Since I was a little kid, I was always mesmerised by American movies, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and it looks like all the fast-paced environment, alongside with a relaxing touch of a breeze, next to the beach which allows you breathe in more life and enjoy the present moment. It looked like this place only existed in movies. Action-packed moments with explosions and dramatic plays of action heroes seemed like a fairy tale for me. I have always been wondering, whether this place actually existed?
Looking back to one and only ‘Pumping Iron’, the movie that has changed my vision about Los Angeles and USA from the bottom to the top. Looking at all the bodybuilders hanging out and training in Muscle Beach in Venice, having hardcore sessions in the Mecca of Bodybuilding – Gold’s Gym, have turned me into a dreamer. A dreamer, who had a vision and a goal – to experience the Golden Days.
If you are familiar with my blog, you probably already know that I am really interested in Fitness and Bodybuilding. I have always admired oldschool/classic bodybuilding because for me, it was a true life of an Artist. An Artist, who develops the masterpiece on his own body. Having your body as a canvas, can engage your creative abilities, emphasise on muscular imbalances and develop the body you visualise inside your head. But the most important aspect regarding this approach for me, was the mindset bodybuilders used to have. They would always train, eat and hang out together, yet they will only compete against each other on the stage. That was a real brotherhood, which the industry is lacking right now. People have become more thirsty for fame than ever before, but regardless of that – my vision still remained.
Seeing people smile, laugh and enjoy never ending summer is what tempted me the most. The whole vibe of the LA, celebrities and the place of opportunities, but only for those who can remain sane and determined to succeed. Enormous amount of activities, from sightseeing, to fitness and food places on every corner is what I have perceived of being a crucial part of one’s life – an opportunity to escape the machinery and embrace the moment of joy.
So, I have been saving some money and working hard in order to fulfil my dream and visit the place I have always wanted to see. You can’t really earn much, whilst working part time, studying full time and also creating content on YouTube, writing blog posts, etc. But having a vision, somehow allows you to make those changes and things eventually fall into place. I knew I had to visit LA and experience Golden Days, therefore I had to do everything to make it happen.
How did it happen?
It was February 2017 and I was determined to visit LA in the summer. I have told my friend Simon about this idea and how amazing would it be to see the USA and especially LA. Since, Simon has visited New York before, he already had told me about his experiences, so I was tempted to experience it all myself. He didn’t hesitate and agreed on travelling to LA with me. Our savings have begun.
After doing some extra shifts at work and making enough many, we have decided to buy tickets for it. We bought the tickets about 4 months prior to our trip. I knew that once we will have the tickets, there will be no more hesitations and no room for procrastination.
Once I have bought the tickets, I only told a few people about it, including my parents and some friends, but I mainly wanted to keep it in silence. I don’t really like sharing my future plans until they’re executed.
Arrival to LA
So we took a 10-hour flight on the 14th of August, 2017. Once we have stepped out of the plane, it was the time to go to the customs. Simon have gone through without any problems and then it was the time for me. Once I have approached to customs officer, he had asked me a few questions and started checking my details on the system. For some reason, my details would not come up and it looked like a person with my name didn’t exist. The officer thought that there was something wrong with the system or there may be a glitch, so he called his supervisor. Once the supervisor arrived, the situation started getting even more confusing. Apparently, it showed that there was something wrong with my VISA and for some reason ESTA was not available for Lithuanians. After taking an exhausting 10-hour flight, feeling jet-lagged, this was the last thing that I wanted to hear. I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to go through, but I was nowhere giving up, I knew I had everything I needed in order to enter the country.
After 15minutes of confusion, it turned out that because my passport was issued in Lithuania, the system showed non-English characters, therefore the officer couldn’t find me on the system. Once the English characters were entered, all the information came up and I was allowed to enter. That was a proper 15-minutes of stress, but I have kept my cool. Finally, we took our bags and have left the Airport, we have officially arrived to the United States of America.
After we left the airport, we went straight to the car rental place in order to rent a car. Simon had pre-booked a car in advance so we can pick it up straight after we arrive. Unfortunately, the car was given to somebody else cause we had been late for about 2 hours, oh well. Instead, the Sales Agent has offered us a Camaro, but since we were both classified as young drivers (under 24), they had to charge us more. In total – the price for a car was over 700$ for 7 days, we refused.
Instead, we decided to take Uber to our hotel and think about the transport over there, because our bodies were literally screaming for rest. Once the Uber driver came, we have loaded the boot with our luggage and left. The driver was very friendly and have told us about what places we should go for first. He told us about the famous and exclusive In-N-Out burger and other cool places we should visit. After about an hour of driving, we have reached our hotel. I have looked at Google Maps and found out that everything was too far away from where we lived. All the attractions and tourist places were about 2 hours drive from our hotel (LA traffic).
I went to Hotel’s reception and tried checking-in – my card wasn’t working. I have contacted my bank and sorted it out (security feature for transactions overseas). Whilst my bank was sorting out my account, I started having second thoughts about the hotel and the place we were staying in. The place didn’t look bad at all, the hotel was decent and the staff were friendly, It could indeed accommodate a lot of people in it. It also had a pool and jacuzzi outside.
I have asked Simon if we should really stay here because it is too far away from all the attractions
and we would be spending too much time travelling from one place to another, additionally the uber charges would be high too. We have decided to check in and in the mean time look for another place, nearer the city centre. At that time, we were staying in La Palma.
Because our hotel was booked for 8 days, there was a cancellation fee of about 200$, if we decided to cancel, but we were too tired to look for another place at that time. We arrived into our room and it was quite good. Two double beds with an OK view. The view wasn’t the best, because I have realised that the area we were staying in was somewhat industrial, so there wasn’t much to see.
One of Simon’s friends from LA – Leta, has advised us to move out and cancel our stay at the hotel. She told us to look for Airbnb instead somewhere near North Hollywood (NOHO). That’s what we did. Simon has cancelled our stay for the remaining days and we only had to stay there for 1 day. It felt like a relief and we thought that we made a right decision.
After we have checked in, we went to explore the local area, grabbed some food in Jack In The Box burger place and a few protein bars from 7-Eleven. Right after that, the feeling of tiredness was just too high. Instead, I have decided to do a full-body circuit with some cardio in the gym at our hotel, in order to get over with the jet-lag. Workout really helped a lot and after that, we spent some time by the pool.
In conclusion, the first day of our arrival wasn’t as good as I have expected. We had to make quick decisions, so we can still catch-up with the LA vibe and explore the places during our remaining days. Personally, the first day felt really demotivating and a bit dull, probably because I was now in a completely different time zone and was still making a plan of how all my visions will be executed. I really looked forward to the rest of the trip and was curious of how It will all turn out, but one thing was for sure, I Did It.
I will be writing more blog posts and posting videos about my trip, stay tuned – it will be interesting!
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‘Train Like An Artist’