I’ve always been averse to the idea of “home”. As far as I knew, home was a place you would aim to escape from day one; it was stifling and it made me restless, and I knew that it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Thankfully, I had a shift in thinking during my visit to California this past summer. Whenever I thought about where I’d like my home to be, I always pictured a beach, any beach. Give me salt water, give me sand. I didn’t know at the time that I was thinking about Venice Beach… Not until I stepped foot on the oceanfront, that is.
Venice is a place where being a free spirit is encouraged and celebrated, and it was here where I finally understood that a home should foster creativity and support dreams. Each mural, vendor, and shop that I passed reinforced this notion, and it was so clear on the locals’ faces that they genuinely enjoy being here every day. Man, that love was contagious.
Venice Beach has always gone against the norm. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was a center for the Beat generation and was heavy in counter-culture thought. The area became a hub of art and writing (and later for the performance arts), free thinking, and a general rejection of standard societal conventions, and the vibe is very much the same to this day. Despite gentrification which tends to diminish a place’s character, the Venice Beach state of mind prevails and will continue to inspire me.
Everyone at Venice Beach has got aspirations, dreams they want to achieve, stories to tell, an impact to make, but their roots and heart will always stay where the sand and ocean meet. I passed by a man who was selling a painting that read, “I wonder if heaven has a Venice” and I for the rest of the day, found myself wondering the same.