9. ENCINITAS, CA

For several months leading up to this trip falling asleep has been a challenge. Not because I am preoccupied with a cornucopia of vacation fantasies — nay — apparently that seems too obvious for my overactive brain.

Instead, just before submitting to a final, deep sleep, my restless mind activates each night with heart-pounding scenarios overwhelmed by the ocean, often times in shark-infested waters.

If you know me at all, you know that my need for order and control can sometimes border outrageous. I make no apologies, it’s how I’m wired and I’m certain it’s the basis for some of my best parts. However, when combined with a month-long stint away from the office, it doesn’t take Freud to diagnose an obvious case of pre-travel anxiety.


Could I really go away for an entire month without a full-on panic attack?


Sadly, these unwelcome “dreams” followed me onto the road as I regularly jolted myself away from sleep every other night. After a day in the oceans of San Diego, I began to worry whether I’d be able to coax myself back into the water during the remainder of our trip along the California coast.

The morning we departed for Ventura we made an unplanned stopped in Encinitas, CA for breakfast. For the extent of our meal, we sat within ear shot of a play date of moms. with the alpha sharing the dramatic retelling of a documentary featuring the hunt for a ruthless, man-eating shark. So there I sat, in the picturesque, sun-soaked patio whittling away at my omelet, trying to ignore the horrors of the frenzied, flesh-crazed killer as they foot-paced by our table measuring the expanse of it’s 30-foot body, heel to toe.

The alpha mom finished her story just in time for me to soak up a few drops of sun before pushing away our plates. A sliver of silence to enjoy the perfect weather, a delicious cup of coffee and a fresh pastry — a near perfect pitstop. 

Dramatic interpretation aside, Encinitas was still an unexpected, amazing stop. It immediately sealed my appreciation for the West Coast and shuffled itself to the top of the “Places to Revisit” deck. 

As we safely passed chocolates shops and artsy boutiques on our return to the car, I wondered if surviving the morning’s shark-week-inspired tales would be an exorcism of sorts for my dark dreams? 

More than a week into the trip, I continued to wake each morning surprisingly unscathed from sleep. It would seem that neither I, nor the world (in this scenario the world is Social), would meet an untimely death on account of this trip. 

Perhaps just having the courage to stay the course would mean that I would live to see another day… and, someday soon, another ocean.