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I had an early morning planned – I had to meet three others in Ventura that morning at 7:30 which required a brutally early wake u12552564_10208379091104706_7858708128725881016_np call for the 65 mile drive. Knowing that I had to get up before the crack of dawn, I slept fitfully. I was awake and up at the time I needed to leave to avoid the throng of rush hour commuters between the east San Fernando Valley and Ventura.

As the sun rose in the east behind me, I glanced up at my rear view mirror and admired the perfection of the new day. Driving along, I serenely watched the scenery change from the clusters of houses in suburbia to the wide open green, agricultural landscape.

Ventura is the essence of a writer’s dream: There’s the sound of the waves crashing, the soft cushiony steps of sneakers in the sand, and the greenery of flowers, citrus and other plants fed12439500_10208379090704696_3101421248981961290_n by the constant moisture in the air. This magical setting with its restful beauty in all directions inspires me to write. There’s more natural light here, it smells good, it’s free from a lot of the noise in the city, and time seems to tick by slower here. Well known as a dog-friendly county and a surfer’s paradise, Ventura also provides a laid-back business climate, and that’s what I was here to pursue.

Moving through each of my meetings that day, I stopped to appreciate the circumstances that brought me here. Somehow, it’s easier to be more open and optimistic when you feel good – and Ventura County, with its beaches, mountains, and quaint settings always revitalizes my spirit.12512318_10208379089584668_8418675197377193760_n

After my work was done, I joined a friend at her beachside abode and we took a stroll down several narrow alleyways where hidden gardens greeted us with magical bursts of color and scent. Along the beach, the blazing yellow winter sun was getting ready to set into the ocean as I watched a parasailer soar overhead. Looking down, I spotted a perfectly-formed, heart-shaped rock , which to me was saying, “Life is for those who choose to live.”  I bent down and put it in my pocket to help me remember what it CAN be like when I need a break from the hum-drum rhythms of life.