Posted: Monday, Jul 30th, 2018

By Visit Ventura

The Joys of Travel and Life: Travel Turned Upside Down

photo by Michelle Evans

blog by Ken McAlpine

Welcome to our weekly blog about the joys of travel and life. For the two are one. Travel, like life, is about making the most of our moments, for we only have so many. With that in mind, another moment together. Thank you for coming along for the ride…

Travel Turned Upside Down

It is nice to be carried away. We each have our various means of transport. Some are quite personal. I will neither divulge, nor pry. Certain carryings away are our own business. Travel is a more public carrying away, both literal and figurative. And the best part is you don’t have to go far to be swept off your feet. Often, you don’t have to leave home. Sometimes I slip a kayak into the Pacific Ocean. I paddle aimlessly, for I am aimless in many things, and paddling is no exception; yet often, I end up in the same place. It is a place my fellow townsfolk know well, an icon of our town. Right-side up, it is special and hard to miss. But it is special to me because I enjoy it upside down. Often when I kayak, I end up beneath the Ventura Pier. Like my fellow townsfolk, I have enjoyed the Pier sunny-side up, strolling the wooden boards, inhaling blue sky, and the smells of salt and creosote. But for me, the real magic happens in the half gloom beneath the soles of invisible strollers. Floating on the rise and fall of the sea, I listen to water’s sighings and lappings. As the waves pass, the sea rises up the mussel thickets that wrap the pilings; as the sea drops, it spills from the mussels in thousands of intricate waterfalls. It is a form of breathing, and maybe even song, so soft you must strain to hear its’ full voice. I find it an antidote to this sometimes strident age. Added magic, pigeons sometimes strut along the overhead beams; small imagination transforms their cooings into a mother’s murmurings. Maybe now you can see why I have drifted beneath our pier at dawn, in rain and storm, and more than once at night, the lights of the pier throwing wobbling fingers across the water and the stars winking as if in on a secret right under our noses. Often I sit for a very long time. It is nice to be carried away. — Ken McAlpine has traveled the world as a writer, from the depths of Palau to the heights of the Andes, but no matter where he goes, he can’t wait to come home to Ventura. We hope his stories remind you of why you love the place you call home, and this gift called life. For more info, please go to  

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