5 Brilliant Things about California

We in California often take for granted how lucky we are to live in this state.  Yes, it is the most populous state in the Union, but there are still vast stretches of untouched wilderness that we can all enjoy.  Sadly, as a result of my economic troubles, I have forgotten what an amazing state we live in.  But lately, little things have reminded me, and have made me more than appreciative.  For we live in the Golden State.  There are countless reasons to love California, but here are my top 5.

1. I’ve been around the world, but some of the best hiking I have ever found is in California.  From the trails of the Ventana Wilderness to the towering peak of Mt. Shasta, from the colossal dunes of Death Valley to the redwoods of Humboldt County,  the variety of terrains that you encounter is staggering.  From the rolling hills near Paso Robles to the coastline trails of Central California (with views of the incredible Bixby Bridge), this great state has everything to offer in terms of hiking.  So for the denizens of California, open your eyes and realize how beautiful your state is.  And its beauty should be preserved at all costs.

2. California…is just hip.  Like New York, California is always at the forefront of styles and trends, but at a much more laid back pace.  San Francisco is one of the epicenters of cool.  A beautiful city with quaint cafes and happening dive bars, you are not going to find another city that is both perpetually dynamic and terminally laid back at the same time.  Los Angeles is a series of towns that grew cancerously and collided.  A veritable concrete jungle.  Ghettos border the affluent neighborhoods in a Gordion Knot of urban civilization.  Yet, a few miles away lie the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Observatory, so its easy to escape the press of modern Los Angeles.  The arts thrive in this megalopolis…if you are willing to take the time to search.

3. Surfing.  The rocky coastline of California affords some of the best surfing in the Northern Hemisphere.  From the monster waves of Mavericks to the rocky beaches of Malibu, California has it all.  If you are a beginning surfer, there is probably no better place than Cowells in Santa Cruz County.  If you are a history buff, then why not travel down to San Onofre, one of the classic old school surfing spots of California?  But beware…some of these places have a particularly bad undertow, and are overly fond of eating tourists hailing from the MidWest.  Do not underestimate the awesome power of the tidal forces.

4. Weather.  Really.  Do I need to even list this one?  California weather is unbelievable.  Sun, sun, sun (well, apart from this year).  Most places only experience two seasons: spring and fall.  And a California spring is phenomenal.  I still have yet to see anything more beautiful than Steinbeck country after the rains.  The green rolling hills of the Central Coast broken up by the Ventana Wilderness.  The summers.  Oh, the summers.  Inland, yes, it may be a bit unbearable, particularly in the Palm Springs area, but the coast is unbelievable.  Warm breezes in the day, and the rolling fog at night…unbeatable.  The rustic feel of Carmel Valley, and the chorus of frogs at night as the fog rolls in…this is home.  And those of us who have had the fortune to live here are truly blessed.

5. Silicon Valley.  We are in the midst of a revolution my friends.  The Farming Revolution is over.  The Industrial Revolution had its day.  Now, enter the Information Revolution.  And Silicon Valley is still its epicenter.  This is (or at least once was) where the shit gets done.  The blueprints drawn up.  Yes, sadly we may now outsource the bulk of the manufacturing to China and the Philippines, but Silicon Valley is still the idea hub.  Faster, smaller processors?  Ipad 3?  Better CCD chips?  You name it.  This is the place that is leading humanity into a new ag, an age that is illuminating the farthest corners of space.

Written by Matthew Millan

Matthew Millan is a writer/filmmaker residing in Los Angeles, California.  His background is in physics and history, and he tutors on the side, so he has developed an integrated approach that stretches across many disciplines.  He is particularly interested in the evolutionary and disevolutionary nature of civilizations, a theme that continues to surface within the body of his work.


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