When I booked our trip to Rancho la Puerta, a spa/retreat in Baja California, Mexico a few months back, it was under the assumption that it would be the most vacation-like vacation of my life. I pictured it in my mind as a soft, full-page ad in a magazine, full of promises that I have never desired in a travel destination until recently: stress-free relaxation, time away to rebalance and reconnect with oneself, and an embarrassing heap of lavish, bourgeoisie pampering.
Typically, when I travel I want to see, eat, and do it ALL. I research profusely. I make lists and print out maps. I Google photos of the landscapes, plants, and cityscapes that are available to be seen. I dream of the photos I will take. I spend hours picking and choosing my camera gear carefully, only to change it all up at the last minute and then I wear myself thin, schlepping five cameras, lenses, rolls of film, and first aid supplies (be prepared!) up melting, tropical asphalt roads that no local would be foolish enough to ascend in the midday heat. Somehow, I always end up in the hottest locations at the most punishing times of the day. I enjoy being in and around the ocean, but I am not a relax on a blanket with a pulpy novel and a Mai Tai kind of traveler. I don’t even know what a Mai Tai is other than a vacation drink that comes with a tiny straw. [I am Googling it now].
These photos were taken on our recent trip to Baja California, Mexico. I’ve posted them in the order I took them over the course of a week. In my next post I will go into further detail about the location, but for now I wanted to show you the larger panoramas that I took with my iPhone on our daily hikes up into the hills that surrounded the property.
Torrey Pines State Reserve (Beach)
I am writing this from a rocking chair in the San Diego airport, where I am winding down from just over a day in the city. We rented a car here in San Diego, a transportation method I would have preferred not to have made, as we are new drivers and navigating the streets here is panic inducing. Still, had we not rented a car, we would not have been able to see the beautiful beaches and vistas that we were able to enjoy. And since we made it out alive, I consider it to have been a success, even if I require another week in the desert to bring back the blissful, relaxed feeling I seemed to have left behind at the Mexican border.
Click on each image to see them larger.
Cabrillo National Monument, Tide Pools (This was the highlight and the spot I would most recommend. Exploring tide pools so full of ocean wildlife was a childhood dream come true!)
From Soledad Cross (We ended up here by making a wrong turn. It was worth the detour for the beautiful vistas. One of the 6 times we got lost in San Diego!)
From Cabrillo National Monument
How to Make Panoramic Images Like These:
All of these panoramics were taken with an iPhone 3GS. Some are 360 degrees and others are less. The process couldn’t be simpler and takes just a few minutes. I literally stand in one place and take lots of pictures from all around me, including everything at my feet. Try to overlap the content a little bit to avoid the black gaps you can see in some of my images. I tend to take between 12 and 30 images per scene.
I use an app called AutoStitch to assemble the images into one large scene. It costs $1.99. I find it helpful to assemble the images as I go, as it can be confusing to separate the images intended for each scene later on.
Tomorrow I will post all of the panoramics I took in the desert portion of my trip.
I wrote a reflections post for 2010, and thought it would be good to end this year in the same way, especially since it gives me the opportunity to revisit some experiences that I did not cover very thoroughly.
[This photo and at top of page] My garden in September 2011.
I started the year with a new D.I.Y grow-light system, more seedlings than I could handle, and a sloping bowling alley of scrubby grass and weeds that I hoped to transform into a garden. As a testament to my stubbornness and determination, I somehow managed (with a lot of help from Davin) to pull it off amidst finishing the editing, photography, and design of my third book, traveling to Thailand, working on a potential TV show, and other deadlines. I was so excited about the space I was out there any chance I could get, often until it go so dark that I couldn’t see anymore. I love having this new garden. It’s the best thing about 2011 and I can’t wait to get back out there in the spring to see what comes of the bulbs and perennial plantings, work on refining the overall layout, and discover a new year of wonders and experiments.
These last few months of the year have been trying and spiritually exhausting. I’m burned out and feel like a shell of my former self. It is for the first time that I find myself really relishing the idea of a year’s end and starting from a renewed and fresh perspective in January. More than ever I hope to walk into the new year feeling revitalized and ready to take on some of the ideas and adventures I’d like to work on in 2012. As you read this post, we are either on our way to or have arrived in the desert, where we will be enjoying some much-needed respite from the cold.
Friends, I’m going to touch, see, and be in the desert soon!!!!!! There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world to express my enthusiasm.
The forecast is calling for the year’s first snowfall today followed by a wet and rainy weekend. In order to beat the weather I spent two hours before dark yesterday hustling to get the remaining bulbs and transplants into the ground.
Today the anticipation of spring flowers reminded me of the clusters of white rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida) that were in bloom back in September at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.