I discovered on this trip to the Bay Area that I am a “mountain” person. Growing up in Taiwan, we had the best of both worlds. There are literally stretches of highways where you get the mountain range on one side, and the Pacific on the other. But, I was too busy puking and battling with carsickness to appreciate it (thank god I grew out of that).
I never did have a preference on whether I enjoy the mountain more or the beach. I probably would’ve said the beach, because I equate mountains with those few times where I ill-equipped went hiking in flip-flops, in which I got really earthy and went bare-foot instead. That was interesting but less than pleasant. Beach, on the other hand, was always associated with relaxation and good views.
The month of stay in the Bay Area, however, had me falling in love with mountains. I can really see why hikers get all geared up to get to the top of somewhere. You get the feel of grandness that does not exist on the beach. The marvelous Earth is presented in all its glory when you are on the mountaintop. I love the diversity. No two mountain ranges are the same. The beaches, on the other hand, are similar. I mean, we all know how many oceans there are, so you do the math.
I came to this conclusion when I visited Monterey on a Sunday. People had been boasting about this supposedly gorgeous 17-mile drive along the coast, that cuts through the famous Pebble Beach golf course. After stuffing my face with seafood at the Old Wharf, I went on this drive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous. The rock formation, wildlife, etc. etc. are beautiful. But, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve seen it somewhere already. It’s cool, but the mountains are way cooler. This was when I came to a true realization that I am indeed a mountain person and a major travel brat.
The good thing about this 17-mile drive was that I ended up in Carmel, a quaint little seaside town with colorful houses, neat shops, and adorable cafes. It was a perfect place to wander, to get lost, and to escape from suburbia life.