Why do we choose to return to places in our travels? Beyond the scripted allure of advertised destinations, what moves us “inside” to settle into an annual place of pilgrimage? Having recently toured India as my spiritual curiosities of Hinduism grew, I realized that the answer to these questions reside heavily in the heart as we contemplate answers to our own life’s longings. Why have my wife and I, then, booked a one month stay on this oceanfront, Central California community for 3-4 of our recent road trips west in spring time?
I must firstly consider how the natural beauty of Morro Bay observed from our rental condo remains remarkably vivid for every time we visit. To the west, a towering, volcanic rock fills our beachfront view often over a foggy and overcast harbor. Witness the sights and sounds of Pacific Ocean sea birds and marine critters that fill the air there while in opposition, the human presence remains relatively silent. To the south and east, the coastal mountains creates a protective barrier from the busier, urban communities beyond. To the north lies the rocky crags/beach access points leading to the famous, cliffside stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Certainly then, an appreciation of nature can account for much of the deep-seated attraction we internalize about this beautiful setting.
In addition, the intimately informal atmosphere of the town itself, also stands out to please our emotional longings. Strolling along the downtown hub of Morro Bay Boulevard, we see evidence of a slower lifestyle than our norm back east that bodes well for more life satisfaction. Pop into the bead store and contemplate quietly in the rear of the store amidst its waterfall and exotic plant sanctuary. Sit on a local park bench to chat personably with the proprietor of a “mom and pop store.” Admire a procession of classic , American cars slowly cruise down-street to provide vivid reminders that driving once meant much more than a daily commute on a busy highway. See an affordable film at the one -screen old cinema house where your popcorn and Milk Duds snacks cost less than the movie. Perform a morning stretch at the nearby Morro Bay Yoga Center and quietly mediate the tranquility of the day ahead.
In the afternoons, each day, I make time to feed hungry seagulls near Morro Rock. A sizable flock of ravenous birds typically follows me as as I tightrope the rocky coastline to obtain suitable feeding sites. I have even trained some of the them to perform aerial theatrics to obtain their precious bread morsel. Imagining their freedom to fly at will now, my inner child” at these times returns. It seems fitting then the creative play of my childhood days has re-ignited to help me “lighten up” from my more serious adulthood.
We were thrilled to see David Crosby of “Crosby, Stills, and Nash” fame at Vino Robles Theater in nearby Paso Robles Amphitheater last night. As I have always been curious how he views the power of his music, I googled his interesting response. “Generally we don’t really consciously do it as a purpose-driven thing. … It’s really just a response to life.” Perhaps, this statement has given me insight as to our motives for choosing destinations for extended travel. It follows then that we can reason our choice to travel regularly to Morro Bay annually as a way to dissolve our ego-driven past of career driven, external gratification. The roads that ensue from one’s emotional callings clearly provides a key to understanding their chosen paths of travel.