Santa Cruz and the case for celebrating your birthday away from everyone you know

First of, Santa Cruz is a very pretty small town just around 1.5 hours South of San Francisco. One of its main draws is the location right by the Pacific, and the other is the small town version of Coney Island they put right on the beach, making the boardwalk look like a 1950s Pleasantville movie setting.

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I chose Santa Cruz because I wanted a little time away from the big city, some quiet and some beach, to get some rest and level my head from the excitement of San Francisco. I also wanted to drive, but not too far, so I rented a car and GPS for my little getaway. To book the GPS was a genius move as it turns out, because the nice GPS lady lead me spot on exactly where I needed to go, always letting me know well on time when I needed to make a turn or exit a freeway. I remember being in Nashville two years ago driving with the Google maps lady and almost losing my cool or crashing the car quite a few times…I do not recommend it. Anyway.

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At first I was a bit disappointed when I got to the rental car company as they have overbooked the convertible class and had none left for me, and I was so hoping for a flashy American car, like a Mustang or Corvette. In the end I got a solid Nissan. Not exactly what I expected, but I got free insurance and fuel upgrades and insofar you can’t fault Dollar for their service.

Arriving in Santa Cruz I checked into the Rio Vista Suites, a lovely little Victorian house with only a few rooms. I don’t usually name-drop hotels but this one has convinced me with one simple thing: having the absolute most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. Seriously. I did not want to get out of bed, ever. The only thing that got me out of it in the end was the great weather and the thought of lazying at the beach. But this bed was like a fluffy big cloud and I am still considering writing the management an email asking where they buy their beds. Seriously. I can’t stress this enough.

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During my short stay here I also celebrated my birthday. And by celebrate I mean sleeping in, not caring about a thing, doing only things I want to do, which was mainly the sleeping in part and driving up and down the coast, occasionally stopping for the nice views and getting coffee or food. I did absolutely nothing and it was amazing. Doing absolutely nothing is extremely great at any given time, but on your birthday it makes for that extra special something. The fact that I was thousands of miles away from my loved ones actually made it all the better, as bad as that sounds. Of course I was constantly checking my phone to see if anybody has thought of me and sent me electronic birthday wishes, and when they did it made me very happy. But not having to do the birthday party thing, trying to get people to go out with you and socialise or come to your place and socialise, or even just getting a big enough crowd together that doesn’t make you depressed at the fact that so many people you would like to see are scattered around the planet, well, Europe at least. Not having everyone ask what your plans are for your birthday celebrations and look at you funny when you say ‘nothing’. When all you want to do is enjoy yourself without culturally dictated rituals you aren’t all that comfortable with.
That whole part was a revelation.

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This plus the scenic views of Santa Cruz and the sound of the ocean waves breaking has made me more relaxed in those three days than I have been in a very long time.
You should try both things out for yourself sometime.
Put yourself first. Treat yo’ self.

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