Oh Ventura, how you captured and stole my heart so fast I will never know. But.. What I will say, is that I’m forever grateful you did.
It’s funny how some places hold a never-ending grip on you. As if you’ve belonged to this place all along. Like you’re back, like you’ve never left. Yet you’ve never even been before. You ask yourself how is that? How is it that you feel a sense of home in a place that has never even been remotely close to a home for you. I certainly believe that there are towns and cities and suburbs that are meant for us, that call to us, whether that calling is intended for us to stay or just to visit. Ventura, for me, is just that. However, it is not a place I intend only on visiting. I will come back, always.
“Some people say home is where you come from. But I think it’s a place you need to find, like it’s scattered and you pick pieces of it up along the way.” – Unknown
NYE was right around the corner and everyone was excitedly planning where and what they were going to do for New Years. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of it, I actually quite hate NYE – It’s beyond overrated in my book. Especially in a small town. And since I’m being honest, the best NYE I’ve ever had (aside from this one) actually was about four years ago with my mom – we rented a movie, grabbed some of our favorite chips from the grocery store and poured ourselves some tequila that my mom had just brought back from Mexico. So as you can see I like my New Years to be pretty low key. (Yes, 80 year old over here.)
Anyway, I asked Chance if he would want to go camping in Ventura instead and that was that. You see, it’s really not hard at all to convince Chance to go camping. In fact, I’m pretty sure as long as I mention the word camping he will say yes. HAHA.
We had no camping reservations and being that it fell on the weekend I wasn’t even sure that the campsites would be open let alone have a vacancy. We decided to go for it anyway. We drove straight to Emma Wood and started scouting for spots. The first campground we turned into had three empty spaces – SCORE. We pitched our tent, paid for two nights and that was the start of a new found love for coastal camping.
Being that we went to bed at like nine o’ clock new years night we were up and moving by like six a.m. BUT.. hungover we were not !
Hurriedly, we grabbed our shoes and headed straight to the beach to catch the sunrise. (I’d pick 6 AM wake up calls on the beach over 3 AM drunken nights any day.) Chance was off grabbing his surfboard and wetsuit as I sat patiently on the stairs soaking it all in.
Shortly after, a grungy, surfer-looking man around my dads age and his daughter came strolling up the steps. We said good morning to one another. The little girl, about eleven, sat right on the stairs next to me with her Starbucks in hand and started doing the exact same thing I was doing – starring in amazement at the ocean and all its wonderfully glory as the sun was rising on the water and the waves were crashing so gracefully against the rocks. I admired the young girl in that moment, she reminded me of myself. So shy yet so curious. I was the same way at eleven, I knew at a very young age how deep my love for the sea was about to go.
“She liked the sea. She liked the sharp salty smell of the air, and the vastness of the horizons bounded only by a vault of azure sky above.
It made her feel small,
but free as well. – George R. R Martin”
I was holding a random surf book in my hand that Chance had found at the drinking fountain.. HA. The dad instantly started talking to me about it. He went on to recommend a book for Chance and I to read.. In Search of Captain Zero, by Allan Weisbecker – A book about a man who goes on a two year trip in search of his long-lost surfing buddy. The dad told stories about growing up in his era, moving to Ventura when he was eighteen, when the surf scene was not at all what it is today. You see, what he didn’t know was how obsessed with his era and those times I am. I sat there admiringly, listening as he told story after story while his daughter bounced around on the stairs and Chance surfed out in the distance. He and his daughter will never know how much they truly made my new years morning. They were the first people I engaged with in 2017. Nowadays, it seems like pulling teeth to get people to engage with one another. Everyone is too busy on their phones or engaged in their own world to notice, let alone talk to the strangers standing next to them.
To me, that was a perfect morning, a perfect way to start 2017. No phones, no distractions, just good people on the beach enjoying a New Years sunrise.
“One day I’ll move away to somewhere beautiful. No Instagram or iPhones. Just real life. Just family and friends, creating memories and love.” – Unknown