Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

I had a delightful stay at Esalen, an alternative education institute perched inspiringly on the ocean cliffs near Big Sur (see pictures). I was in my element–meditating about psychology, art, and massage for 3 days, while breathing in the ocean air and gazing at myriads of stars through the steam of pristine natural hot springs. Anyone who knows me can picture me eagerly waking up early in order not to miss a morning “Global Dance” session, where you dance your heart out to fun, funky music in broad daylight with a smile on your face. I also had a chance to attend a light-hearted yoga class with a kind and nurturing instructor. I love going to different yoga teachers and getting all the different perspectives that I can.

My classmates were diverse and good-spirited, so it made for a very pleasant experience overall. Our main teacher, Pablo, from Argentina, had a fun accent that reminded me of my Venezuelan friends from Chevron, and had such a peaceful countenance and a real joy in teaching, so it was fun to be around him. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the food at Esalen, which was hearty, delicious, and thoughtful. I was lucky to be at an adjacent table at lunch on Saturday when a young woman on a work-study at Esalen was looking for a ride to San Francisco on Sunday. I quickly offered, she gratefully accepted, and we met on Sunday and had such a nice 3-1/2 hour drive to San Francisco in my 4Runner. She was so much fun to talk to and hang out with, and the time really flew.

I had a laid-back, somewhat guilty-feeling-Monday: attending a 9:30 yoga class at Greenpath across the street from my trusty friend The Surf motel on Lombard, then getting a manicure/pedicure with a great massage. I went out in the afternoon to find a new beautiful beach (I found one! Stinson Beach) and some hills in the sunshine (see pictures).

But as the quote above put it, 4 days in Northern California and I’m already getting soft, so it’s time to move on. Tomorrow is my last day in San Francisco, then I’m heading up north on I-5 toward Oregon, then on to Idaho.