Sunshine West Coast #3: No Plan is the Best Plan—My Weekend in San Diego

Stepping on the fallen leaves, I hear the sounds of crunching. With music playing in my headsets, my footsteps match the beats in the song… I enjoy walking, but since driving became my main method of commuting in LA, I miss the feeling of exploring the city on foot. However, with a car, my adventure map on the west coast is larger. As I become more adept at driving, I start to enjoy greater freedom with wheels. I’m frustrated by the terrible traffic in LA, but I am never disappointed by the destination.  

San Diego is my first destination outside of the town.

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A crystal wind chime rings in the breeze in front of a local store. In Seaport Village in San Diego, you will find many distinctive stores.

Before the trip, my roommate Carilina and I didn’t make a plan, as we wanted a very relaxed weekend without rushing for schedules. There are three routes to San Diego, but we decided to pick the farthest one in order to drive along the coast. It was noon on Friday. The glistening ocean along the I-5 highway reminded us to turn to travel mode and leave all the worries behind. 

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The lovely backyard of the house had a hammock!

After a three-hour drive, we arrived at the cute house we booked on Airbnb. It is a small house with only one bedroom, but it had everything we needed, including a lovely backyard and grill! I couldn’t wait for a BBQ night, so our first stop after check-in was the grocery store. Bacon, sausage, steaks, chicken wings, eggplant, chips, marshmallows, mozzarella and drinks… not only did I leave all my school work behind, but also my diet plan. It took us about half an hour to light up the grill, and some meat got burned, but none of this affected our lighthearted night. 

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We are actually bad at grilling. Our goal was to just make them edible.

Being in a seaside city, the beach is a must-go. La Jolla is a famous beach in San Diego, but it’s far from where we live. Thus, we went to Seaport Village, which is just a 20-minutes drive south of Downtown. 

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Seaport Village is like a small town that congregates food, shopping, sightseeing and water sports.

In addition to the beautiful coastline, we actually spent a lot of time exploring the various stores in the Seaport Village and wandering around the exotic blocks. Everything in San Diego feels slow and peaceful, as do the people. They sit by the café, sip their cappuccino and listen to the street artist strumming his guitar. Even seagulls slow their steps, enjoying the breeze of the sunny afternoon. 

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With such weather and view, even staying here and doing nothing is a pleasure. 

On a lawn, we found a stand with a henna artist. I had her paint several flying birds on my arm, which I think fits my outfit, as well as the feeling of leisure by the sea. 

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My first time getting henna, and it’s the only souvenir I brought home from San Diego. 

Recommended by the henna artist, Cat Café was our next stop. As the name says, it’s a special café with kittens. You can go inside, enjoy your coffee and play with cats. The fee is $8 for a free drink and interaction with the cats for half an hour. When we went inside, most of the cats were sleeping, but that didn’t stop us from sitting next to them, stroking their fur and wondering what they were dreaming about.

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“What’s up people?” A reluctant handshake.
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Laying on its feet, this kitty slept like a baby.

The Sunset Cliff was our last stop of the day. With no plan in mind, we went to the Sunset Cliff just because we spotted it on Google Maps and it happened to be 5 pm. Pretty casual, right? Nonetheless, this random decision surprised us with gorgeous scenery.

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This place is called Sunset Cliff, and it definitely deserves the name. 

The boundless coastline and cliff offers a perfect place to watch the sunset. The sea, cliffs, trees… everything was painted by a sparkling orange. A wedding was taking place on the cliff, with a simple wooden arch and an amazing sunset in the background. A couple brought chairs and carpets and sat by the cliff together to watch the sun go down, inch by inch. What a romantic place! 

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The henna on my arm is perfect for this scenery, and I like it so much!

Before going back home, we had a tour of UCSD with our friends who study there. Although it was Sunday, the campus was full of students. Seeing them either study in the library or hold boba milk tea while walking on the track made me start to miss Boston again. I miss the life of rushing between classrooms and staying up late in the library for endless finals and papers. I miss the campus, where I could always be inspired and educated, receive kindness and help, and enjoy the simplicity and warmth of people. 

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A falling house built on the top of the engineering college at UCSD. 

That was my weekend in San Diego: a trip without a plan. As an agenda-driven person, I found that sometimes, it’s good to take a breath from busy schedules and detailed plans. Just follow your heart, go whenever you want, stop wherever you love and let life surprise you.

Ziqi Yang, Study Abroad Correspondent

Ziqi Yang is a junior in the College of Communication at Boston University who is majoring in Film and TV, and Advertising. She is currently studying abroad in Los Angeles and has an internship at Done+Dusted. As a foodie, she loves exploring great foods as well as trying new recipes in her kitchen. Her favorite quote is “Photography is the beauty of life captured”, and through her photos and blogs, she would like to share those beautiful moments with you.

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