Life in L.A. and the road here

Two and-a-half weeks ago, John and I left our homes near Baltimore. Now, we’ve been in L.A. for a week and a day. It was as easy and as hard as that.

We got off to a rocky start here in L.A. We showed up to our hostess’ house where we’re crashing, tired and grateful, on a Thursday night. Before bed, we spent a couple solid hours scouring Craigslist and Padmapper and Zillow and all the other housing sites lining up appointments to view apartments the next day. I woke up bright and early Friday to find John’s iPhone in a pool of air freshener oil. The screen was an ominous cloud of grey that was quickly spreading. An unexpected expense. Which was kind of my fault.

Pressing on (scented phone in tow), we made our way to an auto shop because of the funny way John’s car was acting after the long haul cross-country. He was driving and answered a phone call from home. Seconds later, a cop pulled us over. Unexpected expense number two, and a lesson learned: Don’t mess around in this town.

One new phone and a court date later, we were already weary on our first full day, but we kept moving. The search for an address still continues today after a couple of heartbreaks over lost apartments. Another thing I’ve learned? Though the “for rent” signs are everywhere, it’s really hard to land an apartment in this town. I’m keeping the faith, though, because I know what a huge weight off our shoulders it’ll be once this stage of the game is over.

As for the rest of our trip here since Memphis, we couldn’t have had a better time. Though it seems like ages ago now, our stops in Santa Fe, Sedona, Mt. Zion and Vegas were a total adventure and the trip of a lifetime. Some of the highlights:

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The farther you travel and the more strangers you meet on the road, the more you realize just how small of a world it is. People know you’re not from around here (wherever “here” is on any given day) and so they ask you where you’re visiting from. You say Baltimore, and they’re either from the area or know someone who is. (One old man in Nashville asking for money on the street had a “cousin” who was a Ravens player.)

The strangest case of serendipity was when we stopped in the beautiful Sedona for two nights, and the couple who owned the immaculate Sedona Motel also previously owned the building where Baltimore’s former Urbanite magazine—where I worked briefly—was housed. And the woman taught at the same college that John did. Sedona was a much-needed retreat from the other questionable motels we stopped in. We soaked up the healing properties of the vortexes, snuck into parks to avoid fees, and caught the most amazing panoramic views from the top of a canyon. (Nearby, a young guy walked around holding his baby nephew and a beer, loudly confessing his sins and teetering dangerously close to the edge of the cliff. It’s hard to escape tourists when you’re a tourist.)

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Before we left for Mt. Zion National Park in Utah, we stopped off at an overlook for one last mental picture of Sedona. A woman walked by our car, looked at the license plate and said, “You sure are a long way from home.” She was right. We really were.

One wild coyote, a couple cockroaches, and lots of lizards later, we were on the road again.

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The trip was actually even more beautiful than expected. Though driving did wear us out, it hardly ever bored us. The southern route was the way to go. The hardest part about the trip wasn’t my frequent saltwater syringe rinses (a fun, post-wisdom teeth removal ritual), but feeling the need (and failing) to stay in constant blogger/photographer mode, capturing every single beautiful view. Once I stopped being so hard on myself about it and realizing, duh, that the point of this trip was to experience it, I was able to soak it up and truly be in the moment.

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And now, we’re on West Coast time. Still searching. A bit exhausted. But still hopeful. It’s not the picture-perfect experience you dream of, nor the lesser version of that I’d hoped for, but it’s a new chapter and we’re embracing it. L.A., we’re here to stay.

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Comments

  1. Wow, those are some great shots! Looks like you got to enjoy lots of beautiful scenery. Good luck with apartment hunting!

  2. I loved reading this, Cassie. Your road trip sounds great and I’m not surprised that Sedona was a highlight! And as for the other stuff, I hope things look up soon! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear more!

  3. Glad you are there and safe and happy!!

  4. Glad you guys made it safely. Really enjoyed seeing all of the pictures from the road. Some really nice shots. Good luck in your new chapter and also in finding your new apartment.

  5. You can doooo eeeeet! It’ll all work out. Keep me updated, and seriously, let me know if you need anything, even if it’s just a drink after a long day of apartment hunting. Did you get that one place you were talking about? Was that yesterday and you were going to find out today? I can’t remember.

    • You are lovely. And we’re about due for another drink! Obviously by my most recent post we got a place, but not that one. The landlord changed her mind. In retrospect, I’m really glad she’s not my landlord.

  6. Love all the photos Cassie. I would love to take a road trip west one day.
    As far as the apartment hunting goes, I completely sympathize. Finding an apartment can be a pain in the ass but trust that all the no’s you’re getting now are because there’s a hell yes waiting around the corner that will make it all worth it.

  7. Oh, it all looks amazing. I totally get how stressful the whole apartment hunt thing is – I needed to find a place before I left Montreal for the summer and I got it sorted out literally two days before I left, after ~6 weeks of searching. Everything will work out, though, and you will truly be living your dream.

  8. these photos are so beautiful. Adjusting to a new city is insanely stressful, apartment hunting is even worse, and LA is crazy, but each day is another day closer to a settled life. Just think of it like that 🙂

    Congrats on the big move!!!

  9. I’m sure you’ll find the apartment you’re looking for. House/apartment hunting anywhere is hard as hell (we recently dealt with that, too), but staying picky and not grabbing the first place that is available is so worth it. And THANK YOU for taking these pictures. The southwest is so beautiful and the canyons! Ugh. I wanna go so bad. Taking a road trip like this is one of my dreams.

  10. Congratulations on making it all the way across the country! You put it just the right way…”It was as easy and as hard as that.” Isn’t that true about so many things in life?

    • No kidding! I was amazed at just how easy it was to get across the country. It was all the packing, goodbyes, and uncertainty that made it so damn hard.

  11. Oh, those cliffs and canyons are breathtaking. Taking a cross-country road trip is on my bucket list, and I’m most eager to visit the deserts and canyons of the west. Good luck in your new adventure! I’m sure you have plenty to look forward to. 🙂

  12. That’s the possible next move for Trent and myself in 2015, and it seriously can’t come fast enough! Next time we’re out there (possibly at the end of Sept) we should try and get together for some coffee! Would love to finally meet you in person! Congrats on your move and new chapter – can’t wait to follow along and hear all about it. xo

  13. i always have the same problem.. i need to keep reminding myself to put down the camera and just enjoy.

  14. Oh my. I thoroughly enjoyed this! So so much.

    Two years ago, my husband and I made a very similar move. Memphis to Sacramento, CA! What a journey, I tell you… definitely the most memorable road trip of our lives. Lots of things went wrong, obviously, when you’re traveling over 2,000 miles… but, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

    I just read your previous entry about Tennessee and loved it! Since, it’s all about my home. 🙂 Definitely makes you realize how small this world really is! Yet, so exciting at the same time.

    I’m bookmarking you, girl. I can’t wait to read all about your life here in California! I LOVE Los Angeles and visit it every chance I get! 🙂

  15. glad you made it! welcome to LA! I live here too. the transition is hard, and apartments are kinda a nightmare. have you had any luck?

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