The last time I had been to California was in 2006, going to San Francisco with my family to visit my dad's college best friend/roommate. Because of college, busy schedules, and then work, my family never got a chance to head back out to California together.
As of 2015, I have been to California three times on three separate business trips. I was tasked to work as the corporate trainer for one of my company's accounts, an engagement ring company based out of California, with locations spanning across the West Coast.
Traveling for work is fun when you're with someone, and luckily for two of the California trips, my coworkers accompanied me, and since she had this account for over ten years, she knew all the places to go for once our work was completed. For each trip, we stationed ourselves in Huntington Beach, which was the most centralized location to be able to travel all over the LA area in one hour (without traffic...which obviously never happened).
Like I said, traveling for work when you're with someone is fun, however that was not always the case, as I spent days in Arizona alone, as well as separate trips to Texas completely by myself, and on weekends, since that was the only time that I could train the entire staff. It gets lonely eating by yourself, moving from hotel to hotel, and being cut off from everything going on back at home.
When I found out I'd need to make another return trip to California, this time without my colleague, I decided that Anthony should tag along with me. Not only would that allow me to use the HOV lane on LA's many freeways, but it would give me company, and give Ant a chance to get out to the West Coast, where he'd never been (with most expenses paid by my company, since they had to already pay for my hotel, rental car, meals, plane ticket). We booked with no problem, luckily got seats on the same plane (next to each other - not always that simple), and Ubered to California at 5:30 a.m.
Ready to go - Ant's first trip to the West Coast, and longest flight ever.
Again, Huntington Beach was the destination to get settled in. We arrived to LAX on a beautiful cloudy day, and just as we got to the rental car place, it began to downpour. This required a two hour wait at the rental place, which thankfully still put us on the 405 by 2:30 PM, with time to beat traffic (though rain in LA caused some slight traffic issues - which Ant was BAFFLED by, even working in NYC).
We checked into our hotel, the Shorebreak by Kimpton, my favorite place to stay in HB. At this point, it was pouring and we were absolutely starving, so we headed to Sancho's Tacos which is right off the PCH, and within walking distance to our hotel. This was my go to for other trips, and I still think the tacos are the best I've ever had. Plus the inside is really cool, so it makes for a great first stop.
Somehow when booking a room, I lucked upon selecting one that delivered two local HB beers to our room. They were both DELICIOUS, and it was such a cute treat, and is another reason why I love the Kimpton so much. If you've never stayed in one, they're all boutique hotels, and no two are the same. Each one has decor tailored to that specific region - so since Huntington is so surf focused, the entire hotel has a surf theme, with gorgeous black and white photos of surfers and waves, boards everywhere, and rooms with showers big enough to fit a surfboard. Such a cool place to stay, and so tailored to the area, which gives it a great vibe.
After eating and settling into the hotel, we looked outside and saw that the rain had let up, so we decided to venture out and walk the pier that Ant had heard me talk so much about (and go on Insta overload with).
After watching the surfers and hanging out at the pier, we realized that the sun was here to stay. Ant wanted to head back to the hotel to grab his Nikon, and I couldn't be happier that we did the back and forth, since this was waiting for us as soon as we arrived back at the pier:
We spent the rest of the night at the pier, and down by the beach, with Ant snapping away and both of us taking in the California sun.
I take this shot in some form on everything single HB trip, this one being no exception.
I think we ended up going to bed by 7:45 PM local time, as the long day of travel was absolutely exhausting, but I was so happy that we got to see more of Huntington than just the hotel.