLaLand. I’m glad you opened your doors to me and added yet another layer of experience to my already growing travel life. You embraced me and made me a believer. I’ll most certainly be back.

I’m an honorary Los Angeleno. And like the great Billy Joel, the song “Los Angelenos” lyrics tell the story that I just lived in my “funky exile” that I wouldn’t ever give back.

“Los Angelenos
All come from somewhere
To live in sunshine
Their funky exile
Midwestern ladies
High-heeled and faded
Drivin’ sleek new sports cars
With their New York cowboys

Hiding up in the mountains
Laying low in the canyons
Goin’ nowhere on the streets
With the Spanish names
Makin’ love with the natives
In their Hollywood places
Making up for all the time gone by

Los Angelenos
All come from somewhere
Cuz it’s all so easy
To become acquainted
Electric babies
Blue-jeaned and jaded
Such hot sweet schoolgirls
So educated

Tanning out in the beaches
With their Mexican reefers
No one ever has to feel
Like a refugee
Going into garages
For exotic massages
Making up for all the time gone by
Hiding up in the mountains
Laying low in the canyons
Goin’ nowhere on the streets
With the Spanish names
Makin’ love with the natives
In their Hollywood places
Making up for all the time gone by

Los Angelenos
All come from somewhere
It’s so familiar
Their foreign faces.”

Thank you, City of Angels.

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