Hello Los Angeles!
Where should I begin? My name is Casha Doemland. I am a twenty-two year old Los Angeles transplant from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for writing and traveling. Don’t worry, I did not come to Los Angeles to fulfill my long lost dream of becoming a screenwriter or working in the film industry, even though it definitely crossed my mind a few times.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s date back to what brought me to Los Angeles. About a year ago I visited my cousin, Paco, for about two weeks to venture this city, the one I was born in but never had the opportunity to venture or know. With the help of her wonderful band, Sweet Bump It and her girlfriend, Jenn Pablo, I received the local feel of Los Angeles I had been daydreaming about. I left with an abundance of memories and a huge inkling to return to the City of Angels. I boarded my plane back to Atlanta and told myself I would return in a year, and well here I am.
I began preparation for the move the day I returned to Atlanta and continued to do so until the day I left. The first step was to create a savings account just for the big cross country move, and well, living of course. After that, I needed to complete my associate’s degree in hospitality management and finish out my lease. With those three steps out of the way, it was just a matter of counting down the days and enjoying the city and my loved ones.
A few tips and tricks for when you are packing, purge your room! If you haven’t touched it in six months, you probably do not need it. So, a week before my departure, I did just that. I rid myself of the clutter I had been hoarding for years. I packed all of my clothes in a plastic bin, which just barely fit in my car, and jammed my shoes around it. I brought some of my favorite films, a few Star Wars memorabilia and a couple more pieces of home. There is only so much that can be squeezed and maneuvered into my Honda civic, aka The GeeeWizard mobile or GeeeWiz for short.
Then all too quickly, the twenty-third of February arrived and it would be the last day I spent with my family, and in Georgia for a while. I spent the morning with my mom and my twin due to the fact that both my father and older sister had to work. No worries, we all met for dinner and board game night where we played Monopoly for hours. I always seem to lose, it does not matter the strategy. When the phone call from Estlea came in, I knew it was time to pack majority of the car and say good night (Estela is a close friend and also my partner in crime for the cross country road trip; super rad chick, always laughter when she is around).
We woke up around four thirty the next morning and it was time to say my final goodbyes to my family. Estela and I hopped out of bed, placed my final belongings in the car and pulled out of the driveway. The game plan was to take the I-40, which would take us through Alabama, Mississippi, the corner of Tennessee, Arkansas and straight through Oklahoma.
Estela grabbed the first shift as I said goodbye to the city of Atlanta, with the lights of the skyscrapers leading the way. Our first pit stop was at a quaint park in front of a library in Little Rock. With a strong and chilly breeze, we ran across the bridge and back. We attempted to stop at a few other parks, but they were too far off the main highway and we had a ways to go.
The next pit stop was in Oklahoma City for dinner at Kitchen No. 324 (which was absolutely marvelous by the way). We roamed the city streets for a few minutes to stretch our legs and then we were en route to the hotel in Amarillo, Texas. With four hours left, our energy began to fade and all we wanted was to be out of the car. It was a slow slow four hours. Once we finally arrived, I checked us in and had Estela park the car. We began unloading my backseat and as I started walking to the hotel, all I hear is a muffled scream of my name. I turn around to find Estela face down in the pavement, laughing hysterically but not moving an inch. I immediately start laughing as I scurry back and lend a hand, but she just rolls the other way and lays there for a few minutes (don’t worry, all is well).
Our bodies hit the sheets as soon as we got to the room, with twenty one hours and over a thousand miles behind us, we earned it.
We woke up the next morning with Page, Arizona being the end destination in mind. With only ten hours ahead of us that day, we would make the most of it. The first pit stop was a picnic area in Vega, Texas just to stretch our legs and get a view for the scenery. This would also be the location where my car got a dimple because I thought it would be a smart idea to sit on the roof.
The next pit stop was a gas station with pumps from the seventies. There was a lever on the side, price and gallons that ticked. The pump did not have an automatic stop, but I thought if I only put ten dollars in, everything would be groovy. Well, I was sadly mistaken my friends, because gas poured out all over my car, and inevitably my feet. I walked it off by venturing to the railroad tracks where Estela and I had a mini photoshoot before hopping back into the car. We drove until we reached Petroglyph National Monument. Fun fact: it is only two dollars to park, and the hike to the top is brief but beyond beautiful so I highly recommend the short pit stop.
The remainder of the day would be long, and little did we know, restaurant free. We trekked from six in the evening until midnight. The roads to Page were back highways with single lanes and a gas station every forty to fifty miles. With only an hour left, I began to doze off. I woke up to Estela slamming on the breaks and a quick jerk of the wheel. When I asked her what was wrong, she looked at me a little crazy and said, “Do you not see the white semi in front of us?” I did not, because the road was completely empty with nothing but pitch black surrounding us. I advised her to pull over and switch spots with me because it was obvious she had hit her point of exhaustion. She pulled over into a gas station, and I tried to pump gas, only to figure out the pumps were turned off. We drove in silence the rest of the way, checked into the hotel and hit the sheets once again.
On the final day of our trek, we woke up ready to see Antelope Canyon only to discover it was tour-only and sold out all morning. With Los Angeles on my mind, I suggested we go to Horseshoe Bend instead. We drove the fifteen minutes to the gravel parking lot, walked the three-fourths of a mile to a view that took my breath away. We spent an hour sitting along the edge, masking in the beauty formed by nature. Then our stomachs decided we had better get some breakfast. Fun fact: Arizona does not participate in day light savings time, so my phone switched back and forth constantly and I never knew the correct time. After breakfast we drove straight to Zion National Park in Utah. We hiked two areas, drove around the entire park and hit the gift shop before dipping out. Although I recommend camping overnight or at least giving yourself a full day to explore the park for there are several hiking trails and just an abundance of nature to see.
Utah is also where we discovered that my air conditioner was on the fritz, so it was windows down and the sun blazing all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada. We parked in the Palazzo parking deck, popped up to the casino and lost some money. People are right, you begin with the slot machines and it’s a vortex, you are sucked in. After I pried Estela off the machine, we made our way to Los Angeles. With forty minutes left, we made our final stop for gas and In n Out Burger. We ate, jammed to music and made the most of the last leg. Paco greeted us at the door and helped unpack the GeeeWiz mobile.
My first few weeks in Los Angeles were nothing I could have imagined. I was reunited with my best friend, Bryce, and so incredibly happy to be in the same state as him again. I created a few new friendships, and attended some general assembly panels where I met the raddest people. I ventured to Joshua Tree and San Francisco, which you will hear about later. I began walking the most adorable cocker spaniel two times a week. And finally, I met Sarah, who got me off the unemployment list. Sarah is the founder of Hello, Adventure, a travel company catered to creatives, entrepreneurs, adventures and well everyone in between. For the company I scout trips and run all the social marketing. It’s an awesome gig for which I am incredibly blessed to have because it is making all my little dreams come true.
Now that you are up to speed on what brought me here, bring yourself on back to my blog to read about my stories and blurbs not only in the City of Angeles, but as I travel throughout the world with Hello, Adventure.