Nostalgia in the North

Late last month, I headed north for the San Francisco marathon (my 9th marathon and 2nd on the list for the CA Dreamin’ series).  The drive is long and tiring; about 6-7 hours total which leaves room for a lot of thought while staring at nothing but rolling hills and smelling the various dairies you pass by.

I’m no stranger to the north. I grew up a farmer’s daughter in the central valley and spent time in the North Bay at our family restaurant. The drive was familiar, comforting, and brought a lot about myself to the surface. I have found a home for myself in south Orange County but I escaped the past to find my identity, think outside of the realm of what my parents  have thought me, and see if I could survive. I have lived 10+ years with only a gentle hand or a word of advice over the phone and I consider that admirable; however now as I struggle and fall victim to the economy, I wonder if all that will be enough.

After escaping the long drive through the central valley and finally arriving at my destination, I was at peace. I’m grateful to  have spent so much time in all aspects of California; I can instantly call any corner my home.  The winding roads, the countryside, and the laid back life style of the north bring a smile to my face. It’s cozy here. You don’t have the hustle and bustle of the 405, the gangs and graffiti of LA, and people aren’t running around glued to their phone. Considering this is the mecca and hub of technology, I was surprised that more of that activity wasn’t going on. I felt like a stranger (an invader) while on my phone checking in becoming the mayor on Foursquare, the Queen of the North Bay on Yelp, and an ambassador of multiple societies on Whrrl.

For most of the trip, I kept losing signal. Apparently AT&T doesn’t service the north and I missed viable opportunities to share tidbits about my trip on Twitter or Facebook but I noticed they were always in scenic areas, along a coast line, or on top of hill with a clear view of the night sky and all its stars. Meaning? I should get off my phone and pay attention? Smell the roses? Enjoy my vacation? Toss the phone and forget about it? I wish I could have but any smart phone owner knows it’s a blessing and a curse.

If anything I was left grappling with a crucial question: should I move up here or stay in OC? Both are appealing, both hold different meanings, and one decision can change everything.  So how does one decide?



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