Backyard Adventures: Petco Park, San Diego, California

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”— Henry Ford

Backyard Adventures, staycation, or whatever you feel comfortable calling it, shouldn't be a bad thing or filed under ‘why bother'.  Not all of us can take off for weeks or months at a time. For what it's worth many of us haven't ventured out in our backyards. There are so many places, food, and attractions to discover. You just need to have an open mind, a cooler filled with food, and a tank of gas.

When I lived in the Bay Area, I went to the city as often as I could.  I also ventured down south to San Jose, and up north into Napa Valley. Here in SoCal, you're within driving distance of Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Catalina Island, and Baja California. I find that many people get stuck and tricked into thinking that a vacation can only be called that if they leave the country or state. Two years ago, bored out of our minds my husband and I decided to get in the car and drive.  That afternoon we started at a Barbecue Festival in Temecula and ended up at a Harrah's casino out in the middle of nowhere drinking gin martinis and listening to jazz. It was completely unplanned and since then we've gone on mini-missions with plans of heading back to the Santa Ynez Valley in Central California and the Channel Islands.

Sometimes, actually most of the time it isn't even about the destination, but the zoo (err, your friends) that comes along for the ride. You can practically do anything with the right people. Just get out and go have some fun, will ya?!

Stay Classy, San Diego!

Do you know the way to San Diego?

I was in the process of continuing my writings about my trip to Holland when suddenly an MLB All-Star Week broke out! Although I had planned on going since last year, I had never been to one so I had to learn the in and outs of waitlists.  Initially, only San Diego Padres season ticket holders had first dibs on tickets, so I braced myself and started saying goodbye to some of my organs.

“Goodbye, kidney!”

When I first mentioned All-Star week to my husband, he was just as excited given that we would be close enough to drive back home and forgo the madness seen during other huge events such as Comic-Con.  Then when we finally came down from Cloud 9, the uncertainty of costs associated with sporting events set in.  I knew that it was going to take careful planning, which meant I would have to forfeit daily conveniences in the form of iced lattes, and take-out.  Instead of having a meltdown or throwing in the towel, telling myself it would be impossible and too expensive to go, I firmly stuck to the idea that:

I am going to go to the All-Star Game.

Mr. San Diego: Tony Gwynn

It would have been too easy to give in to all the doubt and to come up with all of the excuses why it wouldn't happen; yet, it was the affirmation, repeated day in and day out, completely believing that I would be eating hot dogs and drinking a Stone Brewery stout at Petco, that pretty much kicked off this journey.  It was Petco Park or Bust, and I HATE losing. Now I know what you're thinking.

That doesn't make sense! You still need money!!  How can I believe in something or have faith in anything, when all I have are lint and buttons in my pockets!

I live by the old adage, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” If you want something badly, you will find a way to put yourself in a position to get it. Even positive thinking can bring life into the adventure.  Think of it this way, if you keep believing something to be true for long enough, it will become your reality.  It sounds like I'm just spewing off some pseudo-science mumbo jumbo; however, think of how people perceive Monday and Friday.  Both days end in ‘Y', but one seems to stress the fuck out of people, while the other makes people want to breakdance into the weekend. Sure, everyone has their own life challenges to get through.  Still, it's how we pick ourselves up and keep going that makes a difference between being miserable and achieving happiness. To be our authentic selves answers many questions and withers away skepticism. It gives you power and courage. What are you doing today that will help your future self?

You've Got Some Tough Choices To Make, Kid

2016 All-Star Game Commemorative Pin sits nicely on my Dad's Dodger jersey.

Letting go of my possessions…ahem choosing experiences over possessions helped me understand that it wasn't that I was broke, I was just choosing to allocate my funds on dumb shit. After creating an extensive spreadsheet, I decided to track my expenses for a month to get a clearer idea of where every penny was going (surprisingly, it wasn't coffee). Adding comments to cells also helped since we all know we tend to forget exactly what was purchased immediately after swiping our card. I gave up minor inconveniences that were money pits and I started to incorporate minimalist lifestyle hacks, appreciating the things that I had without the need for useless crap.  My time became more sacred and if it wasn't helping my plan, it was a deterrent. All of this combined with tenacity gave me some of the most transformative education that has served me in other areas of life and business. I want[ed] to create my own experiences and tell the rest of society to go suck on a lemon.

When the Going gets Tough, You Get GOING

I signed up for newsletters. I stalked Twitter, MLB, and The only information I could acquire had to do with all of the other events taking place over the course of the week. When the first set of tickets became available, I jumped on the opportunity.  I don't recall looking at my bank statement to make sure if the funds were there.  I'm a bit impulsive that way.  In my mind, the money was there and if not I would find a way to get it. Yeah, fucking nuts. I mistakenly purchased tickets to All-Star Sunday that included the Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball Game.  Not exactly what I wanted, but I figured it would be a start.  I thought about selling them on StubHub because I was mad at myself for buying tickets at 3 am, not fully reading anything in detail. Weeks later I had all but forgotten about All-Star Week.  On a whim, we decided to go to Game 5 of the NBA Finals.  That's one expensive ass t-shirt, I'll tell you what.

Petco Park, home of the 2016 MLB All-Star Game

Buying MLB All-Star Game Tickets

Back home dejected that our team couldn't win back-to-back championships, the focus was back on the ASG. The ASG was only a month away and more tickets became available, including strips which are essentially the packaged deal (tickets to all events).  By the time I was done doing rough math in my head, sought after strips were gone and already selling for exorbitant amounts of money. I felt my plan slipping away, but I'm not one to give up easily if at all.

I became preoccupied with all things MLB ASG, checking daily up until 3 days before the ASG. I decided to then purchase tickets to FanFest, an interactive MLB experience at the San Diego Convention Center, while still holding out for ASG tickets. Two days later, I realized that All-Star week wouldn't be complete without the Home Run Derby. It was at that moment when I thought that I had exhausted every single option.  I tried convincing myself that going to three events was better than going to none and before I start to sound like a spoiled brat, it pretty much was considering that finding cheap tickets so close to the day of the main event was going to take a miracle.  I was fresh out of luck and possibly money.

I couldn't sleep.  Aside from watching some of baseball's brightest stars in the beautiful city of San Diego, I was looking forward to writing my friend's name on a SU2C sign and taking my late father's jersey as a way to honor his memory.  I told myself I would try one last time and gave myself a budget.  I started to ask myself if eating ramen for the rest of the year would be worth it. What about getting rid of some of my vintage designer garb? Even my little golden nugget or beloved VW bug was on the chopping block for a split second. Am I forfeiting a future trip?  Yes, no, hell no, and definitely no.

The Experience You Will Always Remember

I don't regret giving up the opportunity to buy new clothes.  The ones I have now are still in great condition. I'm not starving, and I have a roof over my head.  What else do I really need? Unlike other times, I don't plan on getting a new cell phone this fall. I drive a 57-year-old car and don't have any intentions of buying another one anytime soon.  Alternatively, I have been looking at bikes specifically the cool Dutch-style ones.

What does it all mean, though?

Yes, totally worth it. Go A's!

I just care to do cool shit that will stick with me until my last breath, rather than have the newest gadget, follow some dying trend, or trying to keep up with the crowd. On my death bed, I want to smile because I chose to live life to the fullest with a chockfull of escapades and close calls, rather than have a large shoe collection. If you ever find yourself asking why someone seems to be traveling or doing something you have been yearning to do, while you're sitting at home eating a quart of ice cream in your underwear, understand that the stunning landscape pictures or ‘easy life' were the results of months and possibly years of careful planning and budgeting. Save a penny, save a dollar, save five, ten, and keep going. Look at what you're giving up to get what you really want. And whatever you do, don't give up!!

A latte is a cheap meal in Berlin.  Those shoes could be two nights at an Airbnb rental in Amsterdam.  That designer bag, well that's pretty much a flight anywhere.  I realize that many people can't afford to buy $7 coffee and the comparison seems unfair; however, the planning is the same. It might just take a little longer, but the reward will be that much sweeter. Your choices today, affect your future. Think of what you're denying your future self with impulse purchases and frivolous spending. Now, it's up to you if 365 days from now you want to continue dreaming or stop being a victim to circumstance and bring your plan to fruition.

So, when are you buying that ticket?

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