After it got too cold for us in Bend, Oregon (we never did end up buying any gloves – which made for many shivering walks to work!), it was time to head south for the winter. We packed up our suitcases (1 1/2 bags for Markus, 2 1/2 for me – a girl’s gotta have at least some shoes), and made our way down to warm and sunny San Diego, California.
By our fourth city, we’ve gotten our suitcase system down!
Palm trees greeted us as soon as we landed at the airport, and the 70-degree weather wasn’t too shabby either. Our AirBnB was right in the heart of Little Italy, which was wonderful for me, as I always enjoy practicing my Italian. Festive signs of “Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) and “Felice Anno Nuovo” (Happy New Year) hung on all the lampposts in our new neighborhood, giving my linguist’s heart an extra glow. And with San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean just three blocks away, we really felt like we were on vacation!
Ships in the San Diego Bay near our Little Italy apartment
But alas, with the life of the digital nomad, we couldn’t just take off work – I was pushing hard to reach my business goal for the end of 2018, and Markus was in the middle of a big work project himself – so we knew we had to find a good co-working space. Lucky for us, NEST CoWork was only a ten-minute walk away from Little Italy, and it was great. They even threw a Christmas party for us remote workers (which you really appreciate when your business meetings are always with yourself). And of all the co-working spaces we’ve been to so far, it was definitely the best view we’ve had yet:
Hard at work – trying not to get distracted by the gorgeous view out the window.
Besides beautiful views, here are some other striking things we noticed about San Diego:
- San Diego is clean: The sidewalks of San Diego were wide and beautiful, with not a speck of dirt on them. Add palm trees to the mix, and you got yourself a beautiful city.
2. If you live in San Diego, you need a little dog. Seriously. They were everywhere. Here are two of our dog experiences:
- Story One: One night, Markus stopped at an outdoor bar on the way home from work to watch the football game. Three middle-aged men were sitting on the bar stools outside – with two mini chihuahuas occupying the fourth stool. A group of girls then walked by, and, when they saw the dogs, they all stopped and started squealing, “Oh my gosh, your dogs are so cute! The cutest things I’ve ever seen! Can we pet them?!” All of the sudden, one girl narrowed her eyes at the chihuahuas. “Wait a second, do your dogs have an Instagram account?” she asked the man sitting next to them. “Yes, they do”, he replied off-handedly. “Oh my gosh, I follow them! I follow your dogs!” the girl shrieked. A true California story if there ever was one.
The two little dogs at our co-working space – all dressed up for our Christmas party!
- Story Two: After going out in the Gaslamp Quarter one night, we were walking home and passed a group of rather shady-looking men on a deserted street – think the kind of men you wouldn’t really want to pass as a girl on her own. Edging a little closer to Markus, I then heard the biggest and burliest of the group say to his friend, “Ya, she’s a little diva, but we love her. My girlfriend spoils her like sh*t.” We looked to see what he was talking about, and saw him pointing fondly to the tiniest, whitest, fluffiest dog I’ve ever seen – with a big blue bow right on top of her head.
Little Dogs of San Diego
3. Scooters are the number one mode of transportation in San Diego. I know, I know, almost every city has electric scooters now, but people used them all over San Diego. They were literally everywhere – you can just hop on a Bird scooter and it will get you where you need to go (I took one to the dentist and to Whole Foods). And they are so fun! The first time we rode them, we had gotten into a little spat on the way to where they were parked, and I was in a bit of a bad mood – but then I hopped on the scooter for my very first time. With the wind blowing in my hair and that feeling of carefree, child-like glee that only comes from steering around a toy that moves, I couldn’t help but allow a big smile to appear on my face. Needless to say, Markus was shocked when he turned around and saw me absolutely glowing instead of the scowl of a few minutes before. Now he wants to get a Bird scooter for all our future disagreements.
All these palm trees make riding scooters even more fun!
4. Sea lions live there! I don’t know about you, but I had never seen a wild sea lion before. But San Diego is known for them! If you walk along San Diego Bay’s beautiful boardwalk, you may get lucky and see one pop its heads up every now and then, looking for fish from the boats. But if you don’t want to rely on luck, just make the 15 minute drive from downtown San Diego to La Jolla – I promise you won’t regret it. Dozens of wild seals and sea lions lounge on the rocks, just waiting for people like us to come up and say hello (or at least that’s what I told myself). We were visiting there with some locals (Markus’ coworker and girlfriend), and I had a hard time tearing myself away from the animals – being able to walk right up to a sea lion was really exciting for this landlocked Missouri native!
In addition to La Jolla, Mission Beach was another great area to visit. Two of my friends were coincidentally visiting Mission Beach/San Diego a week apart, so I got to check out the area (and crash my friend’s sister’s bachelorette party there – thanks Molly!). Mission Beach did not disappoint – it boasts a beautiful white sandy beach, eclectic restaurants and bars, and a hip and happening boardwalk (imagine a Scottish man playing the bagpipes, countless jugglers, all kinds of musicians, scooters galore, and a group of about 50 middle aged people in Christmas sweaters on a group bike ride). Definitely a must-see if you go to San Diego!
Cloudy Day at Mission Beach
Another beautiful beach is Coronado Beach – complete with a sand-man for Christmas!
Made it from sea to shining sea – Atlantic (July) to Pacific (November)!
Our San Diego Stats:
Bar: False Idol (A cool hidden tiki bar!)
Gym: CycleOm (great yoga classes!)
For the Digital Nomad:
Co-Working Space: NEST CoWork
Walkability: Great in Little Italy area! (Car needed for excursions)
Bikeability: More scooter-friendly – we didn’t try bikes here.
Nightlife Level: High – especially the Gaslamp Quarter
Restaurants and Bars: Tons – great Mexican, Italian, seafood, and more