I found my zen city. Or at least a zen part of a city.
Point Loma’s a tiny neighbourhood harboring the coast. It’s just a stone’s throw (okay more than that) away from the airport, just within one afternoon I’ve seen at least 5 planes taking off and close enough proximity to figure out that at least 3 of them were Virgin America (purple planes, lol).
After a good hour of walking around the area, I concluded I found my happy spot. Peaceful neighbourhood that gives you enough quiet moments to hear your thoughts aloud in your head. Yet not the spooky/dead-town kind of quietness that you would give you the immediate creeps. It’s almost like a huge beach resort area — shops and residential housing not running higher than 3 floors, moderate traffic, cool breezes and sunny (till the fog came in) skies.
People here feel down to earth and real. You don’t find anyone clad in dressy clothing or expensive accessories. You see parents walking down the sidewalks with their kids in tees and sporty shoes, youngsters biking down the street or taking their skateboards out for a spin. You see a father playing baseball with his teenage son at their front porch; you see schoolkids running across the street, laughing.
Despite being a small community, it’s pretty much self-contained. There’s a school, public library, convenience stores, dental clinics, places of worship, a post office (sent my Starbucks cups back!), and practically every other kind of amenity you’d ever need. And I thought there wouldn’t be much apart from a touristy sorta beach area and stores out there to rip you off. Seems like there’s not a lot of tourists but more residents and the local community people, which is really cool. Staying in downtown or touristy areas sometimes (most of the time, actually) don’t show you the true colours of a city or town area. More likely than not you’ll probably be greeted with a commercialized facade that’s there to tell you, oh this is how awesome our city is! Sure, most cities have their awesome bits, but you’ll never get the real stuff till you sink yourself into the local scene. I’m glad that I’m seeing some of it already.
Without the clutter of a bustling city, your thoughts can find so much more space. Need a reason to convince yourself to travel solo? Here’s one: no one’s next to you to distract you from yourself. I realize that I don’t pay attention to tonnes of details when I travel with others because as great a multi-tasker you may be, you can’t be focusing on a conversation and catching that scenic moment at the same time with equal intensity. Silence can be very deafening, but solitude can be very beautiful. We spend so much time and energy listening, talking and involving ourselves with others; we spend so little time listening to ourselves and our inner voice that’s been dying to speak. I think that listening to yourself is an important part of understanding who and what you are. Don’t neglect that.