Exactly one year ago, I was stepping into the streets of San Francisco for the 2013 Associated Collegiate Press Conference, where we took home two awards for our college newspaper, The Oakland Post. That trip was my first time out west, my first time in California and my first time traveling on my own (granted, I’d been up north in Michigan to band camp, but that doesn’t really count). Aside from learning a lot about journalism, I experienced a whole new way of life and learned about myself.
The day we arrived in San Fran was amazing, especially after the huge snowstorm we left behind in Michigan. When we walked out of the airport, we didn’t even need coats, which was kind of a big deal. It was actually warm– IN FEBRUARY. The next few days spent in Cali were filled with education and exploration, and I loved every minute of it.
The first day, we were all kind of jet lagged, and sleepy, so we walked around aimlessly, checking out the city. That night, we went to a pub and hung out, later returning home to get some sleep before the first day of conferences.
The next day, we went to a couple sessions at the Weston, then went back into the city. We went to the beach, and took trolley rides. As the week went on, this was our daily routine– learn a little, explore a little. I got to see places I thought I’d never see, like Haight and Ashbury, Chinatown, Ghiradelli Square (yay chocolate!), The Painted Ladies (yay Full House!) and Fisherman’s Wharf. And the fashion— the city was filled with phenomenal street style. The last place we went before coming home was the Golden Gate bridge, where I ate a chocolate bridge while driving over the bridge towards Sausalito. The bridge was amazing, and seeing it felt almost unreal. It was just one big adventure and for the last year, I couldn’t stop reminiscing about the beautiful city and how much I wanted to return (especially when I heard about the newest attraction, a kitten-filled tea house).
I will never forget that trip. It changed me, and fueled my need for travel, leaving me wanting more. But I know that going back to San Francisco would tarnish the picture-perfect memories I had from that trip. I’m sure it would be amazing, but I know it would not ever be the same as that first time I was “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Someday, I will return, but for now, I am planning my next adventure, where ever life may take me.