I am what many are lucky enough to refer to themselves as, a born & raised Californian. I grew up in the Bay Area before heading to Santa Barbara for College and now reside in Los Angeles. The longest I've been away from California was for 2 weeks when I was 10 and went England with my mother and grandma against my will (side note: it was a lovely trip that I've grown to appreciate more and more as time goes on). Up until recently my friends have pretty much always been in the same boat as me when it comes to our home state, and really the only friends of mine who have left on their own did so because of the college they attended (in states such as New York or Boston, which while drastically different each have their own appeal). But the more people I get to know in LA, the more times I find myself in the lesser median of which I grew up in California. I now have friends from places I would always get points taken off of for forgetting on my 50 States Quiz in 5th Grade (it's a miracle I graduated Elementary School). There are foods that I am just now hearing about such as Cheese Curds and Lobster Rolls. I actually know humans that have experienced a White Christmas at their own home (yes California can do that as well sometimes BUT STILL).
So now that I know people who have left their state for a new, I find myself asking "Would I ever leave California?"
The answer is probably not.
I seriously love California. There are so many amazing things about it that I am legitimately shocked to find out even our neighboring states don't have. Whether it be food, breathtaking views, or just basic necessities, California's got everything I need (well actually we're kinda lacking on the water department so help a sista out & don't buy water bottles from companies that use California based Springs okay?), so here are some of my favorite things about it, which who knows, might convince some of you to stop by, just please don't come to LA, traffic is so bad.
I was shocked when I found out other states don't get avocados. I only really realized the seriousness of it all when my friend who went to school in Boston told me she had to have her mother ship them out to her. Granted, after watching Jenna Marbles rant, I understand we take avocados a little to seriously in this region, but can you really blame us? They're delicious. I honestly wasn't even that huge of a fan of them until about 10 years ago or so. My parents had always tried to get me to each them on toast and I would always shake my head until one day I just craved it and I've never looked back. I've attended a Festival dedicated just to Avocados 4 years in a row and it was one of the highlights of my college experience. In California it is absurd to have to pay extra for Guac, but if you can't buy yourself an avocado from the market THEN YOU BEST BELIEVE I'LL PAY THAT DOLLAR 95 or whatever it is you're charging.
Yes, I know Florida has an entire world, but we've got the original, the one Walt himself brought his family to, so come at us. We've also got an entire second park dedicated to the great state that we live in. People fly out just for the experience so don't try to tell me that "Disneyland is overrated" because from the second you walk through the gates to the Happiest Place on Earth you are treated like the Prince or Princess (or whatever you want to be) that you are. Disneyland is special not only for its rides, but for the experience it provides. The Cast Members are truly there because they love it and want to make your day magical.
3. The Redwood Forest
This is another thing my parents, who are just so naturally outdoorsy, tried to force upon me at a young age and I naturally resented them for before realizing that it was actually super cool (a constant theme in my life). The forest I go to the most, is the one in Santa Cruz. Seeing a Redwood in person makes you realize why "Tree Huggers" exist. I hugged plenty, and I plan on hugging more.
Keeping with the tree theme, Yosemite National Park is one of the most breath taking views not only in California, or the US, or even North America, but in the world (I stand by this). I recently went back this past May, after not having been since my senior year of High School, and just felt so at peace for the entire trip. The Sequoias don't even seem real (they're also the best trees to hug, especially if you have enough people to fit around the entire tree). There's also Half Dome which is a reason in itself while California is epic. Also the hikes you get to go on, while extremely tough, each water break just leaves you in awe of your surroundings. The waterfalls, the critters, the shade provided by the nature, it makes me hate the fact that my go to hiking spot now is Runyon Canyon (I might still be adjusting to the SoCal life, but that's another story).
Speaking of NorCal, did you know that we have our own slang word, because until I was 17 I did not realize that the term "Hella" is one primarily used in Northern California. Especially because so many songwriters from outside of California use this word in their lyrics, its very confusing to me why so many people try to deny this word elsewhere.
6. The Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing you should know, in case you've never searched California on google, is that the Golden Gate Bridge is actually red. I apologize if the name is misleading and thus you're trip to San Francisco is disappointing. Also if you ever find yourself in San Fran you should treat yourself to our epic Calm Chowder. I personally prefer mine from Monterey after a trip to the Aquarium (which I realize is a very tragic thing to do, but its a tradition with my family). Also fun fact, the bridge is constantly being repainted to keep its vibrant color, so that's cool.
7. Outdoor Concert Venues
Okay so other states probably have these as well, but this is pretty much the norm for my concert going experiences. As a kid my hometown would host concerts in the park where you could bring your blanket and just sit down on the grass and listen to some tunes. So its pretty special to get to do this at venues like Shoreline and listen to some of my favorite artists. While not all of our arenas have lawn seating, by having them outdoors we don't have to miss a gorgeous sunset, which is pretty special. My favorite time being at the Santa Barbara Bowl and watching Hunter Hayes having to stop in between songs just to comment on how spectacular the view was. Also now that Levi's Stadium is in full swing we get to have epic fireworks during One Direction's opening number, and sometime's unplanned during the 1989 Tour due to Great America next door, but it's all good because TayTay was pretty stoked about it and was super cute to say "I didn't do that". Also while I haven't been to the Hollywood Bowl, it's on my bucket list so hopefully I'll get around to it in the near future.
8. Stanford University
This campus alone is a reason why Stanford is so important to California. Whenever I'm back in my hometown I make a point to explore it with my friends and we always agree upon the fact that we would not hate having to attend lectures if it meant getting to walk (or in the likelier case bike) by the gorgeous buildings each day. The grass field is also one of my favorite places to meet up with my friends for lunch and watch as nearby parties play a game of frisbee or volleyball. It's also home to the Rodin Sculpture Garden which is pretty special. Also I might be biased but our sports team are pretty darn cool.
Yes you can find these on both coasts but beach please (I had to, you know I had to), California beaches are in a category of their own and you're only lying to yourself if you think otherwise. Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Malibu, Santa Monica. We got them. Also we have Sand Crabs, which provide hours of entertainment when you've forgotten a shovel & pale for your sandcastle.
10. Pacific Coast Highway
How many highways are there that people actually enjoy driving on despite the fact that it takes you longer to get to your destination (seriously does anyone know because I did not research this). The most memorable time I drove down the PCH was when I was 12 with my aunt & cousin as part of our road trip to Disneyland. The most epic stop of course being Big Sur. Which as you probably know, Taylor Swift & Bestie Karlie Kloss went to together and bonded at so already I've provided you with plenty of reasons. But to summarize it up its a waterfall, that goes into the ocean. It's cool, okay?
11. In-N-Out Burger
Anyone who knows me knows why I've chosen to end this on the most ultimate high that is In-N-Out. I was raised on this stuff. Their burgers, their milkshakes, their fries (which yes are not McDonalds fries but they're not trying to be so get over it). Their slogan says it all "Quality You Can Taste". How many Fast Food joints have a line that can take up 40 minutes just for the drive-thru that people are willing to wait in. It is my go to spot after a concert. And if I want a hat and stickers, I'm going to ask for it, and no one judges me for doing so. It is the ultimate comfort food and despite the fact that the menu is so simple I constantly find myself debating what to get. Plus for all the vegetarians out their, they're super accommodating to making a delicious grilled cheese as part of their secret menu. Also on their secret menu? Animal Style Fries. Pro Tip: Dip your fries in your shake, perfect mix of salty & sweet. Lastly how many fast food stops are just so naturally photogenic. I mean the golden arrow with the Palm Trees in the back? Have Mercy.
This is true love.
So while I'd like to say I'm open to the idea of living somewhere besides California (cause you know us Californians, we try to be open to everything) the real question I should be asking myself is why would I want to leave. And honestly I can't think of a reason, because while other states and countries have their perks, I see those more as reasons to visit and explore. California is my home, and it has everything I need and more.
Originally Posted on October 21st 2015