Hey Travel Family,
Matt and I are back home, fresh from our trip to California! We arrived home yesterday and are feeling surprisingly fresh and jet-lag free after catching three flights all the way from San Diego back to Brisbane. Somehow, we managed to sleep for about 12 of the 15 hours from LA to Sydney! I think that’s got a lot to do with the amazing team at American Airlines sending us home Premium Economy and us taking advantage of ALL the legroom. So good! Let me fill you in on the rest of what we got up to…
We departed Brisbane super early last Tuesday morning, excited for a big day in Business Class! In what can only be described as one of the fanciest things I’ve ever done, we actually flew from Brisbane to Sydney in Business Class and, you guys, they’re handing out warm sourdough for breakfast up there. We arrived in Sydney and, with tight transit time, made our way from the domestic to the international terminal. We boarded our flight a little early and started filming right away as we’re creating a video review of American Airlines Flagship Business Class.
I gotta tell you, it’s surreal that we get opportunities and experiences like these and we certainly do not ever take them for granted! We’ve been wanting to improve our airline video reviews so this trip was a great chance to put all our ideas into action. We filmed every detail we could think of! I’m really looking forward to seeing the edit Matt puts together for this one! I also should just take a second to say a huge thank you to American Airlines for the opportunity, we really do appreciate it so much.
Our flight from Sydney to LA went by quickly and before we knew it we were boarding our third and final flight from LA to San Diego. We touched down, collected our hire car and headed for our accommodation at Kona Kai Resort. It’s always a bit odd sitting and driving on the other side of the road but even after a very long time spent flying, Matt handled it like a boss! We got into our amazing suite, had a shower each and then went straight to sleep for a nap. I cannot even begin to describe how comfortable that bed was… I’m really starting to realise not all hotel beds are created equal and when you get a good one, it makes all the difference! The bed at Kona Kai was like sleeping on a cloud, it was that good.
We woke up, got ready and headed to Old Town in San Diego for our very first meal at Cafe Coyote. Now, you guys, I have three favourite types of cuisine: Italian, Japanese and Mexican so I’ve been looking forward to our trip to San Diego because it’s the birthplace of Cali-Baja cuisine and, you know what, it did not disappoint. We got stuck straight into blended margaritas, the biggest bowl of guacamole I’ve ever seen as well as salsa and fajitas. Our server, Fatima, was so lovely and kind, she made us feel so welcome and at one point we realised we had the exact same tattoo in the exact same spot on our wrists! She took a photo and everything, it was so cute!
After a great start to the trip, we headed back to the hotel for more sleep, knowing we had an absolutely huge day ahead of us tomorrow. We started our first full day in San Diego with a speedboat ride around the harbour with Speedboat Adventures and, amazingly, got to drive our own little speedboat! It was a great way to see the city and Matt had a lot of fun buzzing us both about. Next, we headed to the USS Midway Museum, exploring the incredible aircraft carrier and checking out a whole host of aircraft that now call the Midway home.
Hungry again, we visited nearby Carnitas Snack Shack for lunch, getting stuck into some absolutely incredible tacos (seriously, just writing about them now is making my tummy grumble). Our belly’s full of great food, we started our afternoon of filming at Sunset Cliffs, our first stop along a day of beachside filming that would also take us to Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach, ending in upmarket La Jolla with even more incredible food at Puesto. We decided to end the night in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, listening to live music at a hidden bar, Prohibition. It was so good and one of our trip highlights! Local musicians playing soul and blues, perfectly accompanied by fantastic cocktails made for the perfect end to the day.
After another great night’s sleep, we started our second full day with coffee and bagels from a local spot before heading to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo. We were treated to a private tour, giving us the chance to learn a little more about the animals, the history of the zoo and get a little closer to a few of the animal residents. The great thing about it though is these types of tours are available for everyone to do as well! We desperately wanted to spend more time at the zoo but, with a lot to film and photograph still, tore ourselves away, wandering to nearby Balboa Park. Here, we tucked into lunch and visited some of the stunning gardens as well as buzzing about on local scooters for a bit of fun.
I introduced Matt to the wonderful world of WholeFoods in Hillcrest, a moment which pretty much blew his mind! We spent way too much money on snacks then headed to nearby Starry Lane Bakery for cupcakes followed by a sunset stroll around Hillcrest and dinner at Waypoint Public, another great local eatery.
We woke early the next day, making our way to the Cabrillo National Monument, another unexpected highlight from the trip. Then, we made our way to Liberty Public Market for a DIY eating tour (one of Matt’s favourite things to do cos it means he gets to eat lots of different food haha). We absolutely loved it here, the food was so good and it really was great to get to try so many different things from different regions. Afterwards, we headed back to the coastline, as the sun was peeking through for the first time since we arrived and got some additional film/photos of the stunning San Diego coastline.
The first part of our trip, in San Diego, was thanks to the wonderful people at Travelex, American Airlines and the San Deigo Tourism Authority. They engaged us to capture video footage showcasing the elements of a giveaway they’re running. Basically, our job was to head over and experience all the things the giveaway winners will get, film it all and deliver the footage to them to use to promote the giveaway. Of course, we also used the opportunity to capture some fantastic content for our platforms too! So we’re going to be creating a San Diego video travel guide and I’ll write some written guides too! If you’re planning on travelling overseas anytime soon and are going to purchase some foreign currency/exchange money, be sure to check out the competition details and consider entering. It would be pretty much the best thing ever if someone from here won the competition! You can check it out here.
With the work portion of the trip over, we jumped in the car for a road trip to Joshua Tree National Park. It’s a place we’ve wanted to visit for a very long time so, when the San Diego trip came up, I told Matt we best do it while we had the chance because we may not get another opportunity again for a while. We drove out on Friday afternoon, arriving at our Airbnb and pretty much crashing out hard, ordering in pizza for dinner and watching Netflix.
After a much-needed rest, we rose on Saturday morning ready to get our adventure on. We visited the Joshua Tree Farmers Market then headed over to Crossroads Cafe for a delicious breakfast. Then, we made our way into Joshua Tree National Park while listening to U2’s The Joshua Tree album, of course! We visited some of the main sites and were blown away by just how beautiful it really is. It far exceeded our expectations! We ended the day with burgers and beers at the Joshua Tree Saloon then back to our accommodation for showers and sleep.
Keen to try another great local spot, we grabbed breakfast at Natural Sisters Cafe then headed back into the National Park for more short hikes. We took so many amazing photographs and filmed some great moments for our Joshua Tree video guide too! Before we knew it, our second full day was done. The next day was a full road trip day as we packed our bags and set off for Slab City and Salvation Mountain, another spot we’ve always wanted to visit after seeing it in ‘Into The Wild.’ It did not disappoint! We had the best time exploring Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain and did a short drive through Slab City as well.
We kicked off our final leg of our road trip journey, driving back to San Diego through dramatic and unexpectedly beautiful mountains. A quick stop at WholeFoods (again!) saw us topped up with dinner and snacks, so we made our way back to Kona Kai Resort for our last night and another shot at that ridiculously good bed. The next day was spent packing and preparing for the journey home which went by in the blink of an eye! I don’t think I’ve ever come home from long-haul flights feeling so refreshed. I mean, we touched down back in Brisbane at 11am and I went out for a run at 2pm… it’s unheard of!
The trip went by so quickly and we managed to see, do and eat so much! We filmed three great videos for the Little Grey Box YouTube channel and I’ve got so many great travel tips to share in written guides here too. Again, I just want to say a huge thank you to the clients who made this trip happen and also the amazing PR team who pulled the whole thing together. There are so many talented creators out there and we’re just so grateful that out of all them, we were chosen for this project. It’s incredible to both of us to be able to get to do what we love and we really do appreciate every moment.
Alright, well that’s all the hot gossip from our California trip! We’ll have some great content coming out for you guys over the next few weeks, I’m so excited for you to see it.
Hope you have a great weekend, I’ll talk to you next Friday.
Love, Phoebe x