What do you think of when you hear the words “Napa Valley?”
I can remember when I first rode up to Pacific Union College to find out more about my classes and major in communication. I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the area I was going to school in. I had no idea how lucky I was.
It wasn’t until my junior year that I really felt that I began exploring the culture and people that were around me. I went to a variety of restaurants with delicious food, I visited the Castello di Amarosa with my friend AJ, I walked the street of Calistoga admiring the cutesy shops, and tasted olive oil and dressings at the olive oil company in St. Helena during Cheers! St. Helena. Not to mention during my senior year I photographed for Cheers!, worked for Nimbus Arts and volunteered at their annual Nimbash, as well as got a taste for the wine culture of the area and met a lot of friendly people.
As soon as I graduated, I knew I wanted to stay. I didn’t want to leave this place behind. I didn’t want to leave the days working at Nimbus, sitting at the paint-stained art tables with the sunshine streaming in the windows, photo editing and doing work at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, attending Cheers!, or even visiting the tiny library that has a lovely expanse of vineyards behind it that is perfect for photos. I especially didn’t want to leave the place that had been my inspiration for the past four years and go back to my hometown. In the end, of course, I had to.
Now, I am trying my hardest to be able to move back. Currently I’m waiting to hear from a couple of jobs there, and if they pan out I will be able to move back permanently. I’m already there every time I have a couple of days off in a row, and stay at Josh’s. Even just taking walks around Angwin, the tiny town that PUC is housed in, is an inspiration with the beautiful vineyards and trees surrounding it and the cutesy cottage-like older houses that are often for rent, just waiting for me to have the opportunity to move in. Every time I get off of Highway 80 and drive straight into the valley, I feel as if my entire being feels whole and inspired.
I left last week and as I was driving I felt that itch to have my camera in hand again. I haven’t felt that in months. That’s when I knew that I have to try my hardest to get there again. Life is short, I’m young, and I have places I want to go and live and work. Why not start now, with my favorite place on earth?