Melany

Hollywood Hills: Adventure on the top!

Hollywood Hills: Adventure on the top!

A lot of people often ask me: “What was you favourite day, part, city, moment… during your journey to Cali?”

I am always struggling. I had so many wonderful moments, that I can’t really choose one. But I would love to share a moment that I consider one of the best. I’m talking about the hike on top of the Hollywood hills, behind the Hollywood sign. That day, me and some friends who I had met at the hostel where I was staying and working at, decided to hike, up to the top of the hills, and wait for the sunset.

I was thrilled by this new adventure but I didn’t really know what to expect from it… I only knew it was a really long walk about 2/3 hours walking uphill, and from there I could see a beautiful landscape.

We started walking… it was soooo hot that I thought I was going to melt, we were really tired but a step more meant also less time to arrive to destination. While walking, we understood that we were getting closer, since we saw the sign from a really close prospective; this is what I captured from it:

Hollywood sign

That wasn’t enough for us, we wanted to reach the highest point, so we continued walking and at a certain point, without even realizing it, we were at the top. Behind the “HOLLYWOOD” sign. We couldn’t believe it. It was just too unreal to be real. It was a view that you usually see in the movies, those types of views which make you say “it’s a photoshop” or “yeah it’s fake”…. but this time it wasn’t. We were all standing in front of such an amazing scenery.

We inevitably started taking pictures.. a friend of mine took a picture of me right behind the sign, this is it:

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So pretty right? It doesn’t really capture the incredulous emotions I felt in that moment.. but it seizes the beauty I had behind myself, and it’s worth seeing.

I’ll be honest: I felt as if I was the queen of the world at that moment. I was on the other side of the world, on top of a Hollywood hill, behind one of the most famous american cultural icons. I felt special and lucky. It made me think about life… We had to walk so much, we almost wanted to give up because we couldn’t take it anymore, we were tired and hot. But we overcame our problems and arrived at the top. Life is really similar to this walk: we suffer, we are confused and want to give up on our dreams and objectives because most of the times they can be too difficult or don’t show us the results we are especting… but it’s right after this confusing and effortful moment that the developments arrive, and it feels just awesome.

Ok well, time to stow the gab….. this wasn’t even the best part! The best arrived when the sun slowly started to disappear, creating a magical effect in the sky. Orange, red, pink, purple tints enfolded the sky and the hills. I felt as if I was a Disney movie main character. These pictures I took, partially grasp what I saw:

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It looks just so unreal…. as if someone coloured the sky.

I was seriously stunned by this natural beauty.

When the sun completely disappeared, we were coiled by a black sky that didn’t give us the possibility to see anything so we slowly had to go downhill. While walking we realized that we were getting closer to the city and we could admire the Los Angeles night atmosphere, which is truly uncomparable.

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That day was perfect. I had an incredible time.

I learned that we should just go on adventures, just try, see, explore everything we can while we’re able to! Life has so much to give.

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Traveling in a group and Traveling alone: why I prefer the second choice

Traveling in a group and Traveling alone: why I prefer the second choice

Traveling changes you deeply.

When you travel: you discover wonderful places, usually so different from the reality you’re used to see everyday; you taste different food, usually more appetizing than what you’re used to eat; you learn contrasting cultures, which appear way more interesting than your own ones. Everything seems so beautiful because it’s just so new to you, you get excited with what you see, smell, touch. It looks like what you do has a different meaning, has a different flavour. All you experience feels so amazing, but this is not the best part of traveling. You don’t only get to know a different culture, history, gastronomy… you also get to know yourself.

You take a journey into yourself, you understand who you really are and what you really want from life.

This is possible because you can take a lot of moments for yourself, in a different reality. You are always the same person, but the environment changes completley. This is the biggest of the challenges. You spend all your life trying to understand who you are in your city of birth…. and all of a sudden you get to do this all over again in a foreign country. When you travel, inevitably, you will reconsider yourself. You will feel more free to be “the you without filters”. New capabilities will reveal and some fears will just disappear.

This is where you can feel the difference between traveling alone and traveling in a group.

Traveling in a group

When you set for this type of trip, of course you will have the time of your life! You won’t have a lot of problems, you already have friends that you can trust, you have people to hang out with, to visit the city and share your emotions! If you don’t feel comfortable with the people you get to meet during your adventure you know you can always count on the people you came with, they have your same flight, they won’t abandon you and you won’t have to say goodbye forever.

The biggest issue you could experience is that not everyone wants to do and visit the same thing. Your group may not want to go to the beach and chill like you do, maybe they want to hike on top of a mountain, or maybe just go around the city and taste all the typical food. You have to deal with everyone’s desire. This can be negative but positive as well; your traveling palls could lead you to experience moments that, if alone, you wouldn’t have.

Traveling alone

Traveling alone is totally different. From the moment you decide to book the flight on your own, leave your city with your self company and realize the only person that will stay with you during your journey is yourself.. everything changes.

From this moment, the only person you can count on is yourself. You’re the only one you can trust and who can deal with your problems. You’re also the supervisor of your own trip. You can decide what you want to visit, to eat, to explore. You can decide your timetable, wake up when you feel like, without following a group schedule. You are free to decide how to organize your plans.

What really makes the big difference though, is that you learn sooo much about yourself. Not having a choice, you get to discover a side of you, that you didn’t even know about. The strong, wild, independent, crazy, happy, sociable, powerful, fearless side.  Unavoidably you will be in difficult situations, but your only alternative is to face them. I would have never imagined being able to overcome some issues, but I did. And this increased my self confidence and self esteem so much.

This is not all! You can choose to make new friends, and make them know you for what you really want to be. You can start again, be a new you or just the real you. No one can judge you for your past, everyone you meet has the power to know just the present and the future version of you.

Of course I prefer traveling alone. It’s the best way to be real, and to experience a new form of ourselves.

 

 

 

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Make a plan, follow it, take the trip!

Make a plan, follow it, take the trip!

Taking a long-term trip starts with the decision of doing it.

I swear this is the most difficult part. When you decide to be adventurous, to take the risk, to change your life, to be determined in realizing your dreams.. you already took the first step towards the destination. It seems easy but it’s not. Deciding to leave everything behind… your family, friends, bed, wardrobe, routine. It’s not easy at all! You have to convince yourself that you’re going to start all over again, without nothing and no one besides your own self. Taking a trip means taking a risk. So before taking this risk you have to ask yourself “Are you ready for this?!” If you really want it and if the positives aspects are more important than the negative ones, this means you’re ready to go.

I was ready to take my risk, or better… to follow my dream!

Since the first time I had been there, I’ve always dreamt about going back to that beautiful place which I hadn’t had the chance to live fully. I’m talking about California. The golden state, the place where everything can happen, where dreams come true and the sun always shines.

From the moment I decided to take my journey, and was firm with it, nothing counted anymore. I just wanted to plan everything and bring my vision to life. It’s like with a dance choreography, when you get your own inspiration, the only thing that matters is making that mind image become concrete, creating dance and emotion.. same with a story, you have it in mind but only when you start writing it or screenplaying it, it really comes to life. Taking a trip is the same. You can dream it, imagine it.. but it’s when you seriously start planning it and you are 100% sure of what you’re doing that the real trip starts.

So I planned everything.

When you plan, you have to make sure you don’t forget anything. You have to study every detail. “What’s the weather like in the place I’m about to go? Shall I bring summer clothes, winter clothes or both?” But besides this, you have to be informed about legal policies, such as the visas needed to enter the state and health care policies. This is really important and it can take you a while before you understand what you really need and eventually how to get it. After this boring and bureaucratic part, you can finally start organizing the fun part. Going shopping, preparing your camera, your headphones, your playlist for the plane trip, your notebook where you will write your emotions, the little gifts that your friends gave you before leaving as a lucky charm and so on.

Ok so.. suitcase ready, visa, self insurance, passport in the bag… camera, notebook in the backpack and playlist ready to play the first song (“Hotel California” in my case). Sounds like everything is done and we’re fully ready to start our adventure. But… here comes one of the most difficult part of leaving: the actual part of it. Saying goodbye to everyone, realizing that you don’t know when you’re going to see them again, and mostly.. realizing that now you there’s no turning back. This is the moment where you really start believing that what you dreamt about is actually becoming reality, and it is so scary that you’re starting to think if it will be worth it, if you took the right decision, if you can make it. Trust me. You definitely can! If you arrived at this point, this means you can do it, and you will!

So don’t overthink! Just say goodbye to your loved ones and don’t suppose that you’re abandoning them, think that you’re being an example of strength, courage and inspiration for all. Because this is what you are. During your journey you will always have to remember that what you’re doing is not easy at all. A lot of people may confuse trip with holiday, but you’re not leaving for a vacation. You are taking a journey into yourself. You are trying to discover a new reality in order to grow and learn. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. And this is what really matters.

When you look into yourself and really understand why you are doing all this, you will be ready to go on your plane and start your adventure. It won’t just be an adventure, it will change you completely. Change the way you see people, the way you see the world but mostly.. the way you see yourself. You will understand so many things about your soul and personality that unavoidably you will question yourself  on who was the person living inside your body all of those years up to this new version of you. I can’t explain with words why this transformation happens, only we who experience it can really understand, but it happens.. and it’s the most beautiful, powerful, fulfilling sensation ever. You will feel indestructable and from this moment on, nothing will stop you!

All you have to do is chase your dreams, be strong enough to believe in them and don’t make anything or anyone hold you down.

So make a plan, follow it, take the trip.. and let the world and yourself see the new powerful, self-confident version of you!

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