Today I decided to become someone different. I left my car at home (big step for L.A.) transferred my purse and camera bag to a day pack, and walked to the nearest Metro. Strange thing is, this is actually going back to my roots. My parents were New Yorkers and didn't drive, so I spent my childhood years on public transit. I grew up watching the world go by while cooling my cheek on a bus window more times than I can count. Fast forward a few (ha!) decades and I'm back to where I started - trying to look cool and secretly watching people's reflections.
As we get older - or even as we get more proficient as artists - we work hard to make our lives more comfortable. With meticulous care we sand all the rough edges off our daily existence until we're cocooned in comfort...or at least in a prison of our own making. In L.A. it's easy to avoid so much simply by staying in our A/C'd cars - we grumble at traffic - but it's nothing compared to sitting by the side of the road waiting for the bus. So it's important to not allow ourselves to lose touch with life outside our "walls."
Today's trip grew out of the new work I've been doing as a photo illustrator - I knew that a visit downtown was essential and I must say it was a great experience to spend the day in such a different, visually rich environment. My challenge to you is to find your own way to do the same. Get out of your routine, be someone else for a hour, an afternoon...a day and see where it takes you.
To take your own daytrip in downtown L.A., take a Metro to the 7th Street exit. Get out towards Figeroa street and walk south to Hotel Figeroa. This is a great location full of Moroccan style with a touch of "old California." Afterwards, walk over to Grand Avenue for the public Central Library at 5th, then cross the street to check out the Biltmore Hotel...you'll recognize it from many films. At that point you're at Pershing Square and can take the Metro to Union Square. From there...you've got Olivera Street, City Hall, Little Tokyo...you get the idea. Have fun.