GTFO_masthead_wSometimes what you really need to do is get the fuck out. Pack your shit and leave for a day, a night, a weekend. Whatever. Just get away for a quick couple of (or couple dozen) hours and clear your head, find yourself, and maybe remember why you’re doing what you’re doing to begin with. These moments are as crucial to keeping you sharp on the job and in your personal affairs as they are to keeping you a sane and happy human being. Here we will document some of our weekend adventures for your viewing and reading pleasure.

The Art of Getting the Fuck Out

Vol. 01: March 15th

It’s been a rough couple of weeks here in Los Angeles. It seems like the number of cars on the road has tripled yet again, thereby increasing the number of moron drivers and hence, accidents. Getting anywhere takes forever and I find myself frequently nearly in tears, shaking the steering wheel violently as I sob my commuting woes to Ira Glass on the This American Life podcast (he’s a terrible listener). Sometimes when things get this bad, when they’re really to the point where by the time you get to the office you’re already spent, you need to get the hell out of dodge. Which is what I did this weekend. Click here to read the full article.

My girlfriend Amy has been experiencing quite similar things with her daily routine so we did a little last-minute research and found some hot springs in Ojai, CA. which is situated about an hour and a half north of our home in Santa Monica. We snagged some requisite In-N-Out before hitting the road about 9pm and breezed through some light traffic up to the general area of Ojai. After getting off the highway, the directions we got from a friend-of-a-friend combined with what we read online quickly became fuzzy. It was dark and there weren’t many street signs or lights and the landmarks mentioned had all but disappeared.

We stopped at a Starbucks (it was that or McDonald’s, gimme’ a break) and asked for directions but to no avail. Some older ladies listening on mentioned there were some hot springs further up the road but they had been closed for a long time. We saw the sign for those springs and, noting that the gate was padlocked and no trespassing signs were up, we sped onwards into the night thinking there may be others further up the road.

We stopped at the visitors center at the Los Padres National Park, just up the hill and through a few musty smelling tunnels from the front entrance. The visitors center consists of a few dark cabins and a trailer with a sign in lights that says “Camp Host”. As we pulled in, a man stepped out of the trailer and turned off the lights to the Camp Host sign. Taking this as a warning, we turned back to the road and sped off into the forest. 15 miles up we decided to stop, having lost all cell signals and feeling pretty discouraged at not finding anything remotely like what we were looking for. I cut the engine, turned off the lights and we stepped out of the car. I’ve been a city dweller for nearly six years now and having grown up on the outskirts of an urban midwestern city I’m no stranger to light pollution. Even when we head to the mountains in Colorado, the stars don’t look like this. It was beautiful and there wasn’t a single light in sight. Anywhere. How rare is that, these days?

It’s worth noting, at this point, that I casually mentioned to Amy that this was sounding a hell of a lot like a terrible horror film; she was not amused.

We headed back down to get some cell reception and did a bit more research. After reading the local’s “FUCK YOU, CITY FOLK” comments on several forums (and eventually completely disregarding them), we found some spotty directions to what we were after. Basically you drive through some deep country roads for about 30 minutes until you see some cars parked on either side of the road. Then get out and walk. It’s worth noting, at this point, that I casually mentioned to Amy that this was sounding a hell of a lot like a terrible horror film; she was not amused.

We drove and drove and finally came across the cars in the dark with some people shuffling around with lanterns and towels and figured this must be the place. We changed into our swim gear in the back seat and followed the trickle of people into the bushes. It was pitch black and we couldn’t see a damn thing without our cell phone light (note: bring a flashlight if you ever do this) and made our way down a steep dirt and shrub-packed hill to the creek bed. Here we found small pools in the creek bed rocks full of people basking in the sulfurous springs.

This is not luxurious, do not bring your children here, if you aren’t comfortable with your body and a little bit of unknown-nasty then this sure as shit ain’t for you.

Admittedly at this point, I was ready to bag it. The wafting smell of marijuana smoke mixed with the sulfur from the hot springs was enough to make anyone say no thanks but Amy was just about knee deep into a pool with three other people so turning back was not an option. Looking around, we realized that about half of the people soaking in the springs were naked. Some of them were boozing, some of them were smoking, but no one really seemed to care that we were there or really what we did so we proceeded with our plan. Let me be clear about the scene that took place here: this is not luxurious, do not bring your children here, if you aren’t comfortable with your body and a little bit of unknown-nasty then this sure as shit ain’t for you.

The springs weren’t “hot” though certainly warmer than body temperature and eventually getting out was going to be a miserable experience as it was only getting later and colder outside. Beers were passed around and our new friends in our pool were, peculiarly, smoking clove cigarettes. We chatted for a while with occasional lulls in conversation, during which Amy and I would say things like “holy shit, can you believe we’re doing this?” and our new friends would say things like “SOMEBODY TURN ON THE JETS WHERE’S THE HOT TUB BUTTON”.

After we’d had our fill of odd locals and the rest of the aforementioned strangeness, we decided to call it a night. We said our goodbyes and frigidly made our way back to the car. We rolled back into Santa Monica around 2am and, after thoroughly showering the sulphur stank off of ourselves, slept hard. I didn’t feel rejuvenated the next day because we slept for a solid 9 hours (which is rare) or because of the sulphur and other minerals that soaked into our skin the night before (read: spilled beer); I felt better about everything because we got away to somewhere that looks, feels, and (sheesh) even smells different. We didn’t go on vacation, we came back the same night, though the next day felt like we had been away forever. It doesn’t cost anything more than your time and some petty cash to get out of town and put whatever grievances you may have behind you. We did the whole thing for no more than $50 and could have eaten at home instead and saved some dough. It will be a pleasure for me to see where this series takes us but I hope you’ll read along and maybe decide it’s time for you, too, to get the fuck out.