I was almost broke, badly heartbroken and ready for a chance. And I had a dream: I wanted to travel to the birthplace of skateboarding and meet other female skaters. I decided now or never and booked a flight to California.
November 12 I arrive at LAX and enter the state California. I brought a backpack, a skateboard and a handful of skateboarding dreams: How does it feel like to skate on the traces of the first skateboarders? Would I find other female skaters? Will the culture of skateboarding lead me to fun, adventures and freedom?
I’m walking through the sign VENICE and enter the beach. Am I in a movie? I have seen this view many times in the movies. The ocean, the sidewalk, the palm trees. And a lot of skateboarders.
Paradise of Skateboarding
I jump on my skateboard and become normal a part of the cityscape, like bicycles, like roller skaters. Even as a women I don’t feel noticed.
The time in the hostel is nearly over and I have to find another place to sleep. In The Berrics I met Danielle, a skateboard mom – as she call herself. She invits me to stay in her house. After a long bus ride through LA I fall asleep in the girls room among tons of teddy bears. The next morning I jump into the pool and then teach the girl how to skateboard. She’s extremely happy and so am I.
Ultimate freedom in my car
The reality of the ultimate freedom is that you have no security, but everything can happen. I spend two evenings in a cafe and both evenings I met a guy, who invited me to stay at their house. Each time I could rely on my good gut feeling.
While driving along the cost, stopping and taking photos, my thoughts wander around – I try to find an explanation for my strong feelings for this girl back in Berlin, but all I am looking at is a blind spot. I am here, I should be happy, but I’m just sad.
Sleeping in the Car
The sun is setting down and I have no place to sleep. I could only afford the cheapest hostel, but am afraid of bed bugs. I decide to sleep in my car. I drive my car to a parking area, where some young people drinking beers, sitting on their cars.
I’m ignoring them, pretend to be uninterested, but I’m just too shy to talk to them. It’s cold in the car, but I fall asleep. When I wake up, the parking area is empty. I don’t have a sleeping bag, so I tinker a blanket out of newspaper and Gaffer. It doesn’t help. I decide to leave, my next goal is San Francisco.
I have heard so much of of this city, but just grey frightening beton bridges expect me. Today I don’t stay here. My plan is to travel further up to Arcata and visiting a friend from university. But after I drop off my car at the airport I can’t buy a train ticket. I forgot to put money on my credit card.
I ask a guy to give me ride to the center. Later I saved is name as „Abdul Angel“ in my phone. He not just gave me the ride, he also bought my $100 train ticket to Arcata and saved my ass.
After more than two years we fall into each other arms. I’m tired. But Nina is one of these high-energy-humans, she just laods me up with energy.
My friends energy reminds me in her. What keeps me there? I hold on to the person I felt saved from a boring life. She showed me what I want. I wanted to impress her. And now I am creating my own exciting colourful life. Trying to forget her.
As we head to the Redwoods and I find myself standing among these huge trees, I feel deeply connected to them. Nina tells me, the roots are connected across half of California and beyond.
Everything is connected to everything – I experience that vividly here. We are connected to the trees and the sea, the animals, the people, the air and the water, the whole universe.
San Francisco is tough. I feel like I’ve been spit out. As a backpacker in the most expensive city in the US – how is this city supposed to welcome me with open arms? I sit at Taccobell because it’s cheap here. Most of the people in here are black or homeless, or both. I don’t know if the music makes me feel so mellow, Christmas music. I’m cold, there’s air conditioning blowing somewhere. The sun is just setting down, the sky looks so beautiful, light blue with pink clouds. The sky always looks beautiful, no matter how the people below are feeling. I just gave my drink to a beggar who is now screaming a bit.
Somehow I feel comfortable among them, the poor, the crazy. What does it need to come to that point? And how quickly can it happen? I remind myself: I still have a little bit of money, my parents have money, Germany is a rich country with a social system. Not that I would like to come back to it … But I guess, it’s time for a job!
Spending Christmas not alone
Just the moment I’m leaving San Fransisco with the train, my phone dies. I’m just on my own, on my own thoughts and with the hope I’ll find my way.
Indeed, I meet a few nice women in my hostel. The next morning we wake up, the woods are full of snow. I’m making a walk through the national park and encounter some animals like deers. A little Christmas wonder.
Back in the hostel, the families gathering together to spend their Christmas meal together. A slight feeling of loneliness hits me, but I’m lucky and can spend the time with one of the alone traveling women.
Back to L.A.
My journey leads me back to L.A. I’m going to meet my friend from Berlin, who’s staying a few weeks here. She brings me to a few new skateparks and we meet some of the skaters from the beginning of my trip.
However since I’ve been in the National Park I lost a bit interest in the city and the skateboarding. I want to go back to nature. On craigslist I find a guy who offers a ride to Arizona. My next goal: Grand-Canyon.
I arrive at Grand Canyon safely. I’m picked up by a guy who I found on Couchsurfing – one night I can stay over. He shows me the small room and let me know, I’ll share it with two other girls. Ok, I didn’t expect comfort.
He shows me the best spots of the park. I’m looking down on these huge formation of stones – what an amazing view! I feel so lucky to make these experiences and being so close to local people.
Kingsize and whirlpool under the stars
On my hike down the grand canyon I meet a women. Phyu was on a business trip and could spend two days on her own. She invites me to drive to the village and stay in her hotel. Again, a wonderful unexpected encounter.
We spend the day climbing on the rocks – the view is spectacular. It’s not just the view, it’s a special energy. It’s the place of my US journey I’ll remember most.
The locals explain to us that there are special energy swirls that make this place so magical. You can easily see how inspiring this place must be, the village is full of galeries and stores with the most colorful art I’ve ever seen.
This journey didn’t stop me from yearning for her. But she was the reason why I had the courage to make this trip. I wanted to impress her, I wanted to run away from her, forget her. And I found the best trip of my life. My skateboarding dream came true.
USA, Nov. 2015 – Feb. 2016