California: A Golden Country

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My aunt once said, “California is a country, not a state.”

Of course I never understood what she meant by that.  Yes, California’s size itself is quite large and even bigger than some European or Asian countries. Yes, it’s economy is so massive that if it were it’s own country, it would rank ninth in largest economy on the globe.  But really, countries are more than just land mass and economic well-being right?  So I never paid any attention to her declaration.  For all I know, she might have been calling for the secession of the golden state from the United States like all of those right-wing hoo-has did after Obama’s re-election.

However, after camping in Yosemite National Park with the aforementioned aunt, family and the always-by-my-side boyfriend, I think I’m finally coming to understand what she means.  No where in the world (well, at least to the places I’ve traveled thus far) can one go from bustling metropolitan life and after a four hour car drive later end up in raw, untouched nature.  Where else other than California can you go from one extreme to the next?  From the snow-capped peaks of Tahoe and the Sierras to the dry desert lands of the Central Valley to the blustery coasts of Santa Cruz and Monterey, California has just as much climate variety as the entirety of France or the Netherlands.

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Striking a yoga pose atop Upper Yosemite Falls trail? Jeez, how Californian of me…

Of course, the region (the term “state” doesn’t really do the place justice, does it?) is so much more than just different scenery and weather.  Hell there are even entire cultural movements dedicated to the very essence of being Californian, so it’s safe to say that we’ve got something special over here.  Actually something more than special, more than unique, more than one-of-a-kind.

What we’ve got here is golden.

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