California Dreaming

California Dreaming | hawk + pearl

I’ve been back in New York for about three days now after fulfilling my dream of going to California (hence why I haven’t posted anything on here in a little while).


One week spent on the other side of the country is not long enough. I knew it would be different over there, but I didn’t comprehend just how different it could be until I went and found out for myself.

In California, random people will smile and say “hello” to you and treat you kindly. Meals are made with natural/organic, local ingredients, and there’s free detox water composed of lemon, cucumber, and mint leaves in most shops. Veggie burgers are available for substitution by default in every restaurant. Mountains encompass beaches and overlook freeways. Sunshine and warm weather is an everyday norm. There are hiking trails with scenic views and tons of active people occupying the paths.

Biggest problem? The traffic. I think that actually may be California’s only problem aside from the looming threat of an earthquake or tsunami at any given moment.

If you smile at a stranger in New York, there’s a 50/50 chance of reciprocation. There’s a 100% chance of struggling to find a healthy restaurant that isn’t one of the three spots you regularly frequent. Annual weather alternates between cool, freezing cold, warm, and boiling hot. Gyms are our main location of activity because nature trails are in short supply.

Okay, so New York truly doesn’t suck as much as I’m making it out to. Sure, it has its negatives, but on the flip side, it definitely has its perks.

Diners are open 24/7 or until 3am. Bars serve alcohol past 10pm and are open later than 2am. We have AMAZING pizza and bagels. We also have changing seasons (if you’re into that kinda thing). If you live on Long Island like I do, there’s the valuable and oftentimes-taken-for-granted luxury of having everything within the span of a 40 minute drive, including but not limited to water, the city, farm life, and suburbia. There aren’t many people living in the US who can say they have that.

Overall, the sights, the people, the food, the culture, the art — the only word I could think of to describe California is inspiring. Everything is so full of life and emotion and passion and I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.

Although I love New York because it’s my home, I want to go back out and continue exploring. This world — more specifically, on an even smaller scale, this country — is too full of different places and experiences to stay stuck in one place forever.

Spend the money and take that trip you’ve always wanted to. Whether you’ve been dreaming of visiting a neighboring state, the other side of the country, or an entirely new one, do it. It may rip you out of your comfort zone or put you on a tight budget for a little while, but it’ll be worth it. I promise.

Rant over.

Until I attempt to cure my wanderlust with another trip sometime soon, I’ll be enjoying my Long Island sunsets and east coast living as much as possible, but chances are I’ll be west coast, California dreaming while doing so.

Morgan Mandriota is a freelance sex, health, and wellness writer and the creator of and You can read her content on Betches, BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, and a bunch of other places on the internet. When she isn't writing, Morgan loves traveling, hiking, eating tacos, and training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and everywhere else @morganmandriota.


  1. sharon overman

    As a native California n living now in Georgia, it truly is a way of life. No one would understand what its like being raised there. I miss it everyday. Its a playground at your fingertips everyday. No weather to worry about. And those earthquakes don’t happen enough to worry about. I was soooo much more peaceful living there. I blame it on the ocean air. I’ve been uptight and aggravated since leaving. Although I do love the seasons on the east coast, it doesn’t replace the lifestyle of Cali. Maybe you have to have been raised there to understand, but it sounds like outsiders feel the same way. There is nothing more laid back than California….

    1. Morgan Mandriota

      You’re so right! I even saw this as a visitor for just one week. It’s a completely different lifestyle over there — no worries, all sunshine. Loved it. I’m already tense after being back in NY for a little over a week lol. We may have to go back ASAP.

  2. Phil

    Just remember, as I was once told. There is a WORLD of difference between visiting a place on vacation and living there. A WORLD of difference. That being said, I loved Northern California

  3. Elaine

    I have never lived anyplace else but California. I hear New York is great. I would love to visit there. I live in Palm Springs, so I don’t do cold. LOL I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. There’s so much more to see in California, but I’m sure you know that.

    1. Morgan Mandriota

      Come visit! New York is great in its own way, but California is something else. Every person I know who lives over there doesn’t do cold either LOL. Yup, SO much more to see — that just means I’ll have to come back again soon. 🙂

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