When I was last in San Francisco in 2010, I most definitely left my heart there. Coming back 9 years later I feel like I have re-claimed it again.
San Francisco is ALWAYS going to be a place filled with emotion for me, it is the city where my brother lived, loved and lost his life. However I was determined this was not going a sad visit and although there were a few moments where I felt quite overwhelmed, each day was filled with joy and I loved watching my own little boy fall in love with the bay area as he walked in his Uncle’s footsteps. As I watched him I couldn’t help but wonder where his own journey will one day lead him in adult life?
For me however, whilst our time in San Francisco wasn’t the end of our travels it did feel like the end of a journey; a journey where I had been lost for a very long time. Only now have I realised that not only have I circumnavigated the globe to get to this destination but I have circumnavigated life!!!
From the many challenges which seemed to be thrown at me one after another, it finally now feels like life has said ” well done, you have passed all the nasty tasks we set for you you – now go collect your reward”. After swimming against the tide for so long and sometimes feeling that I was being submerged by the waves, the tide has finally turned. I don’t know where it is yet to take me, but what I do know is that the journey is far from over, so for now I will sit back and flow wherever the tide of life is destined to carry me.
Last time I was in San Francisco I was blessed to share the experience with very dear friends who were also kind enough to drive us out and about. This trip there was no luxury of someone to drive us and whilst there is a fantastic transport network available, I walked…a lot.
I noticed things which I didn’t notice before in the car, the details of the architecture, the hidden views of the bay between the blocks of houses:
As I walked I listened, I talked to people, both locals and tourists, several travellers asked me to take their photographs and then engaged me in conversation. We met some lovely people at the hotel and swapped stories of our adventures and travels. I spoke to people from all over the world who for various reasons had all ended up in this one incredible city. I took time to consciously breathe and to take in the smells – the perfume of the roses in one street was truly heavenly and not what I would have expected from just walking through a busy residential area.
San Francisco will never be a city which you can appreciate from just seeing photos. You have to experience its soul; the people, the atmosphere, the colour, the sounds, the smells and so much more. Let it speak to you, get inside you, ignite all of your senses and question the very essence of who you are.
This was far more of a journey for me than simply one in the geographical sense, every step I took through its streets were energising, cathartic & healing.
I am so blessed that I got to go to San Francisco; not once, but twice in my life and I am grateful that I got to visit there both when I was lost, and again when I was found.