California or Florida? In my opinion the two are not too far off from each other, or so I thought. I have walked the streets of Jacksonville Florida for more than 25 years now and have never crossed past Louisiana. Sad right? Thankfully an opportunity arose recently to travel “abroad” to San Diego.
We flew out of Orlando and had a non-stop, less than pleasant flight to LAX, where a friend of ours greeted us. The first night was a wash as we were tired and it was pretty late by the time we got to San Diego from L.A. After getting a good nights sleep we started the first full day in the great state of California with breakfast at a place called Snooze. This is where I first began drawing comparisons to the city I call home. Snooze was a hip and seemingly upscale diner in the middle of San Diego’s version of Riverside, a definite must visit. The food was spectacular and the quality trumped anything I have ever had in Jacksonville, even the great Metro Diner. The ingredients tasted fresh and the presentation made it clear there were culinary gods in the kitchen. I wish I had a photo of the lemon custard filled blueberry pancakes I ordered prior to me destroying them. Oh and the coffee, smooth and rich. It became clear to me only after eating lunch that day, there is no comparing California kitchens to those of Jacksonville. The rest of our trip was filled with other dining adventures that left nothing to be desired. In comparison to the East coast, the city that comes close is Savannah, not Jacksonville. I am actually sad to say that Jacksonville’s version of “upscale” doesn’t even come close to San Diego’s casual diners. So with food clearly going to the West coast, East coast has landscapes going for them right?
Wrong. I was awestruck at the amount of variations in the landscape that one city in California offered. There were rolling plains, stunning beaches, and mountains, all within city limits. Something the dirty beaches and flat roads of Jacksonville cannot compete with. The closest thing Jacksonville has to rolling hills is the Grove Park neighborhood. Man, at this point in the trip I really began to hate on Jacksonville. As a photographer I am looking around at all of the picture-perfect scenes and thinking to myself, this is why California photographers are so wildly successful!
Okay so we have assessed the fact that California offers both better views and better food. My final concern was that I would not be fond of the people in the state, really stupid I know. I drew conclusions based on what I have seen shared on Social Media, boy was I wrong. I absolutely love the people I interacted with in my time spent there. Overall people are laid back and cheery. Add ta that the fact that nearly everyone is super ambitious and you have the workings of a perfect society. I am sad to say that I cannot say the same for my hometown.
As I near graduation I am looking for employment in my field of marketing, my search now includes other markets outside of Jacksonville. And all thanks to my four day tri to San Diego. In the end of the day I will always be fond of my hometown because it is just that. But my eyes are now open to the West coast way of life. Now the question is, where else can I travel outside of my box?