Big Sur, California
Big Sur is incredible. The drive. The views. The ocean. The redwoods. There’s something about being in nature that just settles you, and Big Sur provided numerous opportunities for reflection.
But loneliness wasn’t going to be a problem either. The campgrounds were full, and the easier trails were packed with people. Slow people. In fact, a little more solitude might have been preferred. Two of the three nights my campground was literally surrounded by a large Boy Scout outing. Thirty screaming ten-year old boys can drive a person to drink. Luckily I made friends with two guys from LA who were camping nearby, and we sipped wine by the fire to dull the chaos.
Of all the things I did during my sabbatical, perhaps the most empowering was camping on my own. I have been camping lots of times, but I’ve never had to totally fend for myself. I knew I could set up my tent. I was less confident about cooking my own food and building my own fire. I had seen it done, so why not try it? To my surprise it all went off without a hitch. One of the great things about trying something new is that you sometimes learn that you’re more capable than you thought you were. (Not true when it comes to me and surfing.)
And I was feeling like a bad ass until I passed a blind guy hiking with his wife. Now that’s a bad ass!