It’s official. I’ve been a resident of Los Angeles for six months now. Six months, folks! I even got a library card to prove it. 

And since the big re-location, I think I’ve been asked on a weekly basis, “So why’d you move to LA…?”

When I was first asked this question, I experienced a severe case of imposture syndrome; as if someone would have one conversation with me and realize I didn’t fit the “LA mold” whatsoever.

LA was by no means a city that I was itching to live in unlike most of the aspiring such-and-suches residing here. In fact, I decided on LA one week before moving (classic Emma). Booked myself a $55 one-way ticket on Spirit Airlines (lol) and showed up in Los Angeles with one Kirkland suitcase, little money, no car, job, and zero interest of becoming an actress, artist, YouTuber, movie producer, singer, influencer, model, etc. 

There really was no reason for me to be in Los Angeles, and I never figured out what to say when people asked, “So why’d you move to LA?” (read in a valley-girl voice). All I knew was that the weather was beautiful, I had access to the ocean and mountains, and an incredible bestie who was going to let me crash at her place for a few weeks until I figured out details (love and owe you x1000, Rach). 

Why’d I move to LA? It just kinda felt right! So here I am.

For the people (actually reading this) who know me as a proud Chicago native persistently reppin’ a Rodman jersey, preaching about how deep dish pizza can cure all due to the happiness it inflicts. Or maybe for the ones who know me as Carmen Sandiego, prancing through strange countries with little possessions, care or desire to slow down — there’s no denying that LA, without question, was a strange choice for me.

But it turns out, LA is a strange place... 

It’s a city where everything – the people, the lifestyle, the hype, the glitz and glam, the beaches, the weather – is exactly what you pictured it to be, but also, nothing like you pictured at all. It’s a place where you will suffocate amongst the endless amounts of traffic, competition, pollution, Instagram photoshoots, boob jobs, and self-proclaimed film/music producers. It’s a place that you love to hate and hate to love.

Everyone who’s lived here has had a moment (probably while sitting in traffic) where they’ve considered leaving. Myself included. I think I can speak for the entire city when I say that we all fall in an out of lust with LA on an hourly basis. One minute I’m thinking, “What the hell am I doing in here? This sucks!” and the next, “Why didn’t I move to LA sooner?! Gee wiz, this place is great!”

But I’m not writing this to rant about LA’s pitfalls (because we’d be here all freakin’ day, people! The lack of public transportation in this giant strip-mall they refer to as a “city” is disgusting and a whole other post/rant in itself).

I’m here to shed a little light on a place I NEVER thought I’d end up. Like, ever. Mostly because I don’t want to be one of “those people” who live in one of the most sought out, epicenter-like cities on the face of the planet, and well, complains about it the entire time.

I mean come on, at the end of the day IT’S LA BABY!

Beach days in December, celebrity spottings at my neighborhood cafe, shirtless guys with skateboards and surfboards everywhere I go. I legitimately consider driving to Mexico every weekend just because I can. The same goes for having weed legally delivered to my front doorstep via mobile app. I eat vegan regularly, though I’m not a vegan. I finally now understand about a century's worth of songs about California. I never know what month it is because I no longer need to countdown the weeks until the weather starts getting warmer. Oh, and I can open my bedroom window, pluck an orange off of the perfectly placed orange tree right outside and have myself breakfast in bed every morning (this one never gets old).

All #livingmybestlife jokes aside, since moving to LA this place has had a mysterious way of reconnecting me to what’s raw and important in ways I didn’t expect LA, or even America, could. 

I’m exploring, connecting, creating, working, and growing every single day. You know, all that mushy, cosmic, “what is the meaning of life?”, or “what is our purpose?” mumbo jumbo. Tune into one of Jay Alvarez's latest IG story if you don’t know what I’m talking about...

Living in LA has taught me to appreciate nature and the outdoors in a new retrospect. I love the escape valves it offers. To go from sea level and craziness to 8k feet and solitude is what keeps me here … and sane. 

I spark conversations with strangers regularly. In coffee shops, yoga studios, surf breaks, and add new numbers to my phone on what feels like a weekly basis because of it. The amount of creatives in this city is overwhelming, and I know there’s always someone in the room who does/likes/pays for what I do. I've created a little community of people here who make me feel like I’m a part of something bigger even if we are just catching waves, talking business, or down-dogging. 

My past six months here have been forcing me into a heightened state of awareness, where I’m more mindful, receptive, grounded, happy, and ready to be transformed by this chapter I’m oddly finding myself on.

Could I have done all this in any other city in the world? Yeah, obviously. Every destination has its own special treats, activities, humans, and orange trees.  

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not about your geographical location — it’s about what you’re doing when you’re there, how you spend your days, and who’s by your side. Shit, if a girl like me can find serenity and happiness in Los Angeles…you know, that gigantic strip-mall of a city with endless amounts of traffic, pollution, Instagram photoshoots, boob jobs, and self-proclaimed film/music producers.. then anyone can find it no matter where they are. I whole-heartedly believe that. 

But like…

I’m still going to end up in Santa Barbara one day! That place is actually straight out of a fairytale, people! Not to mention, the surf… (winky face). 

Emma CunninghamComment