I went to California. I had a friend from Montreal who'd been living and working in San Diego for a couple of years, so I took a week off at the end of the summer to visit him.
He lived in a quirky neighborhood called Pacific Beach. I spent the week exploring the ocean side between Pacific Beach and La Jolla. I didn't see much else of the city, I didn't go to the Hotel del Coronado or any other big San Diego sights. I drank homemade margaritas and bought coffee from a small kiosk by the pier in the morning. I went to Trader Joe's for the first time. My last night in Pacific Beach I was sitting on the beach with my friend and a group of people from his church. Across from me was Dave, a 60-something San Diego native wearing an over-sized wool parka. He was looking out at the sun set over the ocean and said, "Darn, we missed it." I was confused. Then he proceeded to tell me about this thing called the "green spark", also known as the green flash. Apparently sometimes right after sunset or even before the sunrise, a green spot becomes visible above the sun for no more than a few seconds. He claimed to have seen it a few times. "It's really magical when you finally get to see it," Dave said. Then he took a deep breath of the cool, fresh ocean air and looked around at the scene surrounding him. I'd never seen or met anyone so content. It was as if he was experiencing the California-beach-thing for the first time. It was me who was the newcomer, but I didn't have half the spirit he had.
Like every other place I've left, it took all my energy to get myself on the plane, back to my boring life. If I wasn't in the middle of my undergrad at Concordia I could have justified staying. That's not true. There's always excuses to go back to where you live, even excuses to never leave your hometown. They're all baloney. People do what they want. I guess I wanted back to my boring life.
Almost ten years later (almost!) and I've taken many flights since then (not as many as I'd hoped) and gone a few different places (definitely not as many as I'd hoped), but I haven't seen the green spark in person.
Maybe when I'm 40.
I just discovered that one of my favourite travel ladies, Laurie Gough, finally spotted her much sought after Southern Cross, so there's hope for my Green Spark yet.
Song of the Day? No other than an Elton John classic.