I just returned from one of my favorite places on Earth. Encinitas, California. It's about half an hour north of downtown San Diego, and is a wonderful little beach town with lots of great surf breaks, vegetarian restaurants, tropical flowers, and friendly people.
In addition to it being a wonderful/beautiful place, some of my closest friends live there. I went to spend the week with my dear friend Karissa, and we spent it taking long beach walks, catching the sunsets, swimming in the waves, and shopping for lovely beachy gifts for friends and family.
I also got to see Piper, one of the best friends I've ever had, who I met in college but hadn't seen in years.
I lived in Encinitas for three years, from 2002-2005. I learned to surf there, and spent some of the best times of my life there. I left because there were some deaths in my family, and I wanted to be closer to the people I had left. I still miss it there, and I still miss my friends there dearly.
Watching the pelicans swoop overhead, hearing the "whoosh" of their wings as they flew by, seeing the sun melt into the sea, breathing the salty air, watching sailboats float by, watching surfers catch waves & kids building sandcastles, diving waves in the ocean, & getting covered in seaweed - these small moments are so rich for me. They are the kinds of moments I live for. As with my time in Hawaii, I left a little bit of me there when I left. But I also brought those places with me, & these places are in my heart forever.