Horseback Riding in Ojai

California, USA

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Entering Ojai Valley is scary. I’m driving 50mph (or more) through all these twists and tight-turns with the locals driving right on my tail. Then I look out the window and all is ok. Mountain ranges with the sun just bouncing off of them creates this majestic color that looks like a postcard.

Once you say goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and start heading west you think that it’s going to get less gorgeous. But it doesn’t. Ojai Valley is just a new kind of beauty in California. This dry and sunny city is home to many vacation homes for celebrities or just crazy rich people and for good reason. There’s horse ranches galore and a great downtown area. If you love the outdoors (and the heat) and are kinda a hippie this is the place for you. With locally-grown food everywhere, farmer’s markets every Sunday, and the mountains as a constant backdrop this is undeniably an amazing place to live (and visit!).

IMG_4309Chain stores are actually prohibited by law making Ojai a great place to start a business, because the government does all it can to promote any and all local businesses. Also fun fact: Jim, from The Office, used to live there so yeah it’s pretty much the greatest place on Earth.

My boyfriend and I stopped for a burrito at Ruben’s, which was finger-lickin’ good. It’s just a cute little family run restaurant with amazingly spicy stuff. I got one of their milder burritos and it was still spicy. Luckily they have delicious Horchata so that really helps with the burn from the spices.

Then we were off for some horseback riding! I was actually kind of nervous going riding just because it was my first time and they’re pretty huge creatures. Also this sign didn’t help…

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Once I started going I had a great time! The horse I was riding on was great and our guide was amazing. My boyfriend’s horse, Chance, was quite stubborn and really slow. He really just wasn’t feeling the sun that day.

Another fun fact: Easy A was actually filmed in Ojai! The “hippie” culture here is even obvious in the movie.

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Just look at how gorgeous this area is… Like drool.

 

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Best of Spring Break Food

Alabama, Tennessee, USA, Virginia
Samoa donut from Sugar Shack in Richmond, VA

Samoa donut from Sugar Shack in Richmond, VA

Honey Lemon Chicken Schnitzel from Ol' Heidelberg in Huntsville, AL

Honey Lemon Chicken Schnitzel from Ol’ Heidelberg in Huntsville, AL

Crab and Shrimp dip at The Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville, TN

Crab and Shrimp dip at The Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville, TN

Peach Froyo with cheesecake bits, strawberries, mango flavored bubbles, and coconut flakes from Yogurt Mountain in Huntsville, AL

Peach Froyo with cheesecake bits, strawberries, mango flavored bubbles, and coconut flakes from Yogurt Mountain in Huntsville, AL

Homemade chili thing (red beans and rice with so much more) with cornbread

Homemade chili thing (red beans and rice with so much more) with cornbread

Sweet Tea (my favorite of all of Spring Break) from Urban Cookhouse in Birmingham, AL

Sweet Tea (my favorite of all of Spring Break) from Urban Cookhouse in Birmingham, AL

Ham and Pineapple Sandwich with mac and cheese on the side from Urban Cookhouse in Birmingham, AL

Ham and Pineapple Sandwich with mac and cheese on the side from Urban Cookhouse in Birmingham, AL

Fried Peach Pie from Peach Park in middle of nowhere Alabama

Fried Peach Pie from Peach Park in middle of nowhere Alabama (hidden in a gas station)

Seafood Gumbo from Doc's in Gulf Shores, AL

Seafood Gumbo from Doc’s in Gulf Shores, AL

Hush Puppies from Doc's in Gulf Shores, AL

Hush Puppies from Doc’s in Gulf Shores, AL

Pulled Pork Sandwich and Baked Beans from Lambert's Cafe in Foley, AL (home of the throwed rolls)

Pulled Pork Sandwich and Baked Beans from Lambert’s Cafe in Foley, AL (home of the throwed rolls)

Travel ≠ Far Away

Travel Tips

Hoping on an airplane and flying for twenty hours to another continent is not the only way to travel. Sometimes traveling could just be a thirty minute drive to a town you’ve never been to or even just exploring those woods behind your house. To travel does not mean you have to go far. As a college student, I’m 1) poor and 2) tight on time. While in session I don’t have the luxury to just pick up and leave for weeks at a time so in order to fill my burning desire to see the world I pick a new city I want to explore when I get restless. Going on a weekend trip New York City or day trip to a state park will do the trick to cure that urge to go far far away. After a stressful week I just like to go somewhere – whether that’s Washington DC or the Target out of town – it’s just important for me to get out of the small town I live in.

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There’s just so much to see within a ten mile radius that I always have something new to add to my list. These little trips also feel much more doable than my third trip to Africa this year or planning my study abroad trip to Italy.

When you’re bored and restless think about these possibilities…

1. The beach! I am one of those people that’s actually happy with sand all over me. The sun and the sand just make me feel so happy. Don’t think of the beach as weather permitted either because the ocean is just as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer, just maybe less sun!

2. Museums: I can guarantee that you have a free museum within a five mile radius. Although these little one-roomed museums can be dinky and may only take you five minutes to walk though, some are really worth a look. There’s a great museum in Chestertown put together by the Kent County Historical Society as well as a 45 minute audio tour at the local Customs House (which happens to be my job – handing people iPods for their tour – yay hard work…).

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3. Farmer’s Markets!! I love a good farmer’s market, which is good because that’s Chestertown’s biggest attraction.. Which is a little sad, but I’ll go with it.

4. Explore the town over – walking through a town you’ve only driven through can be quite exciting. You never know what you could find. You may find your new favorite boutique or a wonderful thrift shop – just keep looking!

5. Go to the nearest city because although I like to usually have a game plan while traveling, sometimes it’s fun to be completely spontaneous. Sometimes it rocks, but other times it backfires like when I went to Canada and I couldn’t find a hotel that would let a 19 year old stay there (for less than $100)… it was a sad day.

Just go outside and take a walk. Traveling does not have a black and white definition, there’s just all grey or maybe it’s all rainbow. Traveling is just so many different shades of the various colors of the rainbow… Somewheeeerrrreee over the rainbowwww, I will be able to go anywhere I want. Hah. I think it’s a little too late in the day to write a coherent post.

Lalasalama (goodnight in Swahili)