The global adventure begins!

Warm orange hues painted across the sky, towering sun-kissed palm trees and a warm summer breeze all come to mind when thinking of sunny Los Angeles. However, I found myself wrapped in a blanket of mist while taxiing in to the fourth busiest airport in the world, LAX. “June gloom,” as the locals call it, had come into full swing.

I was SUPER excited to begin this huge leg of my journey, especially since the first stop was LA. Growing up in the ’90s meant it was every kid’s dream to see Disney World, the Hollywood Strip with the stars patterned across the sidewalk, and Santa Monica. Of course there is so much more to LA than entertainment, but where else do you find Batman, Superman, and Jack Sparrow all hanging about on a road chatting to people? I decided to visit the famous Sunset Strip at night, where I was abruptly welcomed by a street performer dressed as Michael Jordan. “Yo! You wanna see me balance two basketballs on my head real quick?!” I agreed and then carried on jumping from street act to act, thoroughly impressed at how talented these people were.

Shortly after, the sun set and the real magic began. The Sunset Strip illuminated the night sky with retro-themed theatres, while the iconic bars and cafes, often populated by the rich and famous, came alive. Unbelievable. Though many places may differ from what you see on TV, Hollywood was exactly what I expected. The Gotham font typewriting, the street acts, and the fine crafted cosplay, it was all real and happening around me.

The next stop was the Getty Museum where I met a fellow Kiwi abroad! We wandered around the museum famous for its architecture and abstract art/photography. There were photos on display dating back to the 1800s; it was amazing to see how much modern society had changed but also how far camera technology has come. If you’re ever in LA and wanting some genuine artistic inspiration, check out the Getty Museum, you won’t be disappointed!

As you can tell, the June Gloom was still in full effect, which meant sunset wasn’t looking too promising. We decided to head out to Santa Monica anyway, another LA must see, famous for its fun-filled pier. Here, I finally got to experience a prominent sunset from the boardwalk, surrounded by the friendly people of Los Angeles. More street acts were seen as day transitioned to night, the performers even had lit up LED costumes. It was mind-blowing how committed these people were to their craft! They were doing what they loved and getting paid on their terms. Impressive to say the least.

LA so far has been amazing. If anything, it’s a place full of inspiration for creatives and entrepreneurs. Everyone’s innovating and creating, fear of failure is nonexistent, or outdone by hard work. And, of course, the food’s always good. What a start to the journey. Tomorrow I head out to meet the Discovery team here in LA. Exciting times ahead!

– Ben Mikha