Last minute trips are always exciting, but this one was different. Not because we were going to the beautiful Big Sur, but because this was the very first place I went when I got my first camera and have not been back since. So yeah, excitement would be an understatement! With our bags packed, car loaded, and smiles on our faces, we headed off on our 7 hour journey. Because we had nowhere to sleep that night, we decided to make a pit stop at my parent’s house to crash for a little before making the final 2 hour drive to Big Sur. Well… at least that’s how long we thought it would be.
After going the wrong direction for about 40 minutes and a few more wrong turns later, we made it to the start of Prewitt Ridge where we planned to stay. Unfortunately, we quickly figured out that our Ford Focus rental would not be able to make it so we were forced to turn back. The disappointment of this was followed by shock and frustration as Bry, being the amazing driver that she is (*cough), backed into a tree, leaving a pretty nice sized dent. To add even more to this already eventful morning, we turned out and went right instead of left, in search of Highway 1, which took us another 45 minutes out of the way. At this point we were almost out of gas and after we finally reached highway 1, we found that the closest gas station was another 30 minutes in the opposite direction we wanted to go, but had no choice. So, off we went. By this point, we wasted the entire day being idiots and almost ruined the trip, but as we drove down Highway 1 and got our first glimpse of those turquoise blue waters accompanied by the fresh coastal air whistling through our fingertips, we both turned to each other and smiled. Knowing that there was no way in hell we were going to let anything ruin this trip.
Our first stop was at Los Padres National Forest to shoot some of Bry’s new jewelry line that will be dropping in the near future so all you jewelry lovers keep an eye out! After that, we took in the views and shared great conversation about life over a glass of wine. By this time, the sun was getting ready to make its final decent, so we headed to McWay Falls to enjoy the show! Most of this area is still unfortunately blocked off due to the landslides back in 2017, but there are some areas open to the public that offer amazing views of the falls so it wasn’t the end of the world. The calming sound of waves crashing topped with the warm golden rays of sunshine hitting jusssst right, made for the perfect ending to day 1 of this adventure. We now have one final mission, find a place to sleep.
We stumbled upon a little hotel/bar where we shared beers and uncontrollable laughter until it was time for bed. Pulled out our sleeping bags for warmth, blankets to cover the car windows for privacy, and comfortably fell asleep until the morning. We were woken up to the sound of a clenched fist knocking on the window. It happened to be the general store clerk who was extremely nice and was letting us know we needed to get up because they were about to open so we happily did just that. After we were all situated, we strolled into the general store and purchased some hot tea and bagels to fuel us up for the exciting day ahead. Due to our hectic first day, we really just wanted to relax on the beach for a few hours and Big Sur is one of the best places to do that!
The weather was perfect with the sun out in full force quickly warming up the sand between our toes. The beach was a little crowded with tourists so naturally; we set off in the opposite direction where we could spend a few hours secluded from world. To our surprise, we discovered this amazing cave that we deemed ours for the next few hours to come. The light in this cave was absolutely amazing and acted as a natural studio so we whipped out the jewelry and a few different outfits and began shooting as much as possible because we didn’t know how long this would last!
When it was finally time to leave, we had to decide what we wanted to do next since we didn’t have any set plans, which in my opinion is the best way to do it! If you have been to Big Sur, then you know there are hundreds of lookout points all down Highway 1, so we basically just decided to drive and stop anywhere and everywhere along the way that looked worthwhile. Luckily, on this car ride, we made a pit stop because we saw something that looked like a pathway to a secluded section of beach so we grabbed a few essentials and headed off to explore! It looked a little sketchy to get down, but we were both confident we could do it and would kick ourselves in the ass if we didn’t at least try! One careful step after another with a few helping hands, we both made it down safely and were instantly overwhelmed with feelings of excitement! We laid out the blanket, cracked open a few beers, and turned on some good tunes to help settle in to our new temporary paradise. It soon came time for yet another amazing sunset and what better place to watch than the famous Bixby Bridge?!
We arrived a little early so we just sat around and people watched to kill some time. After a few minutes, I quickly realized that about 95% of the people there and that we encountered this entire trip were foreigners traveling the U.S and it had me thinking… We are at a place that people all over the world dream of going to one day and it’s a place so close to home. I had mixed feelings of extreme gratefulness because I am lucky enough to be able to see Big Sur so easily, but also feelings of disappointment in myself because I sometimes take a destination like Big Sur for granted when I shouldn’t. I then had the sad realization that so many Californians including some of my own friends and family will probably never experience some of these amazing locations that are conveniently placed in their very own backyard.
Anyways, with the sun slowly setting, I grabbed my camera bag and set off to find the best spot to shoot. I wish I had a little time to enjoy this sunset with my own eyes, but I had to shoot the jewelry as well as the new Lifeproof backpack that was just released on top of trying to get a few personal shots. With the short trip coming to an end, we were now back to square one with trying to find a place to sleep.
Now, we could have slept in the same tiny hotel parking lot, but we wanted to really step it up. So, we stopped at the Hyatt hotel that is already on our way back home to Long Beach, and picked out the perfect little parking spot to sleep. Before we went to bed though, we were feeling a little sore from all the hiking and decided it was absolutely necessary to hit the Jacuzzi; which was probably our best decision of the whole trip. In the morning, we needed some breakfast and thankfully, most hotels have complimentary breakfast so we went out to find it. After a few minutes of searching, we found it baby! And oh my, what a spread they had ready for us. No better feeling than a delicious breakfast free of charge, am I right?! Especially since whatever food is not eaten will be thrown away so in a way, we are actually doing them a favor! You’re welcome, Hyatt. Finally, it was time to head home.
With our hearts full and belly’s even fuller, we hopped in our severely dented Ford Focus rental car and headed back to Long Beach.