Living within a city for the better part of a decade you begin to ebb and flow with it’s vibes. Overtime it becomes as organic and essential as your own heartbeat and stride. Once my fate overseas was sealed the scenery around took on a golden glow. A city that was once draped with a sense permanence became suddenly ephemeral. San Diego’s skyline has been etched into the atmosphere and is tattooed into my memory forevermore. Hikes had to be taken, adventures had to commence and memories had to be made. I had a couple months to bottle up as much California sunshine as I could fit into my carry on and I considered this challenge accepted.
Suddenly I began seeing faces that cameoed in my life on a consistent basis, walking through slot canyons on a regular and finding myself situated with my feet in the sand unplugged from the world more often than not. We ate at our favorite restaurants, danced until the break of dawn, became beasts of the boardwalk and drenched our hearts in wine. My apartment’s belongings slowly slipped into suitcases and found refuge in a new owners hands until I was left with barren walls and empty drawers.
An eerie sense of calm surrounded this process a wave or two of anxiety would hit and then roll back. I had mentally prepared for this to be much harder than it was, ridding myself of material objects and stripping of nearly everything I owned was far more liberating than soul wrenching. Tears would form in my eyes occasionally, but only when I was was saying my “I will see you agains” rather than leaving things or places that seemingly once belonged solely to me.
Weeks melted away quickly between working, exploring and packing. I spent my last day in San Diego surrounded by great friends on the beach coming and going with the tide. By night a couple of my oldest and closest friends wasted the night away around a bonfire and BBQ. It seemed that as soon as the embers cooled I found myself nestled in the hills surrounded by silence and showered with a sense of relief.
Soon enough the fourth of July was upon us and I would visit San Diego as a visitor for the first time. In this delicate dance of belonging it was hard to figure out if I had side-stepped to the left too quickly or was it the crowd that danced to a different drum beat now? Is this just my contorted perception? Perhaps it’s a twisted interpretation? Is it both, or neither? Either way I was on the outskirts, taking in this place I used to call home from the sidelines. Everyone shuffling along, not missing a beat without me. An outcast, in a place I once belonged. I began to long for a city that I never laid eyes upon in an effort to feel at home again. As my wheels turned off Sunset Cliffs Blvd I took a look in my rearview and saw my memories shining like fireworks over that quirky bohemian town.