Attending university in Santa Cruz

After yesterday’s herculean effort I was glad today was a short one. Allan had called a couple of days before and said he had sorted a place to stay in Santa Cruz and that was only 18km away. The road to Santa Cruz was fairly easy and even had a nice cycle route for most of it. When I arrived I diverted of the direct route and took the recommended West Cliff Drive scenic alternative and I am glad I did. This stretch of cliff top is absolutely stunning. On the left is a line of super expensive house and on the right is the Pacific Ocean. To add to that there were whales feeding just off the coast.

When I arrived in Santa Cruz I had most of the day to relax and sort out a bunch of admin such as writing this damned blog , sending stuff home and topping up my phone. I finally arrived at my lodgings for the night and was greeted by the girls of Cayuga street. After I had sorted out all my kit and had a much needed shower we all set out for dinner. Over dinner Maryam, my host, mentioned a lecture at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and asked if I would stay and attend. The deal was also sweetened by the chance of a free yoga class. I agreed though not entirely sure what I was getting myself into.

I spent most of the day doing washing and refuelling (my term for eating junk food) and made my way up to the university for 4pm as directed.
The class was very different from what I was expecting. First of all there were about 120 students crammed into the room in a sort café style seating arrangement. We were all invited to take our seats and introduce ourselves. The class was interactive with the main focus on discussing the topic of intergenerational advice as a group and then relaying them back to the class. The questions we had to ponder ranged from “what advice or conversation have you had with another generation and what has it taught you” to “If you could achieve something it would be…”

Now sharing personal thoughts is not one of my strong points but in the nature of experiencing new things I threw myself in feet first. One thing it made me realise is that this expedition has made my experience so many positive moments with so many different people. While my team mates were racking their mind for examples I was reeling them off and they had all happened in the last month. It was also interesting to hear how so many of the student had no idea what they wanted to do and were conflicted between doing what they wanted (in one example become a vessel of love) and what society expected of them. I am not sure my new outlook on life was the most helpful as I advised them all to throw caution to the wind and pursue what would make them happy – I even got up in front of the whole lecture and reinforced this message!!!

After the lecture Maryam and I jogged across the beautiful UCSC campus to the gym and quickly prepared ourselves for Warrior Yoga. This form of yoga is very similar to the power yoga I have done in London with the slight difference that it is led by a man who also teaches combat classes as opposed to a Fulham house wife. This made it perfect for me as the time spent on the more karma aspect were limited. From a purely selfish point of view it was also great being in a class full of 20 year old students and being able to keep up!

Overall a good stay in Santa Cruz and much gratitude to Jocelyn, Maryam, Tyndll and Emily for looking after me and letting me sleep on your sofa!

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