I cannot recall the exact year that I had last visited one of the world´s most beautiful places, but it surely must have lied somewhere in my childhood. Long enough ago to freshen up those teenage memories with a road trip down the one-of-a-kind Highway No 1, aka Pacific Coast Highway.
A recent layover in San Francisco formed the ideal starting point for my day excursion down the coast. Since the weather forecast was superlative and I had not planned anything else, I could not think of a better moment to go. And with an amazing deal I scored with Sixt rent-a-car down at Fishermans Wharf, there lied nothing in between me, Mother Nature and the Pacific Ocean.
So after a short breakfast and my morning Venti Latte, I found myself singing along to the music library on my phone heading South on the 101.
Naturally, you can already drive the 1 beginning right at the Golden Gate Bridge, but as I tried to cut the travel time a little bit (it´s around 3 1/2 hours from Frisco to Big Sur one way), I rushed down Highway 101 past the airport and Stanford University.
Close to San Jose it was time to change onto the 85 and then some time afterwards onto the 17. The route passes the beautiful Lexington Hills and a few National Forests which keeps you entertained while driving.
Then, finally after about 1 1/2 hours, I reached the 1 close to Santa Cruz. While the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most picturesque scenic drives in the world, it does not really get exciting before you reach the cities of Monterey or Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both are gorgeous coastal cities with beautiful beaches and lookouts, the latter hosting the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you´re looking to stroll with the upper 10,000, you might enjoy to promenade Carmel´s shopping avenue. But I have no time for any of this today though. I am longing for the Pacific Ocean. I want to stand next to it. I want to breathe it. Feel the power. So I continue driving.
And then, a little over two hours after I had left Fog City, there it lies in all its beauty to my feet. Majestic. Powerful. Endless.
I have always tried to explain to myself, why I have this close connection to the sea. I was never able to find an answer to it though. But does it matter in the end? Probably not. What matters is that we are able to identifiy what makes us happy. And being close to Mother Nature and all of her amazing beauty is something that makes me halt my breath.
So while I stand there at Bixby Bridge, looking down on the raging waves and trying to comprehend who I am and what I am doing in this world of ours, I forget for one moment everthing that my mind considers to be a problem in my life. Moments like this make me understand that nothing else but life matters. And that our duty is to preserve this. For the future, for us, for humanity.
On my way to Big Sur, I stop many more times. There are only a few people with me on the road, so I can enjoy these moments without feeling rushed or stressed. I don´t know how you feel about this, but driving on the 1 gives me a feeling of infinite freedom. It helps me understand how precious freedom is. Freedom to travel. Freedom to think. Freedom to be yourself.
And I am thankful for it! Every single second of my life.
So after a healthy and nutritious meal on the beautiful terrace of the Big Sur Lodge I slowly drive back up North. With a few more scenic stops and many, many deep inhales of the fresh air that leaves the salty taste of the Pacific Ocean on my tongue, I reach San Francisco at darkness.
And the moment I lay down to get some rest after this activating and mind-brightening day, there is one song that comes up before I close my eyes.
I have been kissed. Kissed by Nature. Will you?
Safe travels, folks…