A Personal Story Part II
Part I of my road trip piece in the November Clairemont Times, I introduced myself and explained why I chose to travel to San Diego from Boston. I also described a few places where I felt that “culture shock” sensation of “I can’t believe I am here.”
In this piece, I want to reflect on the idea of “finding yourself.”
This term was thrown my way with a sarcastic tone anytime I told someone that I was planning a cross country road trip to San Diego.
“You mean you spent $200,000 on a college education to go to the west coast to find yourself???”
Well, not exactly.
You could say I heard this comment quite a bit from family, friends, neighbors, even random people at graduation parties who love sharing their opinion. It is your classic east coast comment that is a little bit harsh, kind of funny, with a mix of truth (I miss that east coast humor already).
However, before I heard this phrase in relation to my west coast adventure, it was also often used by one of my friends in college, Mike “Ipp” Ippolito.
If Ipp was having one of those groggy mornings, he would often say that he needs time in his bedroom to “find himself” before he starts the day.
Although we always heard him say it, we never actually thought about what the term meant. One day, one of our friends asked Ipp to explain what he meant by the term “find yourself.”
Surprisingly, Ipp actually provided a clear explanation. To “find yourself”, he explained, means that you are in one state, but you really want to be in a different one. Therefore, “finding yourself” is taking the first step to ultimately reach that desired state.
Now, you may want to take this explanation with a grain of salt, as he is only a 22-year-old college guy and not exactly a philosopher. But after thinking about Ipp’s definition of “finding yourself”, I decided it was actually a good explanation of the term.
Let’s say you want to obtain a peaceful state of mind. How do you achieve that? Maybe you go outside and find a nice spot by the water with a view of a sunset. Maybe you do Yoga, play basketball or play the guitar.
How one “finds oneself” depends entirely on the individual.
The reality is that I discovered amazing places on my trip to San Diego, where I could self-reflect and where anyone could find themselves. I will describe some of the best places I found along the way.
Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park is an extraordinary place with rocks in the shapes of arches.
The most popular of the arches is Delicate Arch. In this photo, my friend and I hiked past Delicate Arch and climbed up to a peak across from it. This gave us an amazing view above and across from Delicate Arch, and it was away from the many tourists taking pictures at the landmark.
It is a prime “find yourself” destination.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon is absolutely spectacular, especially at Sunrise. In the photo below, we watched the sun slowly rise above the different colored canyons and green forests for an unbelievable view.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Looking down into the Grand Canyon is an amazing site. Even after a month of traveling from city to city and national park to national park, the sunset at the Grand Canyon was by far the most astonishing thing I have ever seen.
Not a bad way to finish a road trip.
The best way I could describe San Diego to Ipp is that it is filled with places where you can “find yourself.”
Whether it is biking along the boardwalk from the beach to the bay while the sun is setting, hanging out at Kate Sessions Park, or simply relaxing in the sun by Mission Bay, the spots in San Diego to find oneself are endless.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (Emerald Lake)
This would have surely been on the list if it was not for that cold Colorado weather. With the mountains reflecting off the clear lake, this place has all of the qualities to be a great “find yourself” destination (as long as you are not freezing).
Zion National Park, Utah
The insane mountain views make this place an immediate “find yourself” spot. However, the big drop offs, steep cliffs, and tricky hikes make it most exhilarating and exciting.