Santa Cruz – Summer 2016

I remember it well.  Well, I remember part of it well.  I remember I was having a down day, but I can’t recall why… I was laying on my bed in my college bedroom.  Black and white Guess ads pinned to the wall next to magazine cut outs of Brad Pitt and a Hugh Jackman signed X-Men 2 still.  Eli knelt next to the bed and was trying to cheer me up.  Or let’s be real, he was probably trying to pull me out of my pity party.  It was around 10am that summer day and we had it all to ourselves.

“Let’s go to Santa Cruz!” He said.  I pushed back with all the reasons not to go like 1) it’s already so late in the day and 2) it’s a 3 hour drive, but secretly the thought of a spontaneous trip to the ocean and 3 uninterrupted hours of car time with my best friend was enough reason to say yes.

I packed up a few things and we hit the road.  A few hours later, we were laying on the beach and little did we know that we were building a tradition in our relationship.

When I was a little girl, my family lived in San Jose, so we were always going to Santa Cruz during the summer.  We loved it so much that even when we moved to the Sacramento area, we still tried to go at least once each summer.  My parents would pile us kids into the van and we would arrive around lunch time and have a picnic on the beach.  After we ate, we would run around, play in the water, and dig for sand crabs while my mom read her book on the blanket and my dad would disappear up to the boardwalk for a little while and the return with yellow paper bags filled with gummy candies and salt water taffy.  After we had our beach time, we would change and go on all the rides.  I always loved when it would get dark and the boardwalk lit up.  We would end each trip sharing funnel cake and then falling asleep in the car on the ride home.

When Eli and I went to Santa Cruz that first summer, I shared with him all about my family’s visits there as they were some of my fondest childhood memories.  Unfortunately, Eli had some not to fond memories at the Boardwalk and did not want to re-live the part where we rode all the rides.  Instead we played miniature golf inside Neptune’s Palace which we still do every time we go.  

We made it a tradition to go at least once a summer until the past couple of years when the busyness of life took over.  Eli’s schedule at Apple was all over the place and it was rare to have a day off together.  This past summer, we were both really needing a day trip and we were debating Tahoe or Santa Cruz.  We decided to Santa Cruz since it had been so long and the day before our trip I got a text from Eli saying that he got the day after off as well and that we were going to stay the night!  

I immediately was transported back to my college bedroom and my heart swelled.  The spontaneity of an overnight trip by the ocean was so romantic and also very much needed.  I had been struggling all summer with feeling overworked and taking on too much.  I knew I needed to get away, even for a day, to see the ocean, and walk hand in hand with my best friend.  And boy did it work!

We spent the next morning exploring the quaint downtown area of Santa Cruz since Eli wanted to check out Verve Coffee.  We visited the shops, a book store, and then got some doughnuts before heading back to the beach to soak in the last of the ocean before heading home.

The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to take time off.  To take time to disconnect and to recharge.  I also find that any time spent near the ocean is so refreshing to my soul and I always leave feeling so inspired!  

After Christmas ends, I am always ready for spring and summer.  The past couple of months have been pretty busy for us and the next couple of weeks are busy too.  Lately I’ve been dreaming of our next getaway and really feeling the need for it.  Reliving this trip from last summer makes me appreciate all the good times we had and is making it a little easier to wait for the next one.  Even though it’s not planned yet, everyday I am thinking of the places we could go. Hopefully it will be sooner than later 🙂

Thanks for letting me share this trip with you.  I hope you felt like you were there as well 🙂 Have you ever been to Santa Cruz?  If so, what’s your favorite thing to do there?

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