Los Angeles – The city of broken dreams

Day 6 of our travels.

Distance traveled so far: 8,750km

I was looking forward to see this city as much as everyone else would. Reputation definetly precedes this city. Growing up watching all these movies and TV shows that took place in this majestic and famous city added up a lot to my excitement. If you share this idealistic idea about LA and want to keep it then you would probably do better if you choose to not come here.

If you hear anything overly positive about this city then it would be most likely from one of those illegal immigrants who chose to live here just to check in twice a day that they are in hollywood and constantly posting pictures about their life in LA to make you envyous or whatever.

47.5% of population in LA is hispanic, the rest seems to be Asian and African (30% should be white but my guess is they live in different areas), so you might get feeling that you are in central America rather than north.

Another fact about this city is that you probably won’t make it around the corner of the street without passing by a homeless, junkie or both in one and I’m talking about any street almost anywhere in this city. It is really serious problem.

Now the bright sides, and that will be some remarkable landmarks although some of them are significantly ruined by presence of forementioned people who also produce unpleasant smell. Now I’ve got in mind particulary:

Venice beach

The beach itself is huge and beautiful with iconic life guard stalls and Santa Monica pier which also marks the end of famous trail 66. Waves are quite strong so there’s often helicopter on patrol alongside of coast. Venice beach boardwalk is also remarkable altough it’s vibe is ruined by guess what.

While I’m talking about Santa Monica I’ll mention

Malibu

Because you can hop on bus that takes you directly there from Santa Monica. Reason I chose to visit Malibu was of course 2 and half men. It is truly beautiful scenic route alongside coast with beach houses on the shores while some of them have access directly to the beach. Malibu has few smaller beaches that are not blocked by houses and these are used mostly for surfing.

Venice canals

I simply chose to visit this place because of GTA V and yes it does look exactly as in game.

Hollywood

Place with famous walk of fame, but apart that it did not resonate with me in any other way.

Beverly Hills

Who would miss this place? espcially if you’re a fan of 90210 show. It has really nice city centre and urban area is simply posh.

Downtown

It’s basically a homeless village with infamous ‘skid road’ where homeless lives in their tents build on pavement along main roads. Naturaly they dump everything around them plus some of them are aparently hoarders too. It’s really not nice view. What’s worth visiting in downtown is definetly rooftop bar called Spire 73 which is free to enter until certain hour and that view from there is amazing.

Griffith observatory

My favourite piece of city. You’ll get the feeling that the whole city is laying at your feet. It’s simply breathtaking. Inside of observatory is small planetarium with quite interesting things, you can find here mechanism that was used in past as proof that earth is rotating or a real piece of moon. It is really beautiful to visit this place before sunset and wait until dusk too although if you decide to hike to Hollywod sign I would recommend to come earlier. It seem to be close but you need to think about curved path that leads there so actual hike there would take more than hour plus another hour and something back. You need to watch out for rattlesnakes and also for the edges of trail as it is easy to fall over, that’s why i wouldn’t go during night as there are no streetlights.

How to survive

Weekly travelcard cost 25$ what is fair price. Public transport in LA isn’t the most reliable in world but takes you generally wherever you want and buses abides a simple rule: They all go straight forward.

Although I consider California expensive taking in account prices of bread, milk, meat, fruits, sweets even chips (bag is about 4$) even that their packages are bit bigger, cheapest option for me was to shop at Ralph’s especially with a membership card that saves really a lot money. If you don`t have one, cashier will happily scan their instead.

There’s not much unnecessary expenses than transport, accomodation and food as seeing things mostly doesn’t cost anything. And if you avoid getting penalised, for example for drinking in a public transport (yes, in London they encourage you to drink in a tube even though there’s like 5 minutes of summer, in Los Angeles where’s constantly hot, they ban it) you should be good.

We spent here a week although 5 days would be enough too in my opinion

To give it a conclusion, climate is lovely but I wouldn’t choose this place for living unless it would be in Bel air for example 🙂 , but speaking as mortal, wouldn’t .

As much as I was disappointed with this city when I first came in, I had to confess that this disappointment slowly fades as time goes and in the end I have to say, maybe there is something little magical about this city.

Thanks for reading, here is a dog skating through Venice boardwalk as reward 🙂

How to live your travel dreams

I discovered my passion for travelling when I moved to London. European hub with 4 airports and departures all over the world almost every minute. It multiplied when I met my soulmate who was already a frequent traveller. We began our adventures travelling everywhere we can and whenever we could. But there was an issue and that problem was nothing else than a time. Having 20 days of annual leave wasn’t simply enough to extinguish my thirst for exploring, that thirst that lies within every human being. To conquer, to explore, to experience, to simply live your life up to full throttle. Needing taking into account my friends and family back in my home country I had to distribute my piece of annual leave allowance between seeing them and seeing the world. My travelling was limited to European destinations. Using every extended weekend for travelling to new places which were amazing but yet not exotic and distant enough to extinguish my thirst. Honestly, I hope it never ends, speaking of, how could it when it lies in our very human nature.

Soon a change was to come. Moving to the new place, and that’s when this idea was born. Let’s move everything we have to self-storage and travel rent-free while needless to mention, rent in London is sky-high so hypothetically, I can say that travelling is less expensive than staying in London. What an irony. So we began planning, mentioning all those exotic places we always dreamed of and seen only on TV. Sounds expensive? Visiting one at a time without any system definitely would be but carry on reading 😉freedom-handcuffs-hands-247851

So we placed first stop, The United States of America, specifically Los Angeles. It was relatively cheap taking into account that we booked it for nearly a year in advance (180£). So buy long enough in advance, but not straightaway after tickets are released.

Now that we have plenty of time and booked our first destination, why don’t add more? and so we did…few other American cities with flight tickets for less than 50£ climaxing in Hawaii (that one was way more than 50 but cheaper than first one).  Now that we are almost 4000km off US mainland we are closer to the rest of the world, right? So we added Sydney and Melbourne. Travelling to Australia opened our gate of cheap travelling to all of those exotic Asian destinations. We added Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Maldives, Malaysia and Singapore. Need to mention that our first flight ticket was still the most expensive. The key is to organize order in which you’ll be visiting your destinations.background-close-up-desk-958173

Literally, this is a trip around the globe (Heading towards east off London and coming back from the west) for less than 1500£ (speaking of flight tickets). As I mentioned above, that’s less than a monthly rent of a house in London. How much you’re willing to spend on accommodation and other expenses is mostly up to you, so is the duration of your trip

So would you choose 10-day vacation through a travel agent in Hawaii or would you choose to travel around the world?

Buy experiences, not things

Most of the days at work I used to think about how precious is life and every second in it. My second thought was about how can I do such an atrocity and selling pieces of my life for around 10 £ per hour. Well, we all have to give a share of our time in order to get something in return. The most important thing is to choose wisely where do we invest our limited funds of time that we converted into money and the answer is very easy.

Happiness.

Yes, invest in happiness.  That could of course vary and mean something different for each of you, but the ultimate advice is :

Don’t spend money on things. You’ve heard me, don’t. Problem with a possession is that excitement from a new thing fades pretty quickly, isn’t it? You bring a new thing home and after a couple of days or weeks, it becomes a norm rather than a novel that it has used to be. What was up to date and modern today, doesn’t have to be the same tomorrow. There always going to be something newer, better than what you already own and that would wreck your excitement. Possession also goes hand in hand with comparison and there’s always someone with better equipment than you and it could easily devastate your thrills too.

Biggest paradox is that we assume that our excitement from what we’re buying will last as long as that item itself.  It appeals almost intuitive that we’re suggesting that only things we could physically see and feel on a permanent basis would deliver required passion to us.

And now, what’s the power of experience?

Have you ever purchased something that wasn’t as cool as you expected? Well, once you buy it, it’s going to be right in front of your face,  reminding you of your disappointment. We don’t do that with experiences. The very fact that they last for only a short time is reason why we value them so much, and that value tends to increase as time goes on.

They are becoming a part of us.

You are the outcome of everything you’ve seen, everything you’ve done and all those beautiful places you’ve been.

Buying a new MacBook won’t change who you are but spending a few weeks hiking through Asia most likely will.

Experiences are enjoyable from a very first moment of planning, all the way through to the memories we cherish forever.

So love, eat, travel and repeat

Travel essentials

If you consider yourself more like a traveler that travels consequently rather than a tourist who on the other hand stays at one place to enjoy a vacation, you would agree that there are few  must haves that all of us have to carry. My motto on the road is ‘expect the unexpected’

 1,  Passports (2)

Or at least try your best to do so. Since your journey dependable number one is your passport, I decided to have two.  It is not only case when you have a dual citizenship that you are allowed to have two passport. Many other countries recognize that some countries don’t like seeing certain visa/entry stamps so you can get another passport, while both of them are valid simultaneously. Apart this fore mentioned advantage is it good to have this reserve passport in case you get mugged or lose first one. Luckily for us, visas are easily transferable to another travel document.close-up-desk-hat-346798.jpg

2. Revolut

Altough it is important to have knowledge of accessibility to ATMs at your destination and manage amount of your cash that you carry accordingly yet you still need a card to use as carrying cash for the whole duration of your trip wouldn’t be the wisest decision.Again I recommend to have more than one cards available for use keeping them at different locations or pockets. In my opinion, best choice is to get Revolut card for following reason:

  • Can have multiple cards related to one account
  • can freeze/unfreeze, enable/disable contact less, change pin through app anytime
  • withdrawals from ATMs around the world for free of charge (unless it’s a non-bank ATM) up to 200/400€ depends if you’re free/premium user
  • Uses real time exchange rate rather than disadvantageous rates of banks and other companies.

It is important that you   choose to be charged in same currency as you have on your bank account so Revolut can use their exchange rate. If you have for example account in € and you use Revolut in The U.s. and choose to be billed in dollars you’ll get US bank’s exchange rate rather than Revolut’s.

  • split bills, instant transfers, vault and thorough analytics of your spending and by thorough I really mean it.

It takes less than 3 minutes to apply. You’ll have to send a pic of your ID, send a selfie to confirm that it is your ID and top up for 10 £ (5 for delivery)background-bills-cash-929288.jpg

3. Hidden flat body pouch

Easily consumes credit/debit cards, cash, passport. Easy to wear …nothing else to add.

Get one here

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4. Adjustable/Fold-able travel bag 

Water resistant adjustable bag that unfolds from a size of a purse into 40L backpack. Unfold size: 58 x 34 x 20CM (H x W x D), Folds into: 24 x 20 x 9CM (H x W x D) enough to carry your necessities with a weight of as little as 450g .Yet biggest advantage is its size adjustments as various airlines have various requirements for cabin luggage. Remember you are a traveler not a tourist, carrying extra luggage could incredibly increase price of your adventure. It’s Ultra-light, Ultra-durable, Ultra-awesome and in various colors. Sounds handy? Get yours here

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5.  Insure and go

I have no doubt that at this point you already thought about travel insurance but there’s this common dilemma which one to choose. I was so fortunate that I never had to claim it and wish all of you to be that lucky too but yet it is a must to have one and in a name of few of my friends who were less fortunate and had to make a claim I recommend this company. Their insurance covers anything from medical expenses trough flight delays/cancellations, whole holiday cancellation/abandonment ,  accommodation cover, personal money (in case you loose all of yours), any legal expenses or personal liability damage and many more plus your insurance will be tailored especially for your needs whether it is a single trip or backpacking expedition around the world. I already took them with me, would you do the same?

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