The most important thing for me while traveling is freedom.
I absolutely hate schedules and itineraries.
By that, I mean that I want to be able to wake up naturally and just explore the city I am in rather than being woken by an alarm and having the entire day planned. I usually choose one or two things to do in a day and spend the rest of the time around that area. Sometimes I just choose an area and play it by ear.
Just over a year ago, a good friend and I went to San Francisco together. We spent lots of time planning and deciding where we would go and what we would do, but when we were actually there, we probably spent 80% of our time just wandering and sightseeing. We didn’t do anything we planned, but it was such an incredible city to explore.
We used AirBnB and found a cute apartment in Oakland. (Trust me, Oakland was not our first choice, but we didn’t have any issues while we were there. Granted, we only slept there. We spent our days in San Francisco.) Our apartment was ten minutes from the subway by car, and because we were not in the best area (near the Raiders stadium), we took an Uber everyday to get to the station.
San Francisco was incredible! There are no words to describe how mesmerized I was by this city, though my most distinct memory of it would have to be the exhaustion and pain I felt from walking up and down insanely steep streets. We definitely worked off our calories there.
I can only recall one place we specifically chose and visited while we were there: the Walt Disney Family Museum. It documented the lives of Walt Disney and his immediate family. They had tons of artwork from when he was young and sketches and drafts from his movies. I was amazed.
The museum was in an upscale community called The Presidio that contained other museums, restaurants, and homes. It was also right next to the Golden Gate Bridge and offered a fantastic view.
While following a shortcut that we basically made up, we found ourselves lost in an area with buildings that could have been apartments, though one seemed to be a small school. Some of the windows were broken; everything was the same stale white color; a few areas were under construction; we found an undeveloped dirt area with an incomparable view of the Golden Gate Bridge; and we saw the bat signal everywhere.
Shortly thereafter, we figured we had better get back to civilization and followed the other people to the museum.
After spending a few hours at the museum (We were there until they closed.), we wandered around the area and just explored. It was beautiful and lush, and we even saw two houses that were connected by a string and two cans, which two kids were using to communicate.
The Walt Disney Family Museum was a place that our AirBnB host recommended for us. She even included a pamphlet in a little welcome book in our apartment, though the coupon was expired. We are really grateful for all she offered us.
Next time I visit San Francisco, I intend to stay in the city and allocate a larger amount of time for the trip so that I can explore the entire bay area.