Last night it happened. For the first time this trip Alex and I talked about throwing in the towel. Off of a tough week of work, where long hours were made to feel even more extensive by the presence of two crying babies, the two of us hit a wall. The tension had been building and despite talking about what we needed to do to break it, we thought, for a few moments only, that it might be best to stop traveling and stay where we were.
Spurring this reaction was not just the day of traveling and Elias crying until 9pm, but that we had just pulled into San Luis Obispo, a town we unanimously agreed could be a contender for a new home. Surrounded by lush, green hills, this college town is minutes from the ocean. Small bungalows form blocks upon blocks of darling neighborhoods dotted with local groceries. A chic downtown manages to camouflage necessities like Rite Aid while providing a multitude of dining choices, bookstores and boutiques. Mature trees line the streets creating shade from the afternoon sun and cars drive slowly because it’s what you do in a town where people prefer to walk or ride their bike rather than drive.
There is good reason this town has the honor of being called one of the happiest places on earth. What’s funny is that yes, people here exude happiness. Everyone we see is walking around happy. We have seen a few group hugs, hand holding, a general pleasantry on each block. It is a happy vortex and we can’t help but think that it can’t be a bad place to put down roots. Why not just stay? It was a simple solution. In the joyful spirit of San Luis Obispo we can’t do it just because we had a tough week. Moreover, staying would be just as much a hassle as moving forward and we had just begun our journey up beautiful Big Sur and would soon be in the Bay Area to see friends and family. No, throwing in the towel and staying was not a real option.
Thank goodness for sweet days like today which help us to forget the difficult days behind us. Alex donned a sweatshirt and set up his office in the morning fog. With a warm coffee in hand he managed to work nearly ten successful hours without much interruption. I grabbed the kids and went to Avila beach, just a few miles south of San Luis Obispo.
Tucked in a small bay with hills set as a back drop this beach town seemed more like a movie set than anything else. Each inch was perfect. From the playground, to the sand to the two blocks of restaurants and shops that overlooked the pier, nothing was out of place. How could a little hamlet like this exist? How does it remain in such an ideal state? I treated Elias and myself to a scoop of ice cream. He made a smudge on the flawless landscape when he dropped his spoonfuls on the ground.
On the way home, down US-1, I made a quick stop at the Avila Valley Barn, a farm stand that conveyed the same eerie excellence of Avila Beach. With one barn dedicated to sweet treats and ice cream and a second carrying local produce and fresh baked goods, it was pretty much the most incredible place ever. I could have picked through the displays for a better portion of the afternoon, but I had a sleepy toddler in my arms so I quickly grabbed a bag of beans and carried on my way. Alex and I have already decided that we’re going back tomorrow prepared to come home with our arms full of goodies. I can’t wait!