I grew up in Long Beach, California and I was forever trying to escape it. I grew up plotting how I would leave it and where I would go. New York was always in my eye line. After college, I landed in NYC and thought I would never return. I spent 7 years in NYC, left on a year-long world tour and found myself back in Long Beach to care for my sick mom in 2014.
I was 30, living back in my hometown, with my mom, and felt like I had hit the rewind button. The hometown stay was to be temporary and I was busy plotting my next escape. I ended up traveling a lot, starting a new business, and using Long Beach as a sort of homebase but would never make it official. It took me about 2 years to really decide to sign a lease and have a Long Beach address again. The moment I stopped comparing it to all of the places I have lived, or places I had visited, I fell in love with the city I was always trying to escape.
My experience of Long Beach as an adult was vastly different than my experience growing up. While I grew up in the suburbs, I decided to plant roots downtown, which was an area that was non desirable and somewhat unsafe growing up. As it has been changing everywhere, I found myself in a burgeoning area where I feel I can make a mark. I started to see the city with a different lens. I started to notice pockets and moments that caught my eye. I even started an instagram account ( @lb_see ) which serves as my love letter to Long Beach.
The moment you stop comparing is the moment you can start to #expandyourvision.