By Alena Tran
California is one of the largest tourist hotspots in the United States. It’s easy to take it for granted, as silver linings are easily missed amongst any clouds. Admittedly, as high school students, a lot of what we can do is limited. There are certain restrictions to our freedom, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for us to explore. There’s culture and fun and adventure all around us, and this article is a reminder of places you can go:
1: Thousand Steps Beach: Some cautionary advice: the stairway down to the beach is rigorous, but if you are capable of making the trek, it is worth it. During lowtide, you can climb through a previously flooded cave and watch the water hit the rocks underneath you. It’s a wild experience because you’re standing in area that would’ve drowned you only hours ago. When you look out at the sea and think of the distance between you, the water, and the next plot of land, you’ll feel small and insignificant, and it’ll feel a little like pain and a lot like an epiphany.
2: Little Saigon/DT Santa Ana/Anaheim Packing District/etc.: There is so much great food out there to try! Especially since we’re getting older, it’s important to expand our palates and try new things—after all, we can’t live off mac n’ cheese and chicken fingers forever (or maybe we can?). Trying new food not only forces you to step out of your comfort zone, but it exposes you to new cultures and permits you to develop a newfound respect. Since California is a melting pot of thousands of rich cultures and interesting people, it is important to integrate yourself, respectfully, and learn as much as possible.
3: OCMA (Orange County Museum of Art)/LACMA (if you’re willing to drive an hour or so in the name of art)/DT Santa Ana Art Walk (first Saturday of every month)/Laguna Beach Art Walk (first Thursday of every month)/Bower’s Museum: Art is important—critical even—to society. Most of what we know about the past is because of the art that was discovered. The art created today could be what historians and archaeologists utilize to piece together an image of this generation. Expose yourself to art, in any form, and you will consequently expose yourself to new perspectives, ideas, and individuals. If you don’t care about any of that, do it for the aesthetic and show your support for art causes.
4: Peter’s Canyon (nearest to us)/Top of the World (Laguna) (Honestly, it doesn’t matter where, just get moving): Through hiking, you can kill two birds with one stone: exercise and explore. Don’t let school and work trap you in a box. It can get suffocating, being inside a building 24/7. High school students sit in tiny desks for six hours on end. A good hike will help you breathe easy.
5: Bolsa Chica Conservancy: If you’re taking AP Environmental, this one will be fun. Get involved and volunteer one of your weekends at Bolsa Chica. You can check out the website here. You’ll find that they offer tours and bird watching opportunities. It’s not only a good educational experience, but you can get a chance to get in touch with nature and tap into your inner transcendentalist.
Hopefully, you take these suggestions, even if it’s with a grain of salt. There is so much out there for everyone to see and feel and we’ve only been aware of a fraction of it all. It’s understandable that finding motivation can be sometimes difficult, but that’s all it is—difficult—not impossible.