Travel Reflections

It’s been almost a week since I landed in Los Angeles, and I’ve begun to realize a few things (in no particular order):

  1. Everything you’ve heard about LA is right.
  2. Everything you’ve heard about LA is wrong.
  3. LA is so huge, you will find places that match your preconceptions and other places that are wildly divergent from what you expected.
  4. LA is incredibly spread out. Public transportation times range from 45-90 minutes to get to places of interest in average traffic, about twice the time it takes in Chicago. The buses aren’t slow, LA is just huge.
  5. I do miss the L.
  6. People don’t like it when you make generalizations about their hometown.
  7. People love to make generalizations about other people’s hometowns.
  8. I should probably stop generalizing or buying into generalizations about places.
  9. I travel in order to eat at high rated Yelp restaurants. LA is good for this. It’s the only place I’ve been to where multiple restaurants have thousands of reviews. Bottega Louie has over 7,000 reviews, mostly positive.
  10. Mentions of the weather are far less common in LA than Chicago because it’s always spring-like. And it’s not constantly trying to murder you.
  11. In many ways, the places I go to end up reflecting me much more than they end up affecting me. Hence the perpetual eating, the programming, and the tricking. But mostly the eating.
  12. I love lists.

I’m still digesting my first week and I have a week yet to go, so I don’t know what else I’ll learn from LA. I have learned that two weeks is enough to get homesick, despite the massive thunder-snow-storms in Chicago, and yet not long enough to truly experience a place. Especially LA. My friend, Richard, has been living here for something like four years, and yet he still discovers new and interesting places in it fairly regularly.

I feel like “things” and “places” interest me far less, now. Spectacles are nice, but they don’t do much. I can’t play with spectacle. Perhaps places and things are less interesting because cities are much alike. Perhaps it’s because I’m not terribly invested in collecting material possessions. Clutter actually makes me anxious. But perhaps I don’t find things and places interesting because I’m just not observant enough, not keen enough to the beauty in the urban landscapes. Another reason to study photography – to find beauty in the ordinary.

Both views are probably legitimate. But I really prefer natural beauty, methinks.