From Sea to Shining Sea

cambriaWe did it! As we drove across the Bay Bridge yesterday—from Oakland to San Francisco—my daughter and I gave each other high fives. Minutes later, after lugging her heavy footlocker up two flights of stairs, we stood together on the porch of her new home. We already agreed we’d make it short and sweet—we’d had a week, we agreed in the car. Best week ever, by the way.

Earlier in the week in Chicago, my daughter and her best friend watched the last episode, the college graduation episode, of Gilmore Girls. In that episode, Lorelei irons frantically to keep from getting too emotional about Rory leaving for her post-grad dream job. After our hug, I started to walk away, then I went back for a second hug. I told my daughter it was time for me to start ironing… so I got back in the car, cranked the music, and drove some more—to Cambria, California.

I spent the night alone in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I didn’t sleep well, and every time I woke up I could hear the crashing surf. It made me feel every one of the 3,200 miles I was from home. It’s pretty weird being alone after the week in the car with constant companionship. But I won’t be alone for long. Today, after breakfast, I’ll head out for another two days of driving, to meet first one then another of my blogging friends! Then back to Colorado for another visit with long-time friends.

Then? I’ll head back to Maine, although I’m not sure exactly which way the open road will take me. As I wrote in my bi-monthly post on Writer Unboxed today—the drive across the country has been one of the best ways I could imagine to spark story ideas, and I am allowing myself to be open to the stories I find along the open road.

Here’s to more stories and to my first day of solo travels! (And here’s to my daughter’s first day on her new job! You go, girl!!)




  1. Cheers to you, Julia. Another milestone, and a hard one, but the writing fruit is already ripening.

  2. Shary says:

    I love Cambria and I can just imagine the sound of the ocean outside your window. Must have been weird to be solo all of a sudden, though. You won’t feel alone driving through L.A. 🙂 Fingers crossed for light traffic.

  3. Barb Riley says:

    *clinks raised glass* Here’s to your daughter, right back atcha! I wish you safe travels and more adventures on your journey back to Maine. 🙂

  4. Christine M Grote says:

    Awwww. The second hug got me. You’re a great mother and a brave woman. Have a safe and enjoyable drive home.

  5. So glad you met your final destination. You and the daughter were far more composed than I was when I left my mom and moved, permanently, from PA to Arizona. That was one long plane ride, filled with tears. And my dad later reported that my mom cried the rest of the day… all of this despite our “agreement” that we were going to pretend I was just “going on a trip.” ha ha.

    I can’t wait to see how your story ideas manifest!

  6. What a wonderful gift you’ve given each other, memories to last a lifetime. Can just imagine how your writing will be the richer for having done so.

  7. Oh well done, Julia, for getting to this stage. I can imagine how hard it was to leave dort. Glad you have your blogging visits to look forward to, and all those other unexpected sights and sounds along the way too xo

  8. I…love…road…trips!!! What amazing memories you’ve created for the both of you! Thank you so much for taking us along for the ride and can’t wait to read about the solo ride back. I hear Kansas is beautiful this time of year. 😉

  9. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Glad you both made it there safe, Julia!

  10. This trip is the best of both worlds, Julia. On the way to California, you had the opportunity of constant companionship and conversation that germinates story ideas. Now, on the way home, you have the chance to reflect and let those ideas swirl around in only the way that solitude can bring them to fruition.
    Safe travels!

  11. How beautiful. I need to live within a half days drive to the sea. Not that I do it often – but want to know that I can do it if I want to. I’m with you on not thinking about leaving your daughter a country’s drive between you. Mom is selling the house I grew up in and I keep trying not to dwell on that. We’ve got to live in moment, right? And our moments are pretty wonderful.