A San Diego Weekend to Remember

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Embrace the sun – Soak up the Vitamin D – Live in the moment – Go outside and play

These phrases all bounced around my head this weekend. As photos of another Northeastern blizzard bombarded my Facebook pages, we jumped head first into San Diego’s outdoor lifestyle. Except for the time we lived in Melbourne, I can’t remember another February that I was this active. All of my other Februarys have been spent huddled under blankets, swaddled under layers and layers of thermals and sweats and drinking as much tea as my bladder could handle (amidst one week of fabulous sunshine). This one is different. This one we get to be outside. It may seem silly, but for me, the weather makes all the difference.

fun on Valentine's Day at the Melbourne Zoo

My new friend, Kara, made a comment the other day about seasonal effects disorder. Whether either of us has it, we’ll never know, but she understands. So many that we’ve both spoken with discuss a need for natural light, the benefits of the sun’s rays and a yearning to spend as much time by the water as possible. This entire city speaks my language and for some reason, that weather allows me to go outside and ‘just be’. This weekend, this Valentine’s Day, this February has been just that…time to go outside and play! Our social life is only ever this busy when we pack an entire year of visits into two weeks in Melbourne. It’s a little hard to believe this is my life right now!

It started Thursday evening. Working with a new experiential learning and event company, I spent an afternoon outside in La Jolla on a scavenger hunt while Mat enjoyed one of San Diego’s well-known craft brewery tours at Green Flash Brewing Company. Friday night we went to our first ever Meet Up with the Commonwealth Expats meet up group. A bunch of people met at Shakepseare’s Pub and Grille to watch the Rugby Sevens and enjoy some of the best fish and chips we’ve had this side of the pond. There was a Brit married to a Texan who have now both been living in San Diego for almost a decade, our friends who spent the last few years in Hong Kong and us all gabbing about this chosen city of ours and the work-life balance it inspires.

Koala at the San Diego Zoo

Now hopefully, without accruing hate mail from my friends on the East coast, I will tell you that we spent Valentine’s Day outside in the hot sunshine. A visit for me to the travel and adventure show for the press section in the morning, a fabulous home-cooked brunch on our terrace and a great afternoon with our friendly resident animal mates at the San Diego Zoo. What followed was a dinner of devil’s food cupcakes and whipped cream to round out the day! Sunday also had more of San Diego favourites. It included a walk through the Gaslamp District, the cobble-stoned streets of Little Italy and the Embarcadero. Next we spent a few hours at the Convention Center for all things travel at the San Diego Travel and Adventure Show and then a celebration of fun at the Lunar New Year Festival in the car park of Qualcomm Stadium (where the Chargers play). And then, as if the day didn’t want to be outdone, we wandered around the shops at Fashion Valley-an entire mall area made outside. Seriously, February in flip-flops and a jumper in the evening-what is this, Australia?

festive food at the Lunar Festival at Qualcomm Stadium

Lincoln’s birthday found us wandering the boardwalk of Coronado and having lunch with our toes in the sand while listening to the waves crash in front of the Hotel Del. These are just some of the reasons I love travel (and San Diego, of course). If you want sunshine, head to sunshine, if you want cold then you should head towards snow-capped mountains for your fun. Travel allows you to choose where you want to be and if you’re lucky, even for how long you’d like to stay. For us, we chose warm over cold and sunshine over wintry mix but as always, to each their own.

Coronado Beach, Coronado Island, San Diego, California

This Valentine’s Day I count myself lucky to spend it with the one I love in a space that makes us happy. And as always, I am grateful for so very many things and feeling blessed often. Wherever you spent this past weekend-with whomever or without, doing all or nothing…I hope you found time to take care of yourself and find a bit of happy.

Happy February!

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