Design Your Life

So You Just Moved to A New City

By Aja Williams


I recently made a big life change by moving 2,669 miles across the country from D.C to Los Angeles in sunny California. I’ve visited tourist hot spots like Hollywood where the Michael Jackson imitators and the Stars invade the boulevard, but thanks to Instagram and websites like Yelp and, I’ve been able to explore the city like a local.

Now that you have settled into your new digs, and the travel bug has bit you again, consider a day trip or weekend getaway to a nearby city or town.

Taking advantage of the heat wave that swept Southern California within the first few weeks of my arrival, I took a day trip to beautiful San Diego. I’d been to San Diego on a day trip before and only beach hopped, this time I decided to take in more of the sights. I visited the historical Gaslamp Quarter, filled with bars and restaurants, shops, theaters and much more.  Also in the Gaslamp Quarter, that was a nice little surprise to me, is the professional baseball stadium – Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play. It’s a beautiful area surrounded mostly by million dollar condos, professional buildings, hotels and some restaurants.  Then I made a visit to Qualcomm stadium where the San Diego Chargers play and ended out the day at Mission Beach with a walk down the beachfront and enjoyed the sunset.

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In between your travels, try exploring your new city like a tourist while looking like a local. 

Los Angeles county offers a variety of destinations to venture out to without feeling like you’re still in L.A.  A day in Santa Monica, where the historical Route 66 ends, can consist of the pier, beach, the Third Street Promenade for some shopping, and winding down at Casa Del Mar, a luxurious hotel for a glass of wine while listening to some live music.  Who knows maybe you can see a celebrity or two!

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Thanks to Instagram I discovered other gems like Echo Park Lake and Venice Canals; I randomly saw a picture of Echo Park Lake with downtown L.A as the backdrop, it was absolutely beautiful! I had to see this place for myself.  So I ventured out on a picnic, enjoying the view and the sun, with a little nap sprinkled in. It instantly became my new go-to spot. Until Instagram shows me something better…

I was then led to the historic district of Venice Canals.  It’s not a place where you would enjoy a peaceful picnic, but you can enjoy a peaceful walk.  The canals are man-made smaller scaled replicas of the canals in Italy. The picturesque views of the arched bridges and gondola can just for a moment make you forget you are in LA.  Don’t forget your camera!

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The famed Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) that you see in movies offers outstanding views, that consist of sand and many miles of ocean views that are sure to make your jaw drop. I then discovered El Matador Beach in Malibu – again, thank you, Instagram! – that showcases the beautiful, breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. There is a rocky path that leads down to the beach, large rocks and sea caves.

I walked down the shoreline, with the water on my right and beautiful beachfront dream houses on my left. El Matador has such a romantic feel and the sunsets helped prove this; it offers such an amazingly beautiful backdrop that makes you want to be in love. I even watched a proposal in the distance and saw two couples having their marriage photos taken.

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Travel Noire

Aja Williams

My name is Aja Williams, a new resident of Los Angeles from the DMV area. Inspired by the world, I constantly daydream about the places I want to explore. As long as I can remember I have always had a desire for travel, and as I get older my passion grows and grows. A few destinations on my wish list include South Pacific islands, Greece, Turks and Caicos, and Dubai. Travelling has inspired me to share my stories and I appreciate forums like Travel Noire that expose travel within the black community. I also love solo travel as it gives me the chance to connect with, depend on, and trust only myself. As I travel more, I'm working to go beyond being a tourist and become a traveller, by immersing myself in different cultures. My life motto is "just go!"

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