Monday, June 02, 2014

L.A. Story

More of a love letter really.

Do you know those places that are so strikingly beautiful that you are instantly captivated?  The kind of place that grabs you as soon as you lay eyes on it and that breaks your heart into tiny pieces when you think about leaving it?  For me those places are Kona, Switzerland, Provence, San Francisco, Teton National Park, the mountains near my home, Ireland, London, Paris, etc.  Los Angeles was NOT one of those places for me.

I think it may stem back to a horrible first impression on a family road trip when I was young.  I won't go into all the gory details but it involved my family (2 adults, 7 kids including me) in a station wagon driving to Southern California, while me and 2 of my sisters had some kind of horrible stomach virus.  It was one of those vacations that set the gold standard for painful family vacations, the Griswalds have nothing on us, Hickman family vacations are a major reason why I have traveled alone for most of my adult life.  But subsequent trips back to lalaland hadn't really improved upon my initial impression and I was one of those people who always said "I hate L.A.", even though I had a lot of friends from the area.

It wasn't until my little sister and her husband moved to Torrance and I started visiting regularly that Los Angeles began to grow on me.  What changed?  My perspective and my attitude.  Remember that old saying "Love the one you're with"?  Here in Logan I heard so much complaining, and I was (and am) guilty of it, "there's nothing to do" "this town sucks" "I hate it here", and so I started to champion loving Logan because why would you want to live someplace you hated?  That led to me wanting to seek out something to love in every city or country I found myself in.

Some towns surprise you by creeping up on your heart, usually through the people that inhabit it.  For me, that city is Los Angeles.  Seeing a place through the eyes of people who have chosen to make it their home, and to experience the things they love about it, really makes a lasting impression.  You just have to open up and choose to seek out the good.  I've found that if you walk away from a person, place, or experience with only hate and misery, it's usually your fault.  It is only a bad experience if you choose to perceive it as such.  Choose to see the good, choose to enjoy the small quiet moments, choose to seek out new experiences and points of view.

When I changed my attitude I changed the way I traveled.  Now it is rare that encounter a place that I haven't found some sort of purity, truth, beauty, wonder, peace, or love in.  Even those places that I initially loathed, I found something to love, whether it was people, sights, or experiences.  Last weekend I had an opportunity to take Monday and Tuesday off of work and make it a 4 day weekend.  I thought about going to Jackson Hole with a friend, but those plans fell through, then my friends in L.A. volunteered their guest room and sSo this is the photo story of my recent trip to Los Angeles, my love letter to the city of angels.

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all my friends and acquaintances who provided rooms, hospitality, food, rides, invitations, music, lessons, tours, conversations, companionship, and kindness to me on this trip.  Time with friends is one of the best therapies there is.  You all made my trip a wonderful experience, thank you.

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