When Wanderlust Forces You To Leave The People You Love Behind

To my four best friends from back home, whom I haven’t seen in pretty much a year: “There are amazing people everywhere, but you can search the world over and not find what you have with those who you started with. (…) Until that day you’re together again, just hope that their sunshine that day is as warm as yours.”

Thought Catalog

Have you ever noticed how the sunshine isn’t the same around the world? “Wanderlust” is a word that we glorify. It’s a term thrown around by individuals who aren’t courageous enough to go out and seek what they “lust” for. But it’s not the dreams you have that make you special, it’s what you do to chase them. Those who pursue those dreams of wanderlust are rewarded for their action, able to experience several types of sunshine.

Oftentimes though, the individual will find themselves missing whatever sunshine it is they left behind.

The desire to seek what the world has to offer has deep roots. Roots that grow somewhere deep in the soul. It’s a natural will to see the gigantic world and experience it. The branches that stem reach in different directions, but are still part of the same plant. One branch may be the one that sees a…

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Sunset Viewing Spots in Bay Area

I love sunsets. You love sunsets. Everybody loves sunsets. But, ever since living here, I’ve come to realize that California sunsets put this amazing spectacle to a whole new level! So, here are a few spots that turn an ordinary sunset into an unforgettable experience.  So, if you are located in the Bay Area and got a car, time and a sense for romance and adventure- GO.*

*Warning: sunset viewing spots within San Francisco limits really only work if Karl the Fog is on your side…

1. The Touristy One: Marina Beach

Standing at the shore of Marina will give you a view straight onto the Golden Gate Bridge, behind which the sun goes down. If the bridge wasn’t already orange, it sure would be then!

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2. The filmography One: Alamo Square

Yes, yes, it’s the Painted Ladies from the Full House intro. And yes, they look even more beautiful and photogenic when the sun sets and taints them in a lovely rosé color. Head to Alamo Square for a nice picnic and enjoy the scenery!

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3. The Obvious One: Twin Peaks

You really cannot get around a hike up to Twin Peaks when visiting the city. Ideally, you hike up just in time to see the sun set over the ocean. That way, you will be able to see the city both in daylight and slowly getting ready for another night to remember.

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4. The Windy One: Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach is where the sun touches the water and the horizon and it could look all epic and stuff…but it WILL be windy and, 90% of the year, it will also be foggy. If you are willing to pay a little more to view the spectacle in a warm, elegant restaurant, then Cliff House is your place. But for all those that scramble cents together for next month’s rent, just look at the wind as a way to clear your head! And, once the sun is down, you will be able to enjoy beautiful city lights (again, if it ain’t foggy that is).

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5. Around the Corner: Stinson Beach

Just over the bridge and straight on till the moooorning…or something along those lines. Stinson Beach is a great place to watch the sunset if you just wanna get out of the city and breathe and be by yourself and all that jazz.

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6. The Warmer One: Santa Cruz

Just about about 70 miles (100km) south of San Francisco lies Santa Cruz, a beautiful surf town. The beach has a pier that offers everything from rollercoaster rides to, wait for it, deep-fried Oreos and Cheesecakes…ooooh ‘murica…
It is often much warmer in SC than it is in The City, so go there on a summery day and enjoy the sunset by the lighthouse!

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7. The Magical One: McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Ok, this one is quite a drive and really halfway between SF and LA. But, it is also the first sunset that has moved me to tears with its beauty. There is a beach, a waterfall, the ocean, amazing colors and this very very intense sunset. I swear, I am not a super emotional person, especially not in public. And still, I stood there watching the sun go down and was totally overwhelmed with the realization that this moment is as perfect as it gets and that I’m happy and incredibly lucky to be able to experience something like that. Truly magical.

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Hidden Gems: Billy Goat Hill

By chance, I came across a picture of someone on a swing with SF’s skyline in the background. The most basic Google search (“Swing San Francisco”) did not only provide me with the location, but also with a couple more awesome pictures of happy people happily swinging their swing. Of course I had to go.

Billy Goat Hill is located in Glen Park/Diamond Heights, just west of Bernal Heights. If you go by car, you can drive up the hill, conveniently park in the neighborhood and start shooting pictures. If you take public transport, take the 24 from Castro – or Google Map the most convenient transit option from wherever you are located.

The swing has been around for decades and the ropes get replaced regularly. Trust me- it’s fun and so instagram worthy 😉

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View from BGH over Bernal Heights- another great viewing spot for panorama fanatics!

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The current swing is a skateboard. I salute you, San Francisco!

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Fly high!

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“Think of the happiest things. It’s the same as having wings!”- Peter Pan.

6 Life Lessons Surfing Taught Me

I went surfing for the very first time today! So yeah, maybe I’m nowhere near experienced enough to give big speeches about this sport. But  especially in the early stages of learning something new, your brain is like a sponge sucking up all these new impressions. So many steps to keep in mind, so many new muscles to move… . What impressed me, was that surfing seems to be such a soul sport. It’s a lifestyle. And I believe the reason for that is because so many surfing rules, can also be applied to life:

1. It’s 80% Fight and 20% Surfing.

Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s really hard and you have to overcome struggles and hurdles and leave your comfort zone. But, it will be worth it. No Ups without the Downs.

2. If you do ride a wave, celebrate.

After struggling and gulping water, you finally got onto the board and owned that wave? BE PROUD! You worked hard for that and didn’t give up, did not get defeated, you have all right to be happy and hyper and full of adrenaline.

3. Don’t Drop in on Someone’s Right of Way.

The surfer closest to the peak of the wave has the right to surf the wave. They did their work, they did their waiting so don’t you dare take that glory of a (hopefully) victorious ride away from them.

4. Don’t Snake.

Snaking means overtaking a surfer in order to get your right of way. In other words: Don’t be righteous! No matter how good you think you are, don’t you dare overrule others and mess up their game.

5. No Board Ditching.

Look, I get it. The wave breaks and you freak out and kinda dive under and you don’t really care what happens with your board, you wanna make it out of these waters alive and you’ll do whatever is necessary… so you let it fly off. Having been twisted and twirled around more than just a couple of times today, I know that shit happens. But you will make enemies if you start loosing your head in a tricky situation and don’t think of what’s best for everybody. Remain calm and in control when stressed.

6. The Ocean is Unpredictable.

And so is life. One minute the waves are great and everything goes smoothly and next thing you know, you are being dragged out by a current. As the saying goes: You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf!

 

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Hidden Gems: Stairway to Heaven

Being out and about in SF will so totally be worth it! It will also so totally involve climbing, hiking, sweating and exercising. But, thanks to the many elevated lookout points throughout the city, you probably won’t know where to turn to first. The views will be worth it and, let’s face it, my thighs thanked me too 😉

Today, I grabbed my camera and hopped onto the 28 Bus towards 16th and Morega (get off on 19th and Morega). Searching for the Mosaic Stairs I had seen on Pinterest before, I explored a little more of the Sunset District and was not disappointed. Not only did I find the stairs but, to my surprise, they led up to an elevated little hill that locals call Turtle Hill. It’s real name, Grand View Park, does the scenery more justice though. Walk along the sandy trail and gaze at Ocean Beach to your left, Golden Gate Bridge ahead of you and the downtown area as well as Twin Peaks to your right.

Of course, as with many landmarks in the city, make sure to catch a clear day. If you can. May the odds be ever in your favor….

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Mosaic Stairs @16th Ave between Morega and Noriega

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The ascent already offers promising outlooks…

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The breakers at Ocean Beach, the Pacific side of SF

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Twin Peaks (picture) is said to offer the best panorama over the city but I think Turtle Hill is a main competitor

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Golden Gate Park, Fort Mason, Ingleside, Golden Gate Park and Sunset District

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But really, the “park” is more like a forest, actually.

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California Poppy- do not plug!!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA “I lost my head in San Francisco, waiting for the fog to roll out…”

 

Five Things You Should Know About Job Hunting

I know. I know.

This has basically been Ari’s blog for the past months now. I’m sorry. One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging was my internship, which kept me busy basically 12 hours a day, if you count the commute and lunch break, which you can’t very well spend blogging unless you want to be known as the antisocial intern.

Well, my internship ended a few months back, but then instead of blogging, I started writing resumes and cover letters, hunting for a position that would be both a step up from interning and a step over in the creative direction, towards Indesign and away from Powerpoint, if you will. And there’s one thing I learned in the weeks that I was job hunting… it sucks.

I know some of you have gone through this, the rest of you will once you finish your studies, and unless you’re the kind of lucky genius who a) turns a student job into a permanent position immediately upon graduation, b) has already signed with Microsoft to start working at their New York office upon graduation (yes, a friend of mine managed to do this almost two years in advance) or c) is taking over your dad’s/brother’s/grandma’s business and therefore will never worry about applications… well, unless you fall into any of those categories, you’ll be networking and cover-lettering and resume-tuning until you’re dizzy and frustrated. Even if it’s only a short time (in the end, I was unemployed for exactly a month), it will feel like forever and it will most likely make you doubt if you’re EVER going to get hired. So, I decided I’d share my grand wisdom (well, okay, bits of wisdom) in the hopes that someone will feel marginally less frustrated with themselves and their career than I did. Here’s five things you have to know about job hunting for the first time:

  1. Most of your applications will be rejected. Something like 80% of applications I sent out were ignored for a few weeks before I got a brief email stating that they’d decided otherwise. From some, I still haven’t received as much as an acknowledgement that the application got there in the first place. Initially, when this happened, I’d follow up, concerned that maybe my email actually did not get there. The most I got out of that was a brief response that basically said, “Yes, your application is here, now stop whining.” I know people tell you to follow up, always, and I’m sure it doesn’t hurt, but if the company hasn’t felt like inviting you for an interview or hiring you after said interview, then a follow-up won’t change that, either. You can cry about it (I certainly did a few times) or you can accept it and move on.
  2. For every friendly HR contact, there seems to be an HR person who doesn’t give a sh*t about applicants. Don’t waste your time with those people, it’s not even worth being frustrated about. Even if that firm was interested in hiring you, what does it say about them if the people whose main responsibility is dealing with applicants are inconsiderate or even rude?
  3. Ask for feedback. If you’re rejected from a position, send an email back and tell them you’d really appreciate if they could let you know why they decided otherwise. Again, in many cases, you just won’t get a response. I once received an answer that almost verbatim said, “Dear Judith, we do not give reasons for our decisions. Sincerely, HR.” On the other hand, once my question started a conversation with the owner of a small advertising agency. He’s now a contact in my business network of choice and who knows, something good may come of that eventually.
  4. Always, always, always find out who your contact person is. This is the number one advice you’ll find when googling “How to write a good cover letter”. After writing over twenty applications and imagining how many of these PDFs a HR person goes through on a given day – well, I can sort of imagine them just throwing out any that didn’t even bother to find out their name. Additionally, sometimes, when you have to call to figure out a contact person, you end up chatting with whoever’s on the line briefly – and maybe they’ll remember you when the application comes through, or maybe they’ll even give you a more personal email address rather than the standard jobs@… . You never know! It really doesn’t take that much effort – show them that you’re willing to go that extra mile! (More like an extra yard and a half, really.)
  5. You probably won’t see it coming. I applied to several positions that I had a really good feeling about, and a few that I had a “meh” sort of attitude towards. Around application #20, I became a robot. When I finally got invited for a job interview, it was for an application I’d submitted half-awake, barely two hours before I got the response. I had really liked the job ad, but I’d felt like I was too exhausted to write anything convincing in my cover letter. Apparently, I was dead wrong – three days later I had an interview, and a week after that I started work! On the other hand, some of the applications that I sent in feeling like there couldn’t possibly anyone with a cooler cover letter and more convincing CV… I never even heard back.
    Now, a few days ago, I even got a second invitation for an interview – this time I vividly remember telling my boyfriend that the application was “the worst I’ve written so far”. I half wanted to just go to the interview to ask what exactly they saw in my cover letter!

The bottom line is: It’s a struggle, it’s tough, but you will get through it! Just don’t give up. Just keep writing. All you need is one “YES” – and it won’t matter if you got 20, 50, or 200 “NO”s before that. So… go get ’em!

Bay to Breakers

In 1906, a major earthquake destroyed major parts of San Francisco. Naturally, people were not happy. But, San Francisco would not be San Francisco if it wouldn’t call for a 12k race across town, for which people are allowed to dress up like crazy. I mean, duuuh, what else would distract them from their houses being destroyed, right? What started as a cheer-up, has now become a fundamental part of the city’s culture. Every third Sunday in May, 35000 people dust their Halloween outfits, slip into their running shows and race from Embarcadero to Ocean Beach. It’s fun to run and it’s fun to stand by and watch. Naturally, I had to blog about it. What can I say, other than that I am not even surprised. It is San Francisco after all, if you couldn’t do it here, you couldn’t do it anywhere else in the world. And that’s why I really really do love this city!

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