If You Were Awarded an Expense-Paid Trip to Any One Place in the World, Where Would You Go

If I won an expense-paid trip, I would go to San Francisco. After living there for eight years, I have strong affections for its singular qualities. Unfortunately, my professional and financial responsibilities have tethered me to my east coast town. With a complimentary trip, I could reacquaint myself with the features of the greatest city I ever lived in. Out of all of its wonderful qualities, I miss its culture the most.

Having grown up in Cleveland, a town violent with post-industrial frustration, the furry and forgiving culture of San Francisco was a welcomed relief. It engendered in me a sense of optimism that I did not know I needed. At the risk of sentimentality, this optimism allowed me to view the world in a new way, which vastly improved the quality of my life. I did not realize how much I valued that communal kindness until I left. Likewise, I did not appreciate San Francisco’s weather until after I moved.

For me, the weather of that peninsular city had its own personality. Like the culture it enveloped, the weather was full of consideration. For example, the daybreak fog would step aside for the bright mid-morning sun only after you finished your cup of coffee and breakfast. It was akin to a friend allowing you a moment to organize your thoughts and prepare for the day. It struck an emotional chord with me, as did the dramatic hills and valleys.

Like a pedestrian roller coaster, the swooping hills of each neighborhood provided excitement to the city’s grid. Instead of the flat, non-descript neighborhoods of other towns, San Francisco was a place filled with scores of unexpected, breathtaking views. It provided me with a daily sense of awe and wonder. I would cherish the opportunity to experience those sensations again, if only for a weekend.

If I won an expense-paid trip, I would return to San Francisco. Though it might only be a brief stay, it is obvious that I left something there.

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