This has been a week. It started last Friday with a 14-hour trip from Nashville to San Francisco, including a four-hour “break” in the de-icing lane at the Dallas airport (never again will I connect in DFW), and ended with a 14-hour trip from Tahoe to Reno to Denver to Atlanta and—eventually—back to Tennessee in the wee hours of the icy morning via a guy on my plane who had rented a 4×4, was driving the four hours up to Hendersonville, and offered to take me and a businessman from Brentwood along for the ride. There’s never a dull moment in these parts, folks. (And before you ask about safety, SVV demanded a copy of his photo ID before he’d let me in the car with him!)
But it was worth it. Every last minute stranded in the airport—worth it. Especially since I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when.
The reason I was out in California in the first place was to speak at Women’s Travel Fest. My dear friends Kelly and Mickela are the brains behind WTF (best acronym ever or best acronym ever?) and were so sweet as to ask me to speak since I wasn’t able to attend last year. I met so many people I’ve been online friends with for years and others who aren’t in the media at all but just love to travel. It was such an empowering weekend, and I even got to see one of my journalist idols, Laura Ling, speak, which was one of the highlights of my time in San Francisco.
For those of you who have been reading this blog a long time, you’ll recall I spent four very formative years of my 20s living in the Bay Area, where SVV was born and raised. I’ll be the first to admit, they weren’t always the best of times—have you ever lived in the most expensive city in the world on a freelancer’s salary? I dare you to try it and come out from that experience loving San Francisco and its callous meter maids—but they were full of good friends and memories and favorite spots we collected.
So cramming my second visit back in nearly four years into a mere 48 hours was challenging. Particularly when the festival took up half of that.
Still, I managed to do the following….
Wander through the Ferry Building and Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.
Have a bite of Humphry Slocombe, which now has a Ferry Building outpost.
Watch this cherub toddle about the waterfront, chasing pigeons and charming passersby.
Chow down on Sunday brunch at Zazie, a personal favorite from my days as a local. It’s still every bit as good as I remembered.
See a killer sunset from atop the View lounge in SoMa.
Drink my way around the Tenderloin with some very dear friends, who also happened to be in town for a conference that very weekend.
Do a little yoga with former running buddy Autumn in the Mission, before grabbing some authentic Mexican food for the road. (I mean, when in the Mission, am I right?)
The three days that followed were full of Instagram tutorials, belly laughs, beer, hikes in the wilderness from which we nearly didn’t return and being all-around silly. The best types of vacations if you will. The kind for which you’d do those hellish travel days all over again. (Well, once you’ve taken one long nap to sleep off the jetlag, that is.)