Dec10

Looking Back on my PCH Seekender Adventure

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Twenty sixteen, the year I crossed traveling across the Pacific Coast Highway on the back of a motorcycle with my best friend off my bucket list. As I mentioned in my last post: “Memories like these weren’t easily forgotten, they held too much weight, too much joy, too much power.”

From zipping across the Golden Gate Bridge and hugging trees bigger around than I am tall , to the breathtaking views of Monterey and Big Sur, to frolicking on a purple beach and spying the lights of the Santa Monica pier, it was a trip that lives on inside both he and me. Thanks, Hampton by Hilton, for the Seekender trip of a lifetime. And thank you for everything it begat.

I have a motto about traveling: Always leave one thing off your list, so it gives you a reason to go back. And that’s exactly what we did. We saw everything California had to offer—except the desert. Leaving it off would force us to go back. And this time around, we did it with the kiddos in tow. Because, if this trip taught me anything, it’s that there’s just too much beauty in California to not share. We wanted to open their eyes to all the things we saw. We wanted them to experience the sheer beauty of California. So we did. As we moved into warmer months, we packed up the kiddos and headed back to Cali—using Hampton By Hilton as a home away from home this time, as well.

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We showed them the cliffs, the waters, the pier. We shared all we had seen with them, so they, too, could experience the magic of our Seekender adventure. This time around we added in riding bicycles, paddling kayaks and walking on celebrities’ stars. And then we headed to Joshua Tree to see what the desert was all about. This time around, trading the motorcycle in for a Jeep. Even trading in our room one night for a tent smack in the middle of the desert—arriving back at our Hampton By Hilton the next day eager for the comfort of showers, mattresses and fresh waffles. Beneath the pitch black of the desert’s night sky, we watched stars shoot from one destination to another before burning up right before our very eyes. We watched the sun rise in the morning, painting the sky brilliant shades of blue and pink. We climbed rocks God himself stacked into the most beautiful of shapes. And then, we bathed in the cool waters of an oasis right in the heart of the desert.

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{Wearing: Alo Yoga c/o Bollare. Photographed by Jorge Camaraza.}

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Rock climbing was one thing I’d also added to my bucket list, since our trip across the PCH. Having never tried it before, even on artificial rocks, I had no idea what to expect. But once I was harnessed in and scaling the side of a rock as big as a skyscraper, I found a perfect balance of not only mental but physical strength to climb higher and higher. Being up that high, looking down, balancing on little more than a sliver of a rock’s jagged edge, I realized the adventure is always worth the trip. The trip is always worth the adventure. And the memories you make along the way last long after the suitcases are unpacked and put back into storage.

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{Both wearing: J.Jill. Photographed by Jorge Camaraza.}

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{What does it mean to be a Seekender? As an ambassador for Hampton by Hilton, I have the amazing job of finding adventures in and around its hotels during the course of a weekend getaway. Find out more here.}