SoCal so far: rain, shine, challenges, and beauty


Wow, how did more than three weeks go by since my last post? Time flies in the sunshine, I guess…

Actually, however, the first week of my time in San Diego County was marred by almost constant rain. It was a “trial by flood” for me: so painful to leave the rain of Portland to reach the sun down here, and yet have my familiar pattern repeat itself: this was at least the fourth or fifth time in the past dozen years that my “sunny winter SoCal getaway” has turned out to be rainy and/or cold, despite continual protestations from the locals that “this never happens here!”

Honestly, that was a rough week for me, not least because the rain also seemed to prevent my host’s internet from working well (we’re not in Portland anymore, folks!) so I forfeited a good chunk of my projected week’s Cambly earnings when I was simply unable to connect to the platform. (Foreshadowing, as it turned out—more on that below.)

But after forcing me to endure that meteorological “hazing” week, the weather gods relented, and since then it has been mostly sunny skies and warm temps, and I am loving every minute of it!

I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of the past three weeks, but here is a brief summary:

I stayed for just over a week with some wonderful hosts in Carlsbad. (That’s Kimberly holding the umbrella over us outside her front door, shortly before she departed for her excursion to Antarctica!)

I have sat for three adorable cats so far: Lily the ebony beauty in Escondido, Theo the gorgeous tabby in University Heights, and Phifey the snuggly cutie here in Mission Bay. (Theo was lucky he was so pretty—his youthful antics tested my patience daily! The other two kitties, though, were a sitter’s dream: snuggly cuteness coupled with easygoing personalities. At this very moment, in fact, Phifey is fast asleep, snuggled up against my leg here on the couch.)

I have been out and about to reconnect with a number of friends from over the years, and to see many beautiful natural places.

Those places include the Bottle Peak County Preserve;

the San Diego Botanic Garden;

a couple of parks and beaches in Encinitas;

the San Diego Japanese Friendship Garden;

Mission Bay;

and La Jolla, including a lovely bike path and Seal Cove!

This pic of my muddy rig is from the Coaster, the regional-transit train between San Diego and Oceanside to the north.

That was the day I moved from Carlsbad to University Heights, and got thoroughly soaked. (In a bizarre twist, almost all of my moves between hosts or sits here have taken place on the few rainy days we have had. You could almost set a clock to it. I’m heading up north of LA day after tomorrow, on the 2nd, and rain is predicted once again, after nearly two weeks of sunshine. I will have an all-day multimodal journey by bicycle and multiple trains on that day.)

Remarkably, though, kind friends and hosts have offered me rides on some of those rainy days, saving me from soggy misery. But that one day (and, I fear, this coming Saturday) I faced the elements on my own. Thank goodness for rain gear, transit vehicles that can accommodate my rig, and space heaters to dry out waterlogged shoes at the end of the day!

The sunshine has indeed been the balm for my soul that I had hoped for. However, my time here has not been devoid of challenges, beyond the weather and transportation.

My finances are once again stressing me out. I have less savings in my emergency fund now than at any point since I began my travels in September of 2021. Coming down here by train cost me a pretty penny. I gauged it to be a worthwhile expense, given how strongly I wanted to not only be in a different weather pattern, but also to prove to myself that I was making progress in my life goal to do so. (Living multiple months of the winter here has been my goal for at least the past twelve years, and this is my first time to actually do it. Woohoo!!)

I therefore don’t regret the expenditure, but it has been made all the harder when unexpected extra expenses have arisen, such as higher cost for OsteoStrong’s monthly membership in California, coupled with the three-month moratorium on selling the plasma I used to sell to fund that, as a result of my December colonoscopy. The most recent shock, though, was receiving Cambly’s email the other day, notifying me that as of March 11th, their website will no longer be accessible from California. (Despite the fact that Cambly is based in California, the company has run afoul of the state’s labor laws, since they pay only $10.20 per hour, well below the state’s minimum wage, and also treat workers as contractors rather than employees.)

I can appreciate that the state of California wants to do right by workers; that is commendable. However, since nearly all my meager income does derive from that tutoring work, I will now be out about $500 for one month, at the same time that some of my expenses have increased.


It’s hard to know what kind of work I can do to fill in, in the meantime before I get back to Oregon and will be able to use Cambly again.

I am necessarily nomadic at this point, so anything I do can’t feasibly be in-person work. I have tried applying for online data annotation work, but I don’t think I passed their screening test, because I never heard back. I have tried offering some paid travel consulting or by-donation life coaching sessions online, but had little response. (One person did take me up on it, and we had a great session—if you’re reading, dear travel planner, thank you for that!)

In addition, another wonderful friend “fairy godfunded” me a $250 Amtrak gift card(!) which is allowing me to comfortably take a trip up north of Los Angeles for about a week and a half, since I hadn’t been able to find any cat sits nor hosts in the San Diego area for that particular gap.

This is exactly the sort of support I appreciate the most—it is directly aligned with both my work in the world, and my joy in the world.

That is the “prize” I’m keeping my eye on: to care deeply for myself and keep my self-care and joy as a priority, while also committing myself to doing my work in the world, to make this a better place for us all.

In that vein, I am continuing to do magical meetings with folks around the world, including—just this past week—South Africa, New Zealand, and Utah. From one of those folks—a fellow Servas member—I learned of two intriguing overseas possibilities I may look into: NALCAP, for tutoring English in person, in Spain(!) and Peace Boat, an amazing-sounding ship based in Japan that sails the world in service of peace and intercultural understanding; they are also seeking English teachers.

I’m keeping my eye out for opportunities for “day job” kinda stuff (let me know if you know of anything that might be a good fit) and I’m also continuing to lean into trust that my heart is my compass, and it knows what I am to do on this earth, and that if I keep committing and re-committing myself to it, the material resources I need will find me, as I need them. (Know any fairy godfunders who may feel a resonance with my journey? Feel free to introduce us!)

As always, thanks to you all for witnessing and supporting me in my journey. I wish you all a magical March!

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