Last Thanksgiving break (2021), in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to risk it all and travel to Los Angeles, California with my old roommate to go visit an old friend. Besides all the COVID-19 documentation, expensive testing and long airport lines, this was a trip one I’ll never forget.
Since I was a child I’ve always had a fascination with California. Growing up in Ottawa, California obviously looked like a dream. I was heavily into the influencer YouTube scene and loved to spend hours re-creating makeup tutorials, doing hauls, and mimicking my favourite YouTube’s in the 2012-2016 Youtube era. From this and making home videos with my cousin, I developed an interest and love for social media and filmmaking.
In July of 2018, after just finishing Grade 10, I decided to travel alone to California to attend New York Film Academy’s 1 Week Summer Filmmaking camp. While this was totally out of budget for my parents, I had never been so excited to do anything in my life. And my intuition was right, because it was truly one of the best, most surreal weeks’, and I’ll always remember it. Here, I got to meet people from all over the world, some my age, some older, all interested in the arts. Coming from a rural high school, where everybody wanted to study business or science, I felt like I finally found my people. Little did I know this week I got two meet two people that would continue to be a huge part of my life today, and this most recent trip to LA, became the most full circle moment possibly ever.
During this summer camp, I met one of my closet friends named Jack, he was from Vancouver, a year older than me, and was very interested in attending Ryerson (X) University for school. I then got to meet Cameron, also a year older than me, but he was from Chicago, and had such a talent for filmmaking, and we clicked almost instantly.
Fast-forward to today, Jack and I both ended up attending the same University, and became roommates last year. We are so close to this day and hangout almost every weekend. Cam on the other hand, had an entirely different life experience. He attended NYFA later on for college and decided to start posting Tik Tok videos as the application first surfaced. With a lot of dedication, and the emergence of Snapchat Spotlight, he blew up on the platform, and is now living his best influencer life in LA. Even having the New York Times write an article about how this 19 year-old made over $3 million in two weeks for posting on Snapchat’s Spotlight app.
Now finally the Thanksgiving break trip:
After planning to visit Cam in LA and see his lifestyle since his entire career took a 180, Jack and I travelled there this past October (2021). This trip was one for the books, we were experiencing the LA influencer lifestyle, as two young University students, something I always dreamed of as a kid. We were meeting famous influencers, riding in supercars, and going to the prettiest sights in LA.
This trip was so memorable and the entire time I was trying so hard to stay in the moment, and be grateful to have this opportunity as I knew it would fly by. We even went back to the college we all met at several years ago, and had some laughs about how great the week was. In fact, we even decided to all get tattoos, breaking my tattoo virginity an LA logo…one that my mother cannot know about.
Being in such a beautiful State, surrounded by people that love you, and listening to good music, it was truly such a full circle moment in my life, and a trip I will never forget. The best part? Between the 2018 trip to now, we had visited Cam in Chicago a few times, but not since his entire life changed. What was so refreshing was he was still the same person I had met in 2018, none of this fame or money had gone to his head at all. It was so heart-warming to see someone you care about doing so well, and getting to piggy-back on that lifestyle, even if it is just for a week!
While Jack and I are currenlry overwhelmed with school, we cannot wait until our next trip back, and have made several different lifestyle changes since visiting… it was very motivating. Thank you so much for reading this essay of a story. Let me know where your favourite place is to travel and when you’re planning on going back!