The Spirited Wanderer: San Diego / by Jessica Ballerstein

As many may know I love to travel. It's literally (other than God, my family etc.) my favorite thing in the world. I travel for many reasons. Those you may not know me would probably think I travel for the sake of social media. For those people, they are half right, and I'll tell you why further on. 

The reasons I travel are purely genuine. I am a person who isn't fulfilled by materialistic things. I can go crazy over a jacket for weeks but once I get it, I'm over it. There have been so many examples where I really want something but once I attain it I am completely over it. Sometimes I feel regret for blowing money on it. For example, I remember a couple years ago I couldn't stop myself from purchasing a Juicy Couture bag for $300. Literally within days of using it, I couldn't stand it anymore to the point I started to think the bag was the ugliest bag in the world. The void was never filled with material things. 

|Collect Moments, Not things |

 When I travel and experience these places its a moment in life that cannot be lost, broken, or discarded. When I visit different areas and places, I go with an open mind. I don't look at it as just a vacation, but also as a learning experience. For instance, whenever I travel I never want to rent a car, unless there is no public transportation in that area. I love seeing how the locals get around. I want to feel what its like to live there even if it's just for a moment. I want to know what the locals eat. Where are the hotspots? What is the most popular landmark? What is the culture like? etc.

Other than my memory another way I capture moments while in another town, state, or country is with my camera. I am a photographer. I love capturing pictures wherever I go because every picture tells a story. A story I am always willing to share with people around me. The people around me are now through social media. I can't fathom going a place without taking pictures and sharing the beauty of the place. If I don't share my art through photography how will my circle know how beautiful and unique the place is?  So yes, I take pictures for social media so people can see the wonders of the world.



The first place I traveled to once I was financially fit to do so was San Diego, California. It was my first time being on a plane unaccompanied by my mother. The tickets were really cheap considering I was traveling from the east to west coast.  I went with my close friend at the time and quickly realized I'm better off going on solo trips (that's a story for another blog lol). Nevertheless, I took it upon myself to figure out where the nearest public transit was then went exploring!

Coronado, San Diego, CA (2013)

Coronado, San Diego, CA (2013)

Old Town, San Diego (2013)

Old Town, San Diego (2013)

During our visit, we stayed at a Hotel in Chula Vista. The neighborhood was a pretty decent but the attractions were mostly in the downtown area. I decided to take a trolley to the closest town to the downtown area which was Old Town. I smiled cheek to cheek once I got off the trolley. Old Town was full of vibrant colors of the Mexican Culture. The area was riddled with Mexican restaurants, souvenir, art, and I loved every bit of it!

After exploring Old Town I purchased a pass for a hop on and hop off Old Town Trolley Tour. I paid about $35 for the tour and I really felt it was worth it. The tour would make stops around San Diego's attractions such as the Marina, Seaport Village, Horton Plaza, Gaslamp and a couple more. I would definitely do that tour again. The tour enabled me to walk around and see more of the towns. Other than Old Town, my other favorite location was Hotel del Coronado. I'm a lover of beaches and pretty places and Hotel del Coronado was definitely one! The beach was beautiful as well as the people! They were super friendly and enthusiastic to help me find the top-notch restaurants and boutiques! I love myself an awesome boutique or bookstore, that's where I find the best souvenirs to take back home. 

I spent a huge chunk of time in Coronado then decided to keep exploring more parts of San Diego. I made my way to Horton Plaza which was the biggest and most popular mall in San Diego, I was honestly unimpressed. Not saying the mall itself wasn't impressive I just personally don't find the joy in window shopping and/ or buying clothes I can find back home. Ya feel meh? I definitely got myself a back and foot massage and it was worth it! You know what else was worth it? The money I spent on Mexican snacks and food! 

When I made my way back to Old Town I stopped by a restaurant called Cafe Coyote on San Diego Ave. Hands down the BEST Mexican food I've had thus far! I ordered one of the Coyotes Favorites which was called Fajita Fiesta with shrimp, Fresh red & green bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms sauteed shrimp. Served sizzling with beans, sour cream and guacamole! it was so good I ordered another plate to go!

Other than those things mentioned above I did a lot of walking. I got more cardio than I expected because I didn't know San Diego would be so hilly. I knew it was a city for little hills here and there but the hills felt more like mountains! They were so steep every time the trolley went down a hill my heart raced. Overall my trip to San Diego was great, it could have been better if I had more time and a better travel companion (no shade). Either way, I made the best of my time there and definitely plan on going again in the near future.