Written by Jiarui Ye
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a resident of Southern California, I am quite familiar with the feeling of the sun beaming against my back, the sound of crashing waves, and the smell sea air. The clear oceans bring serenity and peace to even the most boisterous of characters. Big Sur has long been known as a romantic tourist destination where millions flock every year. With uniquely-placed boutique hotels and lush forest greenery, it is the crown jewel for residents who are looking for a calming getaway. The symbolic view of Big Sur is the McWay Falls; just around the bend off the 1 freeway. The sweeping tones of blue and green are majestic, if not iconic. Getting to the incredible landscape will not be an easy journey, 287 miles stood before me and McWay Falls.
I first start off at the PCC campus and head onto the 101, heading west towards the Californian shore. 103 miles later, I am shifted into the natural scenery of oceans and beaches and as I turn onto the 101, I am reminded why I love these drives. The next 56 miles of the 101 freeway is the commitment of me and the ocean.
In the middle of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, I park on the side of the road, ready to hike the short walk for the waterfall views. Trailing along the rickety wooden steps, I am suddenly reminded of the novel, "Daring to Dream" by Nora Roberts, and the homey feeling that Margo, the protagonist of the book, feels when she smells wet algae and salt; the reminder of her home in Big Sur. Even though Margo has strayed far away from her family and ventured out to Europe to chase her dreams, she returns. Margo is welcomed as a member of the family and sister to young Laura and Josh Templeton, as well as orphaned cousin Kate, who grows up with them in the lap of luxury. The feeling Margo experiences, heading to a place of sanctuary, is nostalgic of how I felt in that exact moment. Big Sur’s fleeting population of incoming and outgoing visitors makes dreams come true.
Despite the beautiful scenery, I could not help but think of hitting rock bottom. As I stared down a daunting cliff, I realized that when you fall, there is no other way but up. Margo’s journey represented that for me. Margo has dream of becoming a lush model, but soon saw those dream dash and divide in front of her. She had hit her rock bottom and as she rushes home, the trials and tribulations of her life flash before her. She realized that there are different type of goals in her life, different types of success. Modeling wasn't her only way forward and with this she rebuilds herself up from the bottom.
Growth and acceptance equate to finding your serenity. Big Sur is not only a place where people come for weekend getaways or romantic mountain moments. Its legacy is in the generations of people- including myself- who come to laugh, to love, to cry, to heal, to find themselves again.
Not ready to say goodbye? Come back next week and see where Jiarui takes us next in the last blog of this special 5-part travel blog series!
Jiarui Ye is a student at Pasadena City College majoring in business and finance, with a flare for travel writing.
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