Taking This Scenic California Road Trip With My Sister Was Exactly The Self Care Bonding We Needed

At 30, my sister decided she wanted to see the world. And it’s not that she hadn’t set foot on international shores before, but this time her sights were set on a piece of the globe she had only imagined in her dreams. 

Paris for her represented a more beautiful New York, a more fashionable Fifth Ave., a more sophisticated SoHo. And though a solo trip to the City of Lights would have been an eventful time for an emerging wanderlust, our father decided that my sister —who innately lacks a navigational prowess — would need to bring kid sister along. 

As we snacked on petits fours through Paris, walked the Streets of Saint Germain, and posed for photos in front of landmarks we had only seen in storied art prints and broad school primers, we decided to make our sisters trip an annual occurrence.

Year two brought us to Thailand, year three took us to a familiar St. Thomas, but last year a long distance relationship on my sister’s end and a family commitment on both of ours, left little time to plan a half-way-around the world holiday we had come accustomed to. Never negating a promise to one another, we decided to hit the road for year four.  

After a six-hour flight to Los Angeles, a quick weekend catch-up with college friends, and a convenient car drop-off from Page One — a super useful service that hand delivers auto rentals to your front door, we were off on a two-hour drive to La Jolla. Though a seemingly short distance by most standards, for two Jersey girls turned city dwellers used to 30-minute rides on the subway, its become the sweet spot for maximum road travel. The time spent on the interstate together from LA to San Diego for the road trip was the sweetest.

As we cruised down I-5 catching up on life and laughing about things only the two of us would find amusing, we let the in-car navigation be our guide and relied on Kendrick and SZA — streamed on my Tidal app — provide the soundtrack to our unconventional sister’s escape.

By the time we pulled up to the beautiful, ranch-style setting of Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, we were in a Cali-state of mind and ready for a couple days of relaxation and re-connecting. That night we enjoyed an amazing dinner under the white strung lights on Estancia’s beautiful grounds and headed in early to prepare for an itinerary wrought with adventure and unwinding.

Day two was all about sisterly bonding. A hike at Torrey Pines Gliderport through the La Jolla Trail gave us enough time take in the scenery, pick out the multi-million dollar home we want to aspire to, and get mentally prepared for our next activity. 

In Paris we walked to the top of Notre-Dame. In Thailand we zip-lined through a rainforest. In California it was only right that we take on an activity we would never try at home. Kayaking at La Jolla Shores Beach was the perfect out-of-our-comfort-zone activity to satisfy our thrill for something new and we made it — somewhat surprisingly — without one strand of hair getting wet and our close relationship still intact. 

After an amazing lunch at George’s at the Cove and a bike ride through the surrounding San Diego area, it was time for the moment we had both been waiting for — massages.  Estancia offers a host of treatments including massage therapy, facials, primping services, and express stress relievers, but we both opted for a 50 minute tension tamer to help take the edge off and get us mentally prepared to return to work.

That night we recapped our West Coast excursion with wine and champagne over a decadent dinner at Juniper & Ivy. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic voyage with my go-to travel partner turned go-to road warrior. Not to mention, it was an opportunity to sit down and savor the fact that for this designated space in time we didn’t have to worry about our careers, or our personal lives, or the countless number of obligations we’ve committed ourselves to back in New York. It was simply an occasion to enjoy one another’s company and remember why we’re blessed to have the other. 

On our last day in Cali we woke up early, packed up the truck and headed for LAX. And because we’re not ones to deal with heavy, expressway traffic during our morning commute, we once again relied on our navigation system  — and the lane change alert with blind side warnings, thank God! — to get us through the gridlock and make it to the airport on time to catch our flights back East.

This year our sister’s trip will likely be a return to a destination that requires a passport stamp, but it’s nice to know that whether our jaunt requires two days or two hours of travel, the only thing that matters is we’re journeying together.

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