Live the Dream in California
When I was a kid, there was this commercial about California that played fairly often on TV. I think the tagline was "Live the Dream in California" or something of that nature. It showed people doing a variety of activities, cutting from a surfer to a wine tasting to a mountain climber, to showcase all the different things you can do here. I remember thinking that of course you could do all these things, because California took up so much real estate on the map. What I'm starting to realize is that you can do all of those things in about an hours' drive, and be back in the city by sunset. On Sunday, friends and I took an hour long trip outside of the city to swim. We drove through mountains, hiked on a trail overlooking the coast, then swam in a clear water lake nestled in pine trees. A few weekends ago we went 2 hours outside of the city to a wakeboarding park surrounded by rural farms. The weekend before that and an hour in the other direction, I was outside the headquarters of the largest software companies in the world. I also hear there's a place called Napa that's pretty alright.
Mondays at work are always exciting because it's a great way to hear things to do in the area. I have coworkers that go skiing (Lake Tahoe still has snow!), sailing, or surfing, or take a quick jaunt to Los Angeles or Las Vegas. There's a sign in the subway for a travel agency with the tagline "the world is your piña colada", which is whimsical but also quite true. A major airport, the tech capital of the world, and the natural scenery make the options almost limitless and right at your fingertips. And if that seems too overwhelming that's okay too, because for every adventure there's also a down to earth dive bar on a quiet street.
If I ever get jaded about living in the city, I don't think I'd hesitate to leave it. But for now I'm content knowing that something beautiful and undiscovered is always right around the corner.