Looking back: my first year in L.A.

one year in L.A.

We woke up in the canyons of Utah, braved 115-degree dry heat in Vegas, and paid nearly five dollars a gallon for the last leg of the trip. It was a Thursday, and it was L.A. or bust.

John and I arrived in Los Angeles one year ago Friday. We’d been on the road for 10 days, driving through small towns, big cities and vast deserts. We saw a lot of incredible things, but the most vivid memory of all was when we crossed into L.A. County. The highway was wide, the mountains were high and the setting sun gave it all a dreamy, hazy glow. We had made it. This was “home.”

driving into L.A.

Adjusting to our new surroundings wasn’t easy. Within the first day, we had a stinky iPhone full of air freshener juice and a ticket for talking on said phone as welcoming souvenirs. Thankfully, we had a place to stay, but finding an apartment was frustrating and difficult. Our bank accounts took major blows, jobs were scarce and grad school was looming. It was a lot to deal with at once.

Santa Monica beachcity-smog-2 trails-2

The first year certainly hasn’t been easy, but it has been amazing. I’ve had the chance to meet some extraordinary people working as a journalist and have taken the time to explore the Golden State with short road trips and camping adventures. I’ve woken up in a tent on the beach to see seals frolicking in the ocean, I’ve interviewed rock stars and activists and politicians, I’ve made a ton of new friends at school and through the blogging community, and I’ve had my best friend and partner next to me every step of the way. Being on this adventure with John has made the difficult times easier to deal with and the celebratory times even sweeter.

kisses-2 venice-canals-2 hills

And what’s not to love about L.A.? You could look at the negatives, and a lot of people choose to. I’ve encountered many of them myself, but the good has far outweighed the bad. Los Angeles is such a diverse city, both culturally and geologically, and that has made for so many new-to-me experiences. I needed a culture shock. I needed to step out of my comfort zone. And I needed to live in a city full of opportunities to make me realize just how many are open to me if I go after them.


So thanks, Los Angeles, for giving me the biggest thrill of my life. Thanks for making me work for it and for letting me reap the rewards. Whether I stay another year, five years or a lifetime, I’ll always look back on the first 12 months as a game-changer.

Happy anniversary, Los Angeles.


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  1. Happy year in your new home 🙂 I can’t believe it’s been a year already, it feels like only a few months ago I was wishing your luck on your move. Here’s to many more happy years.

  2. Love this post — you’re such a talented writer, Cassie! Congrats on a year in LA!

  3. I looooooved reading this! I can’t believe it’s been a year already! But it’s been so great to watch you on your journey and I love that you are loving it!! 🙂

  4. Congratulations on a whole year of being here. You’re so brave for making the big move!

  5. Man, reading this makes me ten more times excited about my trip there this halloween! Hope to catch any go-tos from reading your blog before my trip!


  6. Shannon Butler says:

    LOVE this! It’s crazy how many unexpected challenges arise in those first few months in a new place; I take comfort in seeing how much good is buried beneath the crazy.

  7. So proud of + happy for you, lady. Congrats on knowing what you wanted and just GOING for it.

  8. Wow, happy one year anniversary! LA is definitely a diverse place with so much to see and do. Kudos to you for making life an adventure, it’s always inspiring to hear about people who make big changes in their lives, and who are able to see through the struggles that go along with those changes. Congrats!

  9. My first year of graduate school was in Omaha, Nebraska….slightly different scenery, but I can still relate to how quickly it seemed to fly by. In the midst of the most difficult semesters time seemed to drag, but looking back I can’t believe how quickly three years could pass me by. I hope you continue to soak it all in!


  10. Goodness, Cassie, a year – where did that time go?! Congratulations on making it through, and for focusing on the positives (because, as you said, it’s all too easy to do the opposite!). Thank you for sharing your highlights, and your beautiful photos (man, if I could, I’d fly over this minute!).

    Happy Anniversary, to the three of you!

  11. We moved just a few months apart (my one year in Reno is November 2), but we’ve had similar experiences. I am aiming to fill these next few months with even more experiences. Read: school will start and I will live in the library.

  12. Yay, happy One Year Angeles…versary? Time flies, man.

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