Road Trip: San Francisco

On our way to San Francisco I read off a sign with all the towns we were passing through. I remembered I had an aunt that lives near by. When I called her she was so excited, I couldn’t even get a word in. I introduced her to Gus and told her about our adventure camping. She fed us and let us get all cleaned up. It was a breath of fresh air to visit. I loved how happy she was to see us.
When we arrived in San Francisco we were ready to see the city. We drop our stuff at a hostel and went to go take some photos in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

After dinner we made our way to the Arcade Museum. It was fun to actually play with the vintage games. I was so excited when I saw they had a photo booth. Gus said they are a curse for couples but I reassured him my parents took a ton when they were young.

The next morning Gus woke up early (due to staying in a hostel.) He text me early in the morning and said, “I’m ready.” We were up so early nothing was open when we walked around town. We set out a quest to find china town. I had driven pass it many times but never bothered to walk the streets. Since he is in to marshal arts, this place was heaven for him. We ended up spending three hours shopping, and looking around.

When we were done I said, “My turn, lets go to hippie town.”

I finally got a t-shirt made that I’ve been talking about. “Go Indie.” It was a comment I made once on Facebook when a friend was complaining about how dumb movies are. We made our way down to Dolores Park to get a coffee. It was kinda strange to find so many people sitting at the park on a Wednesday morning, it seemed like no one had anything to do. We found the atmosphere to be relaxing.

3pm hit and it was time for the long 10 hour drive to the magical land of Portland and Seattle!!!

Blog: The City I Call Home (Not by Choice)

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a few days now and probably if I were honest, a few years. It’s a post that feels like I’m revealing a secret, a lie I told so many, mainly by avoiding the question:

“Where are you from?”

My city is like a rest stop you’d see off the freeway; small and practical. There’s not much to see but lots to say. First, you have the local grocery store; Have a dollar ready for the homeless man or woman, if you are caught off guard they will bug you until they get something, think of it as, ‘you are paying them to leave you alone. ‘ If you walk pass the bus stop, you’ll see a tree covered in flowers. Next to it is an article of the bus driver that got shot here. He is now a local hero, the article says he was a faithful worker, husband and father, its a shame he had to go that way.

Then there is Jackson Street. The most dangerous street in the city. They even tried to change the name in hope it would improve the reputation. My aunt use to live on that street, she didn’t know it was so dangerous. She was a single mom with two small kids, it was all she could afford. When we found out she was living there, we invited her to stay with my family. I grew up with my aunt and cousins living with me. I remember asking stories about Jackson St., Weren’t you scared? Was it really that bad?

I pass by my elementary school everyday. I remember how they put me in a special class called R.S.P, the kids would say it meant, “Really Stupid People.” They kept taking me out of class for special learning lessons, but it was causing me to fall behind. My doctor later found out it was my hearing that was the issue, that is why I wasn’t responding to my teacher call my name. I blame my elementary school for making me think I was stupid. I wonder what they use to think when I would win awards for my stories. Why is this girl winning writing awards? Isn’t she one of those stupid kids in the special class? Finally in sixth grade I was put in the front row so I could hear better. All through out middle school I got straight A’s, graduated high school with honors, a 3.5 g.p.a.

And now, the only place you might find me in this town is in the local Starbucks. I thank Starbucks for helping my city be a better place. The city of Seattle’s finger print can be found all over the world. If only my hometown could change the world, if only my hometown could believe that it had the power to be an influence. When I drive down the street I can’t help but think I don’t belong here.  My city culture tells me this is all their is and to be happy with it, but it doesn’t realize I’ve seen the world. It doesn’t realize I rejected its identity for me long ago when I was a teenager, I will not become this place, I will not become my culture.

No matter where one’s from, they can still strive and be something more than what society says their going to be. Rise above what culture says you should be. My culture tells me I should have never seen the world. Everyday I have to tell my culture I am different… I am not from here, I’m just passing through.

Blog: Vancouver – The Journey to the Conclusion

To understand my trip to Vancouver, I must give you some background info. My trip to Vancouver wasn’t just a place that I wanted to visit but it was a place I have been considering moving to. I heard about it a few years after I came back from Australia. It was a city that was growing and thriving in the film industry.

The morning that I was going to the airport I could feel that something was different. I was slowly walking in to the third act. And a conclusion was upon me. I was finally going to get some answers to some of my inner questions about where to go? What to do? What do I want? What does God want? I was excited but I was also scared of the answers.

When you travel, you face things you try to ignore. They come out of your heart. Your perspective becomes so evident, it shows you how you see the world. You begin to see who you really are. You are in a new atmosphere and you become the outsider. And like a child, you begin to experience things for the first time.

The first day I went to an art museum and they had this amazing exhibit called Beat Nation. Basically its was Native Americans mixing traditions and urban youth culture. It was interesting to see them use pop culture to share their story. They were searching for their identity in the mist of culture change. These young people were finding their voice in modern culture. They were finding their identity in their ancestors. I began to ask questions about where do I get my identity from.

Now that I have no title attached to my name, I am left with only the core. The Creator’s daughter.
As I walked around the “promise land”, I couldn’t help but feel this wasn’t real. I was actually here after all those years of talking about it.

I think any city can feel like home the moment you make a friend. It gives a reason to be there. I met up with a girl who I met through Anabel. Aura was the person I was talking to about making the move. We went to Granville for dinner to talk about life, God and Canada. After, the sun was still up so we decided to go for a walk at her local park. I was blown away at the fresh air. I stood standing outside just taking it all in.

The following day, I met up with another friend but I have to stay at a local Starbucks until she gets out of work. So I’m there killing time, reading and playing on my phone. I figure this is probably a good time to spend with God. So I open my bible to a scripture that spoke directly to me, “Wait with hope for the Lord. And follow His path and He will honor you by giving you the Land…He saves them because they have taken refuge in Him.” I could see myself living here but I also came to a point of saying, “Lord, I don’t want my dreams but I want Yours. My dream is Your dream.”

Soon Ada arrived and we headed towards Main St. to look at some Antique shops.

I found that people in Canada are really friendly. The owner of the shop started to talk to us and told us that the city was going to knock down the older buildings on Main St., that his store only had a few days left opened. I was in disbelieve, doesn’t the city know that travelers love places like this! I guess they want to make the street look new.

There were blocks and blocks of amazing stores.

Ada told me I was lucky to get a sunny days in Vancouver. Being from California, every day is a sunny day. It wasn’t until we went to Kit Beach did I believe her. It seemed like the whole city was out doing something.

We walked over to Granville Island for a snack. Little did I know how much food I was about to see. There was so much variety, I couldn’t pick.

The city was no longer a stranger but a place I felt more and more comfortable in. It was so full of life and different cultures. The sun was setting at 10pm. I told my friend that I am driven by the sun, if I lived here, I’d probably be outside all day.

I told Ada about a clock I had seen a photo of when I googled Vancouver. When she took me to Gastown to see it, it felt like a dream. The clock was light up so gracefully. I was standing right where I wanted to be.

The next morning I was exhausted but I wanted to see some nature before I left. So I made my way over to Standly Park for a morning walk.

I rushed back to Ada’s place as we were off to a friend’s birthday party in White Rock. We stopped by the beach to snap some photos. It was so beautiful.

And my last and final evening in Vancouver. The sun went back behind the clouds as we walked the rainy streets.

This trip brought me to a conclusion I could have only had by playing it out. It took a journey to a far away land to come to a conclusion. I guess the point of my trip was to learn how to surrender to God’s plan and trusting in Him. I am allowing Him to direct my steps. Vancouver is beautiful, I did enjoy it and I even miss it but now I can go forth and allow God to unfold something new.

And so I am in the third act. And the third act, I’m excited about it.

Travel: Rediscovering San Francisco

I’ve always seen you as a busy city but over looked
the smiles that you gave me.
The woman who made my coffee,
The man who answered my question,
made me think of a poem,
“live up north once but move before it makes you too soft.”

As I walked your crowded streets
a man that had nothing to call his own
made eye contact with me and said
“You’re beautiful”.
Maybe he was crazy
or maybe just bold enough
to say what he was thinking.
Either way he made me smile.

Now as I sit waiting for my ferry I think about how I miss judged a place I thought I knew.
I didn’t think a large city like you
Would care for a stranger like me.
But I guess that’s why so people still
migrate to your green parks and call it home.

The last time I visited,
I thought I made new friend but instead lost one.
Two years later, My life is completely different.
What was safe and predictable is now
alive and fully aware of life’s greatest adventure:
love.

Thank you San Francisco for reminding me the beauty of kindness.

Travel: New York, New York

Back in 2010 I traveled to New York. I never shared the pictures or the journey until now.
Anytime you travel somewhere new, you have this idea painted out in your head of what it will be like. You gather all the stereotypes you’ve heard and develop an opinion about a place you’ve never stepping foot in.
The moment comes when you are finally there. Suddenly, the city becomes more than fancy buildings and entertainment venues. It becomes a place where real people call home. That is when travel starts to change you. Each day your opinion changes.

New York. What I didn’t expect was to enter in to a city that was very much a community. When I was on the subway, I was looking around at all the different cultures that were there. I then felt a woman looking at me, she was looking at what I was wearing, my hair, my eyes. I was the odd one! She was looking at how different I was. I suddenly became a part of the culture. I was a person in New York traveling on the subway awaiting my destination.

What I began to discover was a place where everyone seemed to be taking care of each other. It might sound strange, but New York was nice to me. When on lookers saw that my friend and I were lost they wouldn’t hesitate to help us. One girl even said, “This is my stop, I’ll take you to the place you are looking for.” We walked and talked with her and suddenly she felt like an old friend. She told us what brought her to New York and the dreams she holds.

The first place we went to was a record store. I am thankful for technology, but I still enjoy walking through a real music store. By the time I grew up and had money of my own, record stores no longer exists in my area. Buying old vinyls makes me feel like I have the only copy in the world!

Anabel and I arrived at Time Square. It was nearly 9pm and the night was just starting. There seemed to be a million things to do. Since I had my big camera with me, people smiled when I took pictures of them, which made me smile. Usually I get mean looks when I take pictures of people. I guess here in Time Square, it was okay to be a tourist.

When I got my portrait taken by a street artist, I asked if I could take a photo of him too. It was like exchanging  images. I showed him his photo, he smiled and said, “very nice.” When I received his drawing of me, the girl had long lashes and a different chin. I said, “This girl doesn’t look like me.” He answered like a man would, “I made you pretty.” I laughed and said, “Thank you for making me pretty.”

The next morning we went to see the Statue of Liberty. I began to place myself back in the late 1800’s when immigrants from all over the world came to America. The joy they must have felt when they saw Miss. Liberty for the first time. Freedom was awaiting them, a new life, hope, dreams and the possibilities of living a great life. It was surreal to see it myself.

When I looked at the sky line I figured out why New York was different than I thought. There were two towers that changed it. Changed everything. No one would have ever thought buildings would go away. This is why the city was taking care of each other, even ten years later.

I couldn’t help but imagine the streets covered in ashes, people running. What I saw on TV back in 2001 became real to me.

Construction of the One World Trade Center was still taking place. I could see the ground where the buildings once stood. I took a moment to believe what I was seeing.

I could feel the sorrow in the air but most of all hope. Things would never be the same but what was being built would bring some peace to some. The memorial center was more than just remembering 9/11, it was a place where we  could remember all the families that were directly effected by the tragedy.

That evening Anabel arranged for us to go see the Lion King on Broadway. I was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

The next day we slept in. One thing about New York is that it will take all your energy away if you let it. We decided to take it easy and walk around Central Park.

It was so relaxing to hang out with the butterflies and birds. We spent hours walking around the garden.

What makes Anabel great to travel with is that she is as spontaneous as me. We ran in to the zoo and decided to go see some New York animals.

I remember it being so hot that day. Everyone seemed to be looking for a way to cool off.

We walked around the city to grab lunch. There was still so much to see! Lucky we had a ticket for one of those tour buses who took us all over town.

We arrived at Soho. The place looked strangely familiar. I couldn’t help but think of Felicity, one of my favorite TV shows when I was in high school. There on the corner was Dean & Deluca, where Felicity worked while she was going to NYU. I loved watching her adventure in NY. Even though it was a fictional show, being here in her neighborhood made it feel real.

The last thing to do on our tourist list was visit the top of the Empire State building. I remember going through all the lines, elevators, stairs and said, “This isn’t very romantic.” haha.

Finally, our last day in New York came. We spent it once again in Central Park. After we had a nice picnic we ended up taking a long four hour nap. I guess this made us official New Yorkers or just homeless.

As we walked to a music venue I tried to take in the city and notice all its details. My world back home is so different from here.

We found Pianos, a cool music venue and enjoyed one of the local bands. There is so much to see in New York but I think the best part of traveling, are the discoveries.

Film: London and Paris

The first day of walking around with my large DSLR  in London I decided that I would capture the city in film instead. Who am I to compete with every great photo on line of these amazing cities. Call me lazy or call me smart. Either way, I hope film live pass my life time.

I took 3 rolls – 2 came out. Fortunately, all my Paris shots came out. I’ve been let down by film before, so with every film shot taken I did a digital copy.

Film is indeed a dying art. I love it for the magical flaws it seems to capture.

Two Days in Paris

An early flight and a million subways later Sam and I were in Paris. The jet lag and consent going finally got me down. I couldn’t help but want only sleep. I kept telling myself, “You’re in the most beautiful place in world, you can sleep later!”

First stop was Notre Damie

I was fascinated by how many people were in Paris. The place was packed with tourist and local city kids. I had never been in a non-English speaking country (other than Mexico) so I felt overwhelmed. I use to want to live in Paris but being here made me change my mind on that one. It made me feel so far away from home.

I continued to ignore the fact I was getting sick and pushed myself to go see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. The Louvre is probably the best art museum in the world. I felt bad for the other great paintings for walking so fast past them. My body was about to give out, I only had a hour or so before I threw up on someone. The sight of the Louver made me forget how I was feeling. It was so great and beautiful. I felt like I had traveled to another time in history.

The sight of the crowd in front of the Mona Lisa was more fascinating to me than the painting. Although I was taken by the color of the painting. So modern and beautiful. No reprint could capture the color of the Mona Lida.

When we came out of the museum it began to rain. It made me think of that line in, “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen about seeing Paris in the rain.

We went back to the hotel, I slept while Sam walked around the city.

In the morning I felt so much better. We woke up early to go see the Eiffel Tower. I wasn’t going to leave this place without seeing its main monument. When we came out, the crazy busy streets of Paris were empty.

We had Paris to our self. Each photo I took of the buildings looked fake to me. This place was real and I was in front of it.

And then there it was…

Call me selfish but it was nice to hang out by the tower with no other people around.

It was time for breakfast. The local shops were finally opening up. We found this cute little restaurant that overlooked the city and tower. It was a dream come true. The moment was so nice I couldn’t stop smiling.

We had a nice walk back to our hotel. It was time to head back to London. My two days in Paris was just a trailer to how amazing it really is.

My Week in London

A transformation happens when you open yourself to traveling. It can feel like time traveling in to a whole different world, and when you think about it, that is exactly what it is.

My friend who is living in London invited me for a week to see the city. He also planned a trip to Paris for us to enjoy. I find it amazing how a week somewhere different can impact transformation.

Day 1:

A nine hour flight couldn’t keep me down. The first day I landed I wanted to see the city. Sam picked me up from the airport and took me to Chelsea where we would be staying. He works at a five star hotel in the fancy part of town and was able to get us a room for a few days. He tells me The Beatles once stayed there.

I was excited to see what London was all about for my self. It was actually better than I imagined. The streets were full of people, the sun was peaking through the clouds and there was so much to see. We walked around the city streets and made our way to dinner. Sam wanted to give me a real English dinner – potato and meat – before we made our way to see, “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Day 2:

I had a list of things to do that I received from a good friend who use to live in London. Since her and I are similar in taste and style, I knew she would recommend me some fun things to do in the city. Sam and I made our way to Notting Hill for breakfast and to check out the out door markets. I was in heaven when I saw the amount of small tea houses. We found this cute little place called, Charlie’s that was hidden. It made me realized how lucky I was to enjoy a cup of tea in England, something I always dreamt of.

The Portabello Markets was an adventure of its own. I loved looking at how everyone was dressed. I kept melting at the site of an English child. When shopping, I tried not to let anyone hear me talk so they wouldn’t hear my American accent and charge me more for ideas. I had Sam ask for me so I could get some good deals. Sam bought me this amazing vintage camera but to this day we don’t know how to open it.

After shopping we stopped at Hammingbird Cafe for a cupcake. The smell of the cupcakes are so amazing I tried to take a photo to capture it, but it didn’t seem to work. 🙂

Since it was Sam’s Birthday I told him we should eat our cupcake at the Buckingham Palace. We walked through the Hyde Park and made our way to the Queen’s house. After he showed me the Westminster Cathedral where Prince William got married.

The best time to see London is at night. The city lights up with all its glory.

The best part of traveling is meeting new people and making new friends. At Sam’s Birthday dinner I was taken by everyone’s story and their friendliness. Everyone seemed to be away from their families and yet here at dinner a new one was created. I loved hearing their journey and learning what brought them to this amazing city. When I was talking to one of the girls she asked me what I do for a living, I said something that stuck with me the rest of the night, “I didn’t mean to become a contract editor, sometimes life’s accidents are part of God’s greatest plans.”

Day 3 & 4: Paris Trip 

Day 4: I love the fact I can travel anywhere in the world and visit my Hillsong family. Hillsong Church in London made me feel at home. It reminded me of all the amazing things God did in my life while I lived in Sydney. This trip was beginning to speak to into my life.

To never lose hope, never give up on your dream, you never know where they will take you.

After church a bunch of us walked to Chinatown for dinner. The cool thing is that everyone ordered food and shared it. The jokes filled the room and my laugh could be heard for miles.

Day 5:

Finally, a day to sleep in. We went back to where Sam lives, a few mile away from the city and rested. We grab a fast coffee and went to Camden Town – where the hipsters shop.

I couldn’t help but check out what everyone was wearing.

Suddenly I was more intrigued by the people than the buildings. They were far more interesting.

We made our way down to the fancy part of the city Jermyn Street and had high tea! It was great drinking our lovely drinks and talking about life, love and God. We encouraged one another and shared what God was doing in both of our lives. Sam and I went to Bible College together in 2006 and both studied TV and Media. We laughed and talked about how the next time we see each other both of us would probably be married with children.

As we made our way to meet up with another college friend, we stop by an alley full of great bookshops. When I saw my college friend Sarah, I was over joyed. I felt like we were in Sydney. I never got a chance to really hear her story because we were so busy with college life so it was great to sit down and finally get to know each other.

Day 6:

My last full day in London. We took it easy and visited the beautiful London Observatory. The large green lawn was so beautiful, taking a photo didn’t do it justice.You could see the full city from the top view. It was relaxing to watch the city stand still.

When we were waiting for the subway we were told that our train would be delay since someone was on the train tracks. I guess its a common thing for people to kill themselves by jumping in front of a train.

I couldn’t help but wonder who it was and why did they want to end it. This is such a great place to live, but I guess even in the greatest city in the world, we can feel lonely. We took a taxi instead.

At Soho there were record stores on every corner, cafe’s, and vintage stores. This city was made for me!

Day 7: Airport – Home.

I used every hour and minute to listen to see what this adventure was saying to me. Sam is working at a five star hotel, living in London, Sarah is working hard at her job and volunteering at church, the people I sat and talked with are in the middle of pursuing their dreams. It made me realized that no one has it all figured out. In this season of mine where I am taking a step of faith, traveling and spending time with people. I realized how blessed I am to do this.

While in the hotel we watched, “Dan in Real Life” and the ending line of the movie sum it up for me, “Don’t plan life, plan to be surprise.”

A List of my Favorite Things

Favorite Song: Fade Into You – Mazzy Star

Guy Friend: Daniel, my neighborhood, 1990

Type of Drink: Chai Tea

Time of Day: Sunset

City: Sydney, Australia

Bookstore: The Devonport Vintage Bookshop, New Zealand

Coffee Shop: Bauhaus Books and Coffee, Pine Street, Seattle

Fav Lens: 85mm

Movie: Splender in the Grass

Fav Movie Scene: Classroom

All time Album: Parachutes – Coldplay 2000

Fav Non-Date: Ridding bikes at night in Newport, Ca

My favorite Aussie: Nick Khoo

Book: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Message: “Your rejection is your direction” by Paul Scanion

Fav Photo shoot set: Miranda

Fav. Pastors: Pastors Jim & Deborah Cobrae

Holiday: 4th of July  (United States Independence Day)

Fav music friend: Jonathon, 2009

Fav Cousin: Sonia, 1995

Fav Photo: My parents, 1976

Place to eat in LA: Molly’s Charbroiler,  Vine St. (Closed down), 2011

Holiday Trip: Puerto Rico, 2009

My favorite blog post: “Monday”

Soundtrack: Friday Night Lights Movie Soundtrack

T.V. Show: The Wonder Years

Best Friend: Veronica, 1999

Fav. Date: “New Years Bash”, 2011

Traveling Friend: Anabel, Empire State Building, 2010

Thrift Store: Redlands Thrift, Alabama St. Redlands, Ca

Conversation: Mark Larratt, “The appearances of happiness”  

Sister Trio: The Jimenez Girls

Time to go to church: Sunday evenings

Social Network: Twitter

Podcast: Back to Work

Favorite type of Journal: The Composition

Text message: Dad, “I forgot to tell you, I love you and you make me a proud dad, and I’m proud of all your achievements you made in your life. ” 9.08.11 9:48am

And those are a few of my favorite things.. 🙂

 

 

 

The Door

An exit, an entrance.

One major reason I enjoy traveling so much is because my ears, eyes and heart are open. The first few days in Seattle, I felt like I couldn’t see what this city was trying to tell me.  Though my purpose for this trip was to be a student at a workshop, I knew I was in this city for deeper reason. As I walked downtown I was looking at the buildings, the strangers walking the streets but still it wasn’t saying anything to me.

A Door: Any gateway marking an entrance or exit from one place or state to another.

One of my random goals has been to enjoy a cup of coffee in Seattle. I thought I accomplished this on the first day but it wasnt until I shared one with others did I get the full experience.

The first cup was with Jenny. She lives in Vancouver but is from Ireland. She was the first person I met from the workshop.  After the class, we went to a corner cafe and talked about film making and life back at home. I told her she needs to make a film cause I know I would like her style. She joked and said she would make 200 days of Autumn for me. I laughed and told her how I really want her too.

The second was with Corey and his friends. We drove away from downtown and ended up at this cool place where the streets were full of fixie bikes and young people with laptops.  We enjoyed our drinks and talked about Seattle’s love for coffee.

The last was with an unexpected person. Just a few hours before he was a complete stranger. We sat and talked about family and shared our life stories.We walked around Capital Hill and ate burgers from Dickie.

As I was getting my stuff ready to go to the airport, I realized the city had spoken to me after all. I was looking for the door alone, but I needed others to be a part of opening it. The people I met brought the city to life and gave me confidence to exit the door of fear and enter with courage.

Now I see that Seattle was preparing me for Vancouver next year. If I could meet amazing new people in a few days imagine a year in a new city. I have nothing to fear and everything to hope for.

What I’m listening too..

You’re Almost There

There was this song I fall in love with a while back. My friend and I would share it with each other at the end of the night. It’s called “Goodnight” by Jeremy Larson.

Today someone responded to a comment I had left on the youtube video. I was surprise at my statement.

I wrote:

I love hearing “you’re almost there”.. I just wish I knew where I was going.

I wrote that seven months ago. To think, seven months ago I had no idea where I was going. Now I am certain of the destination for the next few years of my life.

I haven’t heard this song in months, and the past few days this “lost” feeling has haunted me. Randomly, when I am watching a movie I get the thought, “So you’re really going to leave your family and live alone in a strange city?” I begin to think of all the questions I’ve been asked the past few weeks.

How? Why? Where? When?

To all those questions I want to say ,”I don’t know.” To be honest moving far away may fail but it would be a bigger failure if I didn’t even try. I know Vancouver may be a strange city now, but when I am there I know it will become home. There is a big question mark in that city, and the adventure is finding out what the answer is.

Hearing this song tonight was perfect. I needed to hear it

Remember, you’re almost there.

“…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” Romans 8:24

Travel: San Francisco Video

Last May some friends and I went up north for a short holiday trip in San Francisco. It was the most random trip but we had so much fun. I even got to hang out with some friends I had met on twitter and youtube. Lucky Cory & Justin were harmless. By the end of the trip Justin and Cory because our BFFs.

I remember I had just gotten my canon 7D, I really didnt know how to use the video part, so watching the footage made me smile at how much I’ve improved. It took me forever to get around and put this video together. I couldn’t seem to find the right song. For someone reason, “In my Life” by the Beatles worked our perfectly. Here is our adventure. You can also check out some photography shots I took there. San Francisco.

Journey to Salvation Mountain

Niland, California // 200 miles from LA.

Being a city girl I was amazed at how many stars I could see at the Mecca camping ground. As I set up my tripod to take some photos of the sky, I snap my first photo and laughed as it was just a black screen with one white dot on it. My friend then helped me figure out night settings.

That night my friend and I went to check out the Salton Sea. When we pointed the flash light to the ground to watch our step, we found that we were surrounded by hundreds of dead fish. The next morning we went out and snapped some photos. The smell was so strong that when we returned to our camping ground we had to blow our nose in order to get the smell of dead fish out.

Niland is this small old town, it almost a ghost town. We followed the google map directions which lead us to a dirt road. When I saw the painted mountain in the distance it felt pretty surreal.

Right away we were welcomed by Leonard, the creator of Salvation Mountain. He began to tell us the story behind the mountain. You can check out my film shots Road Trip to Salvation Mountain (35mmFilm) and some more writings about the place.

I loved when he told us the story of the blue birds, he was so passionate about it. He explained that he spent years on creating a tree but only a few minutes on the blue birds. The birds were see on “Into the Wild” and are now world famous.

Its a beautiful and inspiring place to visit.

An older couple in Santa Monica told us we had to go and see Joshua Tree.  But before, we stop in the middle of no where and played with our echos.

The drive through Joshua Tree was long but was worth it. I never knew the desert could be so beautiful.

The warm sun and the cool air made us both so sleepy, and since I am a great friend, I drove home. Sal snapped a few photos of Palm Springs.

Camping was really fun, I highly recommend it.

Mr. Kite travels the World

She places her purse on top of  her suitcase and sticks her red kite in the front pocket. The 27 year old girl gets in to line to check in. As she stands there she wonders what the wind will be like across the earth. “Is that a kite?” an older man ask her. She smiles and says, “Yes, I fly it around the world.”

“Hi, I’m Monica, where are you from?” The tattoo guy smiled back at her and said, “Puerto Rico.” She imagined blue skies, palm tress and beautiful sun sets. “Wow, one day I’ll go visit you and fly a kite.” He looked at her strangely not knowing if she were serious. “Sure”, he said with a big smile.

Puerto Rico, 2009

Bondi Beach, Australia 2009

A white car drove up with her two house mates and guy friend packed ready to take her to the airport. The young girl knew it was time for her to go, although her heart was torn in to pieces. She hugged her friend good bye and told him, “I’ll be back soon.” He gave her a half smile and sent her off. She got inside the car and said hello to everyone. Each person inside the car had become such great friends. Inside, there was silent. What was there to say to each other, all of them had been though so much that year and a half. Her good friend Annette turn on her Michael Buble Cd, “I’m coming back home.” At this point in Monica’s life, she didn’t’ know where home was anymore. “Ill come back and visit, I love Australia.”

“Everything looks blurry” Angelene said with the vintage camera up to her face. “Do you wear glasses?” Monica asked.

“Yes.” They both laughed as Angelene went to put her glasses on. “Now its better,” she said.

Auckland, New Zealand 2009

“So, I’m coming down for a visit, will you hang out with me?” she asked her Australian friend. “I finally have some money, maybe I’ll go to New Zealand and fly Mr. Kite, that would be so cool.” She went on facebook to track down her New Zealand friend that she met in college. She read some of his post and got very excited, as he was returning home around the same time. She messaged him and asked if he was going to be in town. “Wow, I’ll get to visit your family and see what the real Sam is like.”

(Special guest: Sam)

San Francisco, Ca 2010

“Hey, wanna go to San Francisco this three day weekend?” She asked her co-worker.  “Sure, drive?” Christina asked as she checked her twitter on her phone. The question had to be answered fast before her co-worker was discouraged with this obstacle, “Mmm, Let me ask James, he has a good traveling car!”

Central Park, NY 2010

“Lets go to New York.” Anabel declared to the world!

It’s easier to believe that Mr. Kite can fly anywhere in the world than it is for me to believe in one of my dreams. I often think of the money that would be required…but not Mr. Kite. He just worries about the wind.

Its all about baby steps.. if you keep on working towards the goal, one day, you will get there.

Mr. Kite is a great witness to that truth.

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San Francisco

San Francisco is a city that inspires creativity and individuality. I decided to take a small road trip up north to practice some photography. I knew there would be a million things to take photos of, and I was right. It’s such a great place to take photos of people as well as landscape.

You can click on any one of the images and see more from this set on Flickr.com/monicabriano