Our Journey to Palos Verdes, California

It is no secret that we're big fans of the West Coast. It is a huge part of my family's heritage. Both Joan and my great-grandmother Elsie lived there most of their lives, my mother grew up there and my sister and I spent almost every childhood vacation there. Jonathan and I first visited California together three years into our relationship in 2006, and we've been back at least once a year every year since then with the exception of 2007, the year we got married (and were pretty broke). I'm fortunate he loves it as much as I do and can understand my need to reconnect with my roots.

Of all the places we love in Southern California (there are many), Palos Verdes is near the top of the list. My family lived there from 1960 to 1973, and although I no longer have relatives there, a sense of peace comes over me when I'm high up on those cliffs. There are only a few places in the world that have that effect on me. It's an incredible, awe-inspiring feeling.

Our last trip to California was in late October 2012. During that vacation, we walked along the beach from Hermosa Beach to PV, which is about 11 miles. It was quite an exhausting hike, but it seemed like something we were supposed to do. At the end of it, our minds felt very clear and open. The next day, while I was sitting on our hotel balcony facing Palos Verdes and the Pacific Ocean, the idea for Gerald and Joan came to me. At the time I didn't think much of it, but when I look back at the notes I made that day, it's clear that our story began where four generations of my family walked before me.

How's that for a cool feeling?

[gallery type="square" ids="778,779,780,781,784,782,783,764,767,770,766,769,768,771,772,774,773,765,775,776,777"]