Wednesday. June 14, 2017. Denver.
I am currently sitting in the Denver airport, anxiously awaiting breakfast. Although my alarm (well my mom’s, because I make her wake me up when she’s at my house) was set for 3am, I woke up at 12:30 after less than 3 hours of sleep. Joy. Of course, as you can imagine if you know me, I was unable to sleep on the 2+ hour flight here. So here I am drinking a mug of coffee as fast as Sherry can fill it up. Sherry is the elderly waitress who has apparently mastered the art of working in the airport, as she had my bill and to-go coffee (additional to my mug of course) at my table before my food was even done. Thinking about all the people Sherry must interact with on a daily basis intrigues me, and makes me a little bit jealous. I absolutely adore the vibe of an airport.
Even today; I am alone, exhausted, and have several hours to waste with only my phone and this journal. And yet, I still love it. I am a nosy person and I want to know everyone’s story. Where are they going? Where have they been? Why? Who is waiting for them? etc. etc. etc.
And then of course, there is my own adventure that this marks the beginning of. I have been awaiting this day for months. I have been accumulating gear since the end of last year. REI has become my mom and I’s most frequent store to visit, and the employees have become like friends. I have spent hours on pinterest looking up anything and everything about San Francisco, Yosemite, and backpacking in general. I have become a huge fan of books and movies about others’ adventures, especially because they give me ideas for my future ambitions.
So obviously today is a big day. It is the day I will arrive in San Francisco where I will spend two nights before taking a train to Merced Friday night. Then I will pick up my permit in Yosemite Saturday morning! (Side note: if you want to learn how to travel from SF to Yosemite using only public transportation, contact me).
Today specifically, I need to stop by REI to pick up the gear I could not fly with- matches and fuel. Then I think I will explore the Mission District; supposedly the burritos are a must and the artwork is vibrant & beautiful. I do not have a set schedule for my days in the city, which is weird for me but a testimony to how I am changing as a person. I am content to just explore and see what I can see, no reason to stress about the details. My only rule/plan, is to enjoy it fully. I am not going to focus on price or calories or others. Just enjoying this experience independently and openly.
PS 3 cups of coffee down
Wednesday. June 14, 2017. San Francisco.
Today has been incredibly long, but incredibly great. Nothing huge or life changing, but I am in a different city and exploring!
When I first left the airport, I looked incredibly lost trying to figure out the BART system (note: it’s actually easy, just nothing like Indy could even think of needing). Anyways, I met this 23 year old teacher, Laura, from Queens in NYC. We were so vastly different. It was interesting to hear about her not driving until this past year, various NYC issues in everyday life, and her plan to teach in a poor district here for a year as a service project. When I explained my trip, she made comments that she would love something like that, even though she knew nothing about it. Most comical to me, because she was dressed so nice with perfect make -up… But of course, I try to dress nice a lot too, so really I am just being judgey. So bad Tyler on that. Ultimately I want to encourage anyone and everyone to do whatever their hearts’ desire.
Anyways after that, I had a long walk to REI to be sure to get my fuel and matches for next week. The manager was so friendly, as in true REI fashion. I asked if they sol the “a woman belongs in the wild” pin so I could put it on my pack, and she gave me hers because they don’t. You can bet I will display that forever.
I then, still with my ~40# pack on my back, walked around the Mission District. Some parts were nice and artsy and some parts were like being in a Hispanic third world country. It was kinda dirty overall and overrun with homeless people (note: probably because SF is stupid expensive). I enjoyed it just the same though, I acted like a true tourist. Had I seen someone in Indy behaving like me, I would have laughed out loud no doubt. Without a companion, I had to take my own pictures. And of course the cheap remote for my phone I bought last week- broke. So for a bit I was using the camera timer and running back to pose. To make it worse though, I am so critical of pictures, I was doing it numerous times in a row. I eventually made it to Best Buy to buy a new remote, so Yosemite’s picture documentary won’t be as difficult to perfect.
I still needed to take a lot of pics in the Mission District though, because there truly are so many vibrant and/or meaningful murals hidden around the area. I fell in love with numerous of them. A tree of life, a sun, lilies, and some to complex (focusing primarily on social issues) to briefly summarize them. While in the mission still, I ate a traditional burrito as Tacqueria Cancun. I think there must be some around that are more distinctive as “mission-style” but it was good nonetheless. (I mean is a burrito ever bad?)
Finally then, I was able to make it to Union Square and check in at the bunkhouse. I rested briefly while texting my mom about the specific places I should eat at tomorrow. She is the best and researched brunch, sushi, and Italian. Tonight now that I am back, I actually wrote out a tentative plan for tomorrow, so I can be where I need to be to eat and to maximize what I can see of SF.
As tonight, I just kinda went with it. After probably 30 minutes of resting in my room, I decided I wanted to get ice cream. What a relief to walk in the city without my pack (Don’t worry, I still had tourist written on my head I am sure). I are a delicious ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies, oreos as a topping, and a vanilla fudgey ice cream. So Tyler. I then walked through the Washington Square park in North Beach, kept going to see and then walk up Lombardi Street. Which by the way, I cannot believe anyone voluntarily lives on it. I mean come on, getting to your driveway would be hell- especially being a one way, walking to your house up the giant hill would be hell, and the number of constant tourists would be hell. So like, why? I enjoyed it just enough that one time, and that was just for a picture. I do not need to go back.
I tried to walk a little further to get a good view of the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge, but I could not get one without going significantly further. I did at least get good views of the city and Alcatraz. Do not worry though, the Gold Gate Bridge is a must on my post-it note for tomorrow.
Oh yes, I also explored Chinatown and drank a boba tea tonight. Plus I captured a cool picture of a giant rainbow “love” sign. (SF is very pride friendly.)