Adventure 16

One of the many great things about taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago was to enjoy the sense of adventure associated with a grand journey.  The key to the expedition was to leave home without expectations and just go with the flow. We can all take a Camino everyday by trying something new and being open to letting people into our lives.

Last week, I was fortunate to spend three nights on the road in San Diego and L.A. speaking about my book and excursion through Spain.  Tuesday, I packed up the car with a few boxes of books, my laptop, and a bundle of energy. My 79 year old mom was my co-pilot for this trip.

We drove from Palm Springs, CA to the avocado capital of the U.S. (Fallbrook, CA) and arrived around 1:00.  Main Street was only about five blocks long, so we quickly meandered around this special and artistic city.  One of my favorite encounters was with the man that owns the local candy store.  We made an instant friendship and gabbed for about 45 minutes.   After asking about five people for the best restaurant, we ended up at La Caseta.  I was able to cross fried avocado wedges and salted caramel avocado fudge off my bucket list.

The library was relatively new and extremely cool.  The entire complex was constructed with environmentally sensitive materials.  There was even a gigantic garden that spanned the entire length of the roof.  Several FB and Southern CA Camino Group friends joined me for the first presentation.  After the gig, we drove to La Jolla.

I booked a Hotwire mystery hotel based on La Jolla and a certain star rating..  The universe put us at the Embassy Suites.  In a previous business life (1997), I spent six weeks living in this same hotel.  It was chilling to realize how much my life has changed during the eighteen year separation.

Wednesday morning began with a short drive to La Jolla Cove.  We strolled along the ocean boardwalk.  This area is filled gorgeous pelicans, seals, and stunning ocean views.   Around 10:00 AM, we split an order of Coast Toast at the Brocton Villa Restaurant.  It is divine french toast with a hint of orange souffle.

Last year, I spoke at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival and made friends with another speaker and her husband.  We drove to their house and received a warm welcome at the HillFord Hacienda.  A great meal was enjoyed at a local Cheers type restaurant.  Everyone does know their names and it was so nice to be along for the ride.  These people are on a similar lifelong spiritual journey and just reek of high vibrating positive energy.  I still get chills by reminiscing about their kindness and hospitality.  The evening rounded out at Rancho Santa Fe with another fun library presentation.   When I got home that night, there was an email invitation to be on a local TV show in the morning.

Day three began with a 20 minute drive to the television studio.  The green room did not have any celebrity creature comforts, but was inhabited by 5 stunning models that were doing a spring fashion segment.  Mom watched the San Diego Living program from the hotel.  We spent the afternoon walking around the shores of Ocean Beach, the iconic pier, and even took a nap on the concrete boardwalk.  Ours was a choice but I wondered how many people sleep there by necessity.  The owner of Adventure 16 took us to Mt. Helix where we enjoyed a panoramic view of San Diego.  80+ people showed up at his store for pizza, popcorn, beer/wine, and my Camino presentation.

The final day began with a nerve wracking drive up I-5 to Los Angeles.   After getting our bearings at the Adventure 16 store, we drove through Beverely Hills and Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood.  We ate greasy hamburgers and onion rings at Tommy’s. The cherry on top of my final speech was a surprise appearance from Annie O’Neill. She is a pilgrim from the incredible documentary, Walking the Camino:  Six Ways to Santiago.   Around 10:00 PM, we hopped into the car and drove 2 hours to Palm Springs.

There is no significant financial gain on this adventure, but life is much more about enjoying the experience.  I would not trade the previous four days for any stack of money.  We began this trip full of gratitude and returned with more!