This week it was off to the land of fog, colorful streets, and natural beauty around every corner. San Francisco, and California in general to me, has always been a place that intrigued me, yet never fully pulled me in. Being from Florida, I think I felt that it was just a West Coast version of what I already knew. This thinking truly couldn’t have been more wrong though, and these past 5 days I discovered a trove of adventure, unlike anything I had experienced before.
The nature that is entrenched in the lives of those who live in the Bay Area is absolutely breathtaking, and their culture of exploration and appreciation for natural resources is one that blew me away. While it may be cold, foggy, or a combination of both on most days in this city, it doesn’t hold anyone back from getting outdoors. Speaking of natural resources, everyone in the city is required to compost a certain amount each week and bags at stores will even cost you a little extra. Sustainability is built into the lives of these residents, and it makes cities I’ve lived in- where recycling isn’t even available- feel eons behind where we have the potential to be.
Exploring the Mission District and the alleys filled with murals was one of my favorite parts of the trip, and their subject matter did not disappoint. Race, politics, inequality, and gender were just a few of the topics covered that really struck home. One of my favorite quotes and pieces of advice I am holding close to me even more so lately- with white supremacy at the forefront of our political landscape- is that “Those who remain silent have chosen the side of the oppressor”. These art installations reminded me of just how important it is to make our voices heard, and also how easy it is to do so in a peaceful yet impactful way.
Lastly, I was fortunate enough to be in town for Outside Lands, a music and arts festival set in beautiful Golden Gate Park under the trees. A true celebration of peace, love, music, art, and a commitment to sustainability made this one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to. A mind-blowing statistic is that 91% of total waste from Outside Lands last year was diverted from landfills. After a weekend in SF and at this festival, my heart is truly filled to the brim and ready to take back what I’ve learned and hopefully spread some of it to the East Coast and beyond.