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Santa Barbara Travel Blog

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All this talk about how long I’ve been here has got me thinking about how living out here doesn’t seem like a vacation anymore… Its almost become home. Well, a home away from home, anyway. A month and a half in, and I’m finally learning the ins and outs of my (new) life. Here’s a little summary of some of the more important lessons I’ve learned…

Which floor boards squeak… My house is… old, to say the least. I try to be quiet in the mornings, because I am awake hours before anyone in my house would ever dream about getting up, and I feel bad about that (Let’s be honest, more for myself than for anyone else…) But the old wood floor is practically ready to collapse through into the basement, so it can be difficult at times. But, I’ve worked out a system to get from my room to the front door without making a peep (take a BIG step over the door frame, walk against the wall until the third shelf, then hop to the middle of the room and take two steps to the door - bingo! No squeaks, and everyone sleeps soundly!)

Skateboarding is much more difficult than it looks, yet still an essential skill to learn. The same goes for skimboarding.

Walking shoes are key! …So far, I have worn out two pairs of flip flops. Doing without a car for two months has done a number on me… I have revised all my conceptions of how far is “far”. Walking two miles to the grocery store is no longer an obscene thought. And even more surprising, neither is carrying 6 bags of groceries back home.

When figuring out how to get from place to place, realize that there is no possible way to avoid massive hills. Get used to it.

While walking, do not be concerned about the fact that the walking man on the sign only sticks around for 5 seconds… barely enough time for you to even realize that the sign changed. When the flashing red hand appears, you really still have 16 seconds to cross the street. Live life on the edge, and dart out into that street!

Late night visits to the beach for star gazing are always a good idea. But as always, use the buddy system :)

The walk to work takes exactly 24 minutes. A vitally important piece of information, especially when tempted to hit the snooze button again.

Shopping on State Street may look like it would be a great experience, but don’t do it. Trust me. The stores here are not meant for the girl living on an internship salary. They are designed for the Oprahs and Will Farrells (who I saw going for a run the other day, by the way) that make their home here in Santa Barbara. Entering these stores will only incite deep depression, after you see all the cute things that you couldn’t possibly afford unless you gave up buying food for a week (a thought that has, actually, crossed my mind). The only store here that is college-budget-friendly is the Goodwill. And maybe the 70% off rack at Macy’s, if you’re lucky.

Want a good burger and fries? Go to The Habit. I highly recommend the BBQ Bacon Char. Sure, Fatburger might taste a little better, but it also costs twice as much. You gotta pick your battles.

Before putting down your beach towel, pay careful attention to the flow of traffic. Unless you want a face full of sand every time someone goes flip-flopping by, lay far away from walkways of any sort. Also avoid those old guys that fly their huge kites on the beach… they don’t mess around.

Morning Glory Music sells used CDs for two dollars. A dream come true.

You may be tempted to take the Santa Barbara Electric Trolley to get from Point A to Point B. After all, it only costs 25 cents! But don’t be fooled. After you factor in all the excited tourists jumping on and off at every single stop (even though each stop is literally 40 feet from the next), combined with the fact that not one single one of them understands where to drop their quarter in the machine, a trip that otherwise may have taken 5 minutes will take at least 25 minutes. Not to mention that because of the massive number of beach bags on board that are large enough to fit small children, you will be forced to stand up the whole time. Guaranteed. Might as well get some exercise and walk it out!

“Business casual” attire in California includes tank tops and open-toed shoes. a.k.a. California is Heaven.

The best way to approach a swim in the ocean is to start on shore and just keep running toward the water until you’re hair is wet. Soon you’ll be frozen enough to not realize that you’re getting hypothermia. Trust me, tip-toeing in just doesn’t work when the water is 60 degrees (on a warm day).

Overcome any fear of dogs, because they are everywhere. Better yet, buy your own, so you fit in with the crowd. In Santa Barbara, the dog is treated like a fellow human… allowed into restaurants and other places of business without a second thought. Even social events revolve around dogs (take for example, the Santa Barbara run where people competed in a race with their dogs in tow, or the Santa Barbara Dog Parade that was, much to my surprise, more than 8 blocks long.) Long story short, get ready to be sniffed at least 10 times a day.

Palm trees may look beautiful, but they are vicious. Their fronds are heavy, and they frequently wither, die, and fall off. Considering most of the palms around here are at least 30 feet tall, you’ll be sorry if you get hit. (Note that I speak from experience.)

And of course, always reduce, reuse, and recycle!! …What did you expect? I’m an environmentalist now :)

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