I actually stayed at The Mile-High City more than I had planned, which was mainly because my Airbnb host, Cynthia, and I got along pretty well. She’s in her mid 50s and you know I have a knack for mature, wiser women. Then it was my time to leave again, to Los Angeles, California, which I hadn’t visited since 1997 when I went to UCLA.
To be honest, I wasn’t that excited to reach L.A. For the most part, it was because my last memories of there was from University times when all we cared about was partying and girls and blow and all that jazz. Now, I’m a different person and it’s obviously not what I’m looking for anymore. However, when I reached the Westside, and Venice Beach in particular, I got this eerily pleasant sensation that this is where I belong…among the artists and the crazies. The weekly Drum Circle also became my one and only outlet and I loved it.
During this time, I was still looking for places to rent and I was fixated on Venice. The main reason is that I chose to drop the car a few years ago, and the beach may be the only place one is able to move around using a bike. Seriously, if you’re anywhere else in the U.S and you don’t have a ride, you’re doomed; you truly feel stuck.
So one thing I did is that I told friends and acquaintances who live in L.A that I’m around, and some of them invited me over for several days. I was still looking for affordable places and it was convenient to be in the area as I keep on with my search.
One of those people was a nice guy whom I met through my ex-partner. He visited Toronto multiple times when we were there and we “took care” of him. When he heard I’m around, he kindly offered his couch for a couple of days. So I took my luggage and headed to his Santa Monica home. The place was cool and had a lovely roof. The guy even gave me his bike to go to the beach with.
Then on my last night there, we were chilling out when we decided to order pizza. He said he’ll call and proceeded to dial the number and give them his credit card details. At that exact time, I was checking my phone and sending a Whatsapp message to my mother in Egypt. All of a sudden, he got up, came towards me and looked at my phone, smilingly saying: Don’t tell me you’re writing down the info. I calmly replied ‘No’, and that I’m messaging my mother. We kind of both laughed it off, and ate the pizza later as if nothing happened.
This situation could have easily turned awkward. Someone else could have felt insulted or something. But as I pondered later, I realized that this is the price for being so out of your old element where everyone knew you or knew of you. I don’t blame the guy for suspecting that I would steal his credit card number, simply because these things do happen, especially in North America. I mean, he didn’t really know me, yet he invited me over to his place for a few days.
Now every time I replay what happened in my head I have to smile. For there is a certain exquisite freedom in being somewhere where no one knows you.
O’ the joy of being a wanderer.
Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.”
― Jarod Kintz
Hotel Living: Then and Now
Things I Couldn't Quite Understand After Being On The Road For Seven Months
A Year at the Venice Beach Drum Circle in Photos
Stop-n-Search That Hippy
The Bloke Who Thought I'm Too Much of an Alpha Male
The Girl Who Wouldn't Share Toilet Paper
The Night Visitor
Countering Gentrification — Eating Cheap and Healthy in Venice Beach [With a List of Places and Their Menus]