I have no idea why… all I know is I’m totally and utterly drawn to this city, to coin the lyric “I left my heart in San Francisco”.
In 2017, I landed one of my dream roles acting as Creative Director for WANdisco, a major Silicon Valley tech brand, where I was appointed to review and reposition their brand. To fully immerse myself in their culture I had the privilege to fly LHR to SFO for a week every month. I always knew it would be an intense chapter in my career which would burn fast and bright, so I took advantage of every opportunity the experience threw at me.
One of my favourite memories was the day I ventured into Peet’s Coffee on Market Street to top up on caffeine before I mounted my rented bike to tick off the Golden Gate Bridge cycle. I stood in line, I ordered, and the barista immediately struck up a conversation noting my English accent. As soon as she heard I was a newcomer to her city she insisted that the coffee was a complimentary welcome gift. Admittedly a simple gesture but instantly I knew this city was going to be special. The fact is I could tell this story on repeat, as never a day has passed in this warm hearted city where someone hasn’t opened their arms and let me in.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2016, I volunteered to work with Meals on Wheels San Francisco to be able to give something back to a city that had given me so much. Even though their volunteer slots were all filled, a heart-felt email plea struck a chord and managed to get me through the door. Since that day I have returned every year to help deliver over 2,640 meals in one day to those less fortunate and have made some lifelong friends that now tie me closer to this wonderful place.
As for creative stimulation, it’s there in large Californian portions. Alcatraz is a photographers dream, with the visible decay and dereliction. The Golden Gate Bridge does nothing but lord it over the city and bay. Pride is a visual feast of colour and freedom. Street art, cafe culture and the diverse bohemian attitude all offer an inspirational melting pot to satisfy any artistic mind. So, whats not to love.
*grabs passport – books flights (again)