Photographer’s Bucket List | Pacific Coast Highway

The photographer’s bucket list, my personal list, has taken me on an amazing journey this year!

For the first time in my life, I got to see the Pacific Ocean in California.

As far back as I can remember, as a little girl, I dreamed of traveling down Highway 1.

My husband is my biggest support system I have in my life.

He pushes me toward my dreams, and because of him, they aren’t just dreams, I am living them.

Ah the photographer’s bucket list! Do you have a place in your heart that is special to you even though you have never been there? I do. For me, that place is California. I can’t explain it, it has been this way as long as I can remember. I remember being in my childhood home and watching movies like Top Gun, The Karate Kid, Back to the Future and Pretty in Pink with my dad. Seeing the beautiful landscape and palm trees, the ocean and thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to be there. 

We used to have a big jukebox record player that had lights and huge speakers on it, it was huge, probably the size of a stand up shower if we are comparing. My dad would hold me in our kitchen, and we would dance to the Beach Boys and other awesome records. So I guess you could say that my love for this place came from my childhood, when all the people were singing about this place, and all of the movies I remember were filmed there. 

My road to El Dorado, the City of Gold, took me so long to get there. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The feeling of getting to experience this childhood fantasy land with the love of my life and best friend, is something that I can only describe as spiritual.

We were in Las Vegas, and I remember the night before, Sean asked me, “are we really driving to California in the morning?” “YES, yes we are,” I said. 

So with that, we got up early, set the GPS for Malibu and hit the road. If you’ve never driven long distances out west, I can not encourage you enough to do this. The sights are absolutely out of this world. The desert mountains of bare rock and visibility of forever is truly beautiful. 

When we arrived in Malibu Canyon, we stopped at a gas station to get a drink and a snack. The area was beautiful, and we pulled in our rental car next to a Porsche. We fit in though, we were lucky enough to have a CA license plate! I remember I was so excited to find Dorito’s that I have never seen before, Poppin’ Jalepeno LOL! P.S. they were delicious! 

After that, we drove through the canyon, and I can’t even describe to you in words how incredible it was. There are massive mountains on both sides, and the road just cuts through the middle, winding and twisting like it was dancing with nature. 

Too often we have our noses in our phones, and we rarely just live in the moment anymore. As a photographer, that is especially hard for me. I have my camera there, or my phone and I want to take video and pictures of everything I am seeing. 

When we first left the gas station. After about the 5th exchange, she said “mom, quit texting me and live in this moment, you’ve waited so long, just be there.”

To this very second as I write this for you all to read, this still brings me to tears. With that, I put my phone down, I put the window down and I just soaked it all in.

My husband and I have very similar taste in music, my range is much more broad. I plugged in the AUX cord, selected a song and told him, “yep this is happening, it has to.” LOL! We jammed out to the Beach Boys the whole way to Route 1. 

There comes a point in the road where you are up really high, and when I looked out in front of me it looked like just wide open space. Sean smiles ALL the time, which is something that is infectious and I absolutely LOVE IT. He smiled and said to me “there it is.” There what is? What? “The ocean.” WHAT? That massive thing in front of us? WOW! The view was NOTHING like anything you can experience on the east coast. 

We lost visual of it for a few minutes, and came to a red light. Turn signal on, and we made a left. 

Did that just happen? Did we really just turn onto Route 1?

I know that may seem so insignificant to some people, but not to me. I made it exactly 10 seconds before I burst into tears of joy. Do you know what that felt like? My husband was able to make one of my childhood dreams come true. This is like being a kid and dreaming of seeing outer space people. For me, my dreams weren’t to see the moon, or go to Neverland. My dream was to drive down Route 1 in California. 

Thank you, best friend, love of my life. I can’t believe I was here with you!

Everyone says the water is freezing in the Pacific Ocean, I felt the need to test this statement for myself. We parked along the side of the road in Malibu and Sean took some beautiful pictures of me. I don’t like to brag, but he did a really good job! 

I sat down to take off my shoes, and of course, Sean was curious about what I was up to.

Feeling the California sand between my toes of course! Oh, and testing out that cold water theory. 

It is true! The Pacific Ocean is freezing!

However, if you can stand to get a bath filled with ice cubes, I imagine that the water temperature out there wouldn’t faze you in the least!

We got to see some other amazing sights, the Hollywood sign, the walk of fame, and Griffith Observatory. Some of the coolest were the tunnel where they filmed the one scene in Back to the Future, and Julia Robert’s apartment in Pretty woman when she is rescued at the end by Richard Gere. 

Since we are car people, a trip to LA would not be complete without seeing Toretto’s Market from the very first Fast and the Furious movie. 

Venice beach was nice, but my favorite part of the trip was Malibu. We ate at Duke’s, a Hawaiian restaurant right on the beach, as the ocean crashed about 10 feet from our window. The best calamari I’ve ever tasted, and you know it has to be true because Sean ate some!

I hope you enjoy the photos from my personal post today, I sure did enjoy modeling for my husband! Oh and I almost forgot, getting to capture the Santa Monica Pier at night was on the photography bucket list, CHECK!


I hope you travel as much as you can, it is truly an amazing testimony on how to live life, not just go through the motions. 

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PS. My husband did an awesome job on my photos, considering I am probably the most awkward person in front of a camera! Thank you! I love you!

If you have any questions or comments about my trip, or photography related, please ask, I am very down to earth!

Until next time.

-Kim

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