Wednesday, 23 August 2017

ROAD TRIP - California Route 1

It's safe to generalise and say the average Jamaican person does not go camping. I always associate camping with middle class white people who live such a nice comfy existence that they can enjoy paying real life money to sleep outside in a forrest, because it's just such a crazy novelty experience. 

So like I said already - Jamaican people don't go camping. Why pay money to sleep literally outside? Why go on holiday and sit by a fire in the dirt? Why are you telling me there might be bears and snakes out here? So many questions my brain just can not answer.

When my oldest bestie suggested a road trip along the West Coast of the USA I was like YESSSS, but then she said the C word (camping, get your mind out the gutter) I was like WHHYYYY. Cold, dirt, nature elements...animals... so much yikes.

But 2017 is all about the YESSSS so I said f**k it and booked my flights. JFK to SF, then LAX to JFK. 

My ever-prepared bestie provided an epic and comprehensive packing list from a flashlight to lip balm, and we were all set to borrow her aunts car for the journey. 

The total route was approx. 900 miles, spread over 3 days with three lovely ladies sharing driving duties of maximum 2.5 hours of driving each. 

Day 1 

I landed in SF and spent the night at my besties aunts' house and her aunts' beautiful 2 year old daughter (literal angel baby). Her aunt took us on a adventure around SF - first stop was toddler ballet class! This was the cutest and noisiest experience of my summer (side note, the absolute best form of birth control is hanging out with large group of other peoples' children) 
Then our motley crew drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to the beach, and had fish and chips on the sand. We then went to Muir Woods National Monument to see the Redwood trees and Giant Sequoias - these trees are the largest and oldest living things on the planet. Some Redwoods are up to 2000 years old - this means they are the same age as Jesus!

Day 2

The journey began: SF to Big Sur along the world famous Route 1 Highway. California is always experiencing some really crazy weather-related issue, this year most of Highway Route 1 has been closed due to crazy land slides and a bridge that collapsed. 

We hiked to the beach and had some lunch before going to the Campsite.

The tent was easy to build and we bought firewood from the camp grounds. Guys it was not scary or hard at all! The camp site had really clean toilets with toilet paper, clean showers, and taps for drinking water. Plus, we had our tent next to a glistening river bank for added beauty and nature times.  

We listened to music, drank wine, and made grilled cheese sandwiches on the fire. 

Day 3

Big Sur to LA. We imagined this drive would take about 6 hours, we were wrong... it took a million hours. We left at 8:30 am and arrived in LA at 6 pm. LA is notorious for the traffic and it's not an exaggeration.  

Our lunch stop was at the weird and wonderful Madonna Inn It was SO cool and definitely worth a quick visit if you're on the road. 
No camping this night (yay!) we stayed at the super cool boutique Ace Hotel in Downtown LA

It exactly what I needed after emerging from the forrest. After a hot shower and relaxing in our fluffy robes we got dressed up and explored the city. 

Day 4

Breakfast/lunch stop was at In N Out - a trendy Instagramable LA burger spot. This summer I have been trying to stick to a vegetarian based diet, but when in Rome Cali you just gotta do it!

Our destination was Joshua Tree National Park in the desert. We set up base camp and hiked the park grounds right before sunset. 

Star gazing in the desert is incredible, you can see the Milky Way. We laughed until we cried and made wishes on all the shooting stars. 

Day 5 - Final day

Joshua Tree National Park to Ace Hotel Palm Springs. After a hot shower and a nap in those perfect hotel beds we parted ways. Two of us driving back to LAX to get back to real life.

As I write this post from my office on the 32nd floor overlooking all of Manhattan and down into Brooklyn, real life still feels a bit like a fantasy.

A Cosmopolitan Jamaican girls guide to Camping Tips

  • Firewood is essential - sitting around a campfire with friends, drinking and listening to music is magical. Added bonus, it keeps you warm and you can use it to make food like a caveman.
  • Electronics - Bring wireless chargeable bluetooth speakers and make a cool playlist. Keep your phone charged when you're driving. Also, bring a little chargeable lamp along with your flashlight.
  • Cosmetics - If you are going to a drastic change of climate (like to a desert) bring lip balm and really good moisturiser. I can't stress this enough. My face is so dry and peeling like a snake, and its not from sunburn. Speaking of sunburn - be smart and wear SPF. Come on, we are grown.
  • Home Comforts - This might sound boujee but I don't care - if you're new to camping then maybe try camping one night staying in a hotel the next night. 
  • Google a comprehensive first-timers packing list and just take everything on the list. 
  • Bring plenty clean socks because it's dusty out there :) Also, bring flip flops/sliders.
  • Go with the flow - it's impossible to stick to a strict schedule. There's traffic, or you lose a tail light on the car etc. Just roll with it, chill out and take it as it comes. New life motto, anyone? 
  • Have fun! And let me know if you've been to any of these spots!

Road Trip Fantasy Outfits

San Francisco 

Big Sur

Los Angeles 

Joshua Tree 

Thursday, 8 June 2017


City of Lights Vibes.

So I've arrived! I'm here, in this big bad city... alone... kind of but not really 

To be honest, I am totally overwhelmed, excited, exhausted, almost broke and sometimes filled with intense homesickness - you know the feeling? You know it, man... those "What the fuck am I doing?!" moments.

I am officially the insane 20-something who quit a perfectly good job, left her amazing boyfriend in her well-designed flat to go live in an Airbnb with a total stranger and dog in Brooklyn. Breathe deep. Don't have a panic attack. Breathe.

Still trying to figure everything out. Still

But life is all about learning, growing, adapting to changes and making it all work for you. 

First thing to know about NYC is that everyone is either painfully cool/stylish, beautiful or recently had a mental breakdown. The lifestyle is so fast paced and everything is expensive. You can't leave your house without dropping at least $50. 

London underground trains aka "The Tube/The Underground" are a very polite space. People respect the rules that blast over the intercom in that posh lady accent. They stand on the right and walk on the left. They wait for fellow Londoners to exit the carriage before entering. They avoid eye contact like the plague. 

NYC is SO friendly and talkative. American people will speak to you in the streets/train/queue like you're an old friend. Honestly, my first day here this really nice lady struck up conversation with me about my height and the height of my parents and siblings - so many questions and jokes, we were chatting for so long I missed my stop and had to take 2 trains to find my way again. Rookie error.

Corner shops aka "Bodegas" in NYC do not sell alcohol. They sell salads, sandwiches and useless fattening snacks. Everyone in America says liquor not alcohol, and to buy liquor one has to find specific liquor-only stores. Its not that hard, but I was just surprised by this because England and Jamaica don't work this way. 

The bus system is intimidating and I still haven't even tried it yet. 

A lot of grown ass people in NYC play games on their phones on loud on public transport. Very annoying. 

But at least consistency lies in the fact that no matter where you go in the world when you open your phone on the front camera when you're lying in bed it is one of the most humbling experiences. 

She's a badass explorer

Just bouncing along folks... we will see what the next few months have in store for me.

Please leave any tips and tricks for NYC in the comments below! 

x o x o