The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

Ah, the solo getaway. We’ve all dreamt of the eat, pray, love life at some point, but who are we kidding? With most of us bogged down by family, career and general day-to-day life obligations, going on a lengthy soul-searching journey just isn’t practical. But what if you knew how to plan a solo overnight trip that could at least somewhat aid in providing the mental cleanse we all need?

When we were in the thick of the pandemic, I thought about how fulfilling it would be to celebrate my eventual vaccination by booking a solo overnight stay somewhere just out of L.A. That said, the timing had to be right—and when a last minute change of plans altered a pre-scheduled arrangement last Thursday, I took it as my sign to jump on a 24-hour getaway.

It’s important to keep in mind there are many types of solo excursions. If you’re looking to meet new people, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to soak up the sun by the pool all day, there’s a place for that. If you’re looking to sip cocktails with no cares in the world, there’s a place for that. I knew that my intentions were to go somewhere grounding and spiritual. Oh, it also happened to be Earth Day, so naturally it made the most sense to venture somewhere scenic and serene.

I considered my local options, and booked a quaint room at the Ojai Retreat & Inn. To be clear, this isn’t sponsored by any of the establishments I mention in this piece. I simply just learned a lot from my experience and want to share since many people expressed interest when I posted about it online. Keep reading for all my tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip if you’re looking for a zen recharge outside of L.A.

  1. Consider the Destination

It’s important to be mindful of the fact that just because a place involves lounging doesn’t mean it will be peaceful or mind-clearing. I think when Angelenos think of relaxing, Palm Springs is the first place that comes to mind. But quite frankly, it’s not where I’d personally go for a distinctly serene experience. To me, Palm Springs evokes Coachella memories and partying. It’s also a blistering hot desert, so if there’s no pool with refreshing cocktails to boot, count me out.

When I booked my trip, it was important for me to immerse myself in nature, first and foremost. While Southern California is beautiful with many outdoor activities at its fingertips, much of it is a scene or just L.A relocated (a la PS). When I think of serene, scenic solo getaways in SoCal, I think Ojai, Idyllwild and Topanga Canyon. And in my planning process and searching around for available hotels (easier than Airbnb), Ojai was the best fit in that moment.

  1. Disconnect or Tie-Up Any Distracting Loose Ends Beforehand

When it comes to how to plan a solo overnight trip, be sure to wrap up any unfinished business beforehand. To get the most out of your experience, you don’t want this to be a work remote situation. Take the day off and let everyone you know you’ll be out of pocket for 24 hours. I’d even advise putting your phone on airplane mode for at least half the time. If you’re in a situation where you do need to leave your phone on, at least make sure you have no lingering concerns or obligations that could interfere with your peaceful mindset on the trip.

For me, personally, the day/night I got there was fantastic. I explored the beautiful grounds on which I was staying, I walked to a beautiful restaurant for dinner and embraced the garden view from my bedroom. I turned off my phone after dinner, and when I turned it back on the next morning, I had a cryptic text waiting for me from a friend. When I replied, I got another cryptic reply, leading me to question if there was something I needed to worry about. The friend said they could only talk after work. Instead of agreeing and going on with my day, I wish I had blatantly asked if this had to do with me or to speak right then. Instead, it left my neurotic brain frazzled and poured out into the energy of what was supposed to be a mellow day. It ended up having nothing to do with me, but going into this situation next time, I’ll need to know off the bat so it doesn’t impact my peaceful experience.

  1. Schedule a Healing Session

If there’s one place to take advantage of natural healing properties, it’s in nature, of course! Places like Ojai, for example, offer a slew of intuitive readings, reiki and crystal healings, sound bath experiences and other forms of re-centering and cleansing your energy. I just so happened to have a session scheduled with my bi-yearly healer later that week in L.A., but if I didn’t have that on the calendar weeks in advance, I’d absolutely have booked a session on my travel. Especially since I haven’t done any form of healing since just before the pandemic, this was such an opportune time!

4. Book a Room Somewhere Serene

    1. Going off of No. 1, if zen is your goal for the trip, be sure your room reservation follows suit. For this sort of stay, I’m not going to book at the trendiest spot in town (even if it’s the most beautiful or luxe). I wanted somewhere small, quaint, and scenic. I didn’t need room service or a full bar by the pool. I just wanted to be in nature and feel like I was in a whole new world with no familiar faces in sight. Again, I’m not big on Airbnb for solo travel (but that’s just me). I find it so much easier to book a hotel and not have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience.

      1. Plan Your Trip on a Weekday

      Planning your stay on a weekday is key when it comes to how to book a solo overnight trip. I went on a Thursday and stayed through early Friday afternoon. Not only do you beat the crowds (and yes, that includes some L.A. tourists), but you have better deals and vaster options. Based on my day of stay, my room was $10 off. I was also easily able to snag a last-minute reservation at the hottest spot in town for dinner. And when I headed into downtown the following late morning, I felt like I had the area all to myself. I find it generally easier to decompress on weekday trips. You’re not soaking up the energy of masses of travelers around you and you don’t feel like you’re missing out on traditional weekend activities.

    6. Ensure There’s a Dining Establishment Within Walking Distance

        1. Nothing’s worse than getting in the zone and feeling at ease than having to hop into your car or deal with an annoying Lyft when all you want to do is eat a nice meal and enjoy a glass of wine. Avoid tampering with your energy flow by ensuring beforehand that there’s somewhere walking distance to eat (or somewhere [mellow] to eat on the premises of where you’re staying). I was fortunate enough to have an exquisite fine dining establishment waiting for me at the very bottom of my hotel’s hill called The Ranch House. I can’t think of a better place in that moment to enjoy a solo meal with an extraordinary view.

      7. Set an Intention for the Trip

          1. While getting away just to get away is all sorts of groovy, it’s so much more meaningful when you have a goal or outcome for your brief yet powerful journey. In my case, I wanted to connect with nature and clear my energy. While I’m no stranger to alone time (I’m single, I live alone and I’m very socially independent), it’s a lot different to stroll down bustling Sunset Blvd. to grab coffee than it is to stroll through an array of trees and waterfalls and peacefully reflect on life. Like with most people, the last several months have been wildly transitional. It was important to me that I shed some lingering energy that’s been piled up over the last year. While a step outdoors isn’t going to dramatically change your life or fix all your problems, it does help clear your head and put things into perspective when you don’t have the distractions of your day-to-day life clouding your mind.

        Dahvi Shira is a longtime L.A.-based writer and editor who has been published regularly with People, E!, Mane Addicts and her own blog Skyelyfe. When she’s not writing or embracing her inner Gen Z girl, she’s experimenting with makeup and skincare and promoting her merch line @dgilosangeles.

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        What is gay sexuality? What is socializing in queer spaces? and what is the meaning of partying in a post-Covid circumstance, where we are still locking in and out while needing to rage on harder. With pride around the corner and what is sure to be #SlutGirlSummer we chatted with Eric Alán whose gogo dancing persona Rico Starr led to an iconic and vivaciously vulgar clothing line which bridges the gogo attire with the streets.

        Who is Rico Starr?

        I would have to say Rico Starr is an over the top version of myself. A world class traveler, into fashion, all things nightlife, glitter, fun, music and extravagance!

        Is he a top, bottom or vers?

        Definitely vers! Everyone knows very guys have twice the fun…Rico Starr even has a shirt for that!

        What would be your ideal dream Starr to rock Rico Starr?

        My tagg line is that EVERYBODY IS A STARR. There is no one type or aesthetic that my line is directed to or at or trying to attract. In fact, my website is full of photos with actual customers in their own Rico Starr gear.

         

        What is your background in production and how did you see yourself utilizing it as a means of expression?

        My segue into singing and recording my own music was being chosen out of a crowd in a dance club to audition for a slot as a backup dancer to another recording artist at the time. Doing that for about a year or so, I met music producers and just started working on projects and before you know it that lead to my own songs, music videos, tv spots, press, live shows, etc.

        As far as expression, I just wasn’t afraid of putting who and what I am out there. The themes and imagery of my music are very authentic to me as a person. It’s flashy, gay, unashamed, proud, sexy and fun! I don’t think it ever occurred to me to try to fit into or be anything else than what I was/am. This was my art so intrinsically a visual and audible extension of myself.

        Did you feel like dancing came naturally what was your gateway until performing and did you use it to incorporate and direct your musical career?

        Since I was very young, music and dancing has ALWAYS been a HUGE part of my life. My mother incessantly played Donna Summer’s ‘On The Radio’ album which I still never get tired of listening too. My late aunt and I would dance in her laundry room for hours. She introduced me to Latin sounds like salsa and merengue and was so eager to listen to new things at the time like Madonna and Gloria Estefan.

        Gogo dancing came after my stint as a recording artist. And yes, it did come very naturally. Music ALWAYS takes me to a place of joy. Every time I dance, people come up to me and remark at how much fun they have seeing and sharing the joy I have when I’m dancing.

        Beyond stage outfits how did you feel your designs extended into the dancing in the music?

        Dancing generally takes place in a dark room filled with flashing lights. The clothes I design are made specifically for that. I mean, as gay men the shirts come off pretty quick, but even at bars, there is dim lighting and at least a disco ball, right? The materials in my shirts are all used with that in mind. From foil to glitter and rhinestones, it’s all meant to catch the light and shine!

        Do you feel that what you had made for a gogo dancing as a custom extension to how you view your own sexuality and personal sexual habits?

        As far as gogo dancing, the point is to be as sexy as fuck right? But beyond that I have always felt that there is nothing sexier than confidence. So with that said, unless I was dancing for an event that was sponsored by a particular underwear or clothing brand, I always aimed to wear something that made me feel confident. And yes, that absolutely included leather, jocks, briefs and anything in between. My favorite gogo dancing gigs have been for various Madonna events. I got to reimagine and create her outfits but from a gogo dancer perspective.

        The brand is super all-in, where the K crew and G crew can somewhere say high high hello, what would you say is the best layering technique of drugs for a night out?

        Well. I’m not one to dose and tell but I personally find that a little bit of everything makes for a phenomenal night out dancing under those flashing lights and glittering disco ball!

        Where do you see the brand going in the near future?

        Rico Starr is about to put out summer gear and it’s first swimsuit. While you can already find the shirts in Chi Chi Larue’s Circus of Books in West Hollywood, CA, I would like to see Rico Starr expand to other brick and mortar stores across the country and maybe even internationally! 

        How do you feel gay men have interacted with their sexuality as the pandemic hit, are we coming back to cruise culture for a sense of adventure?

        From what I have seen and heard I would have to agree that cruise culture is on the rise again. Apparently the Rambles here in Central Park is quite the happening place! Again, so I’ve heard… It’s kinda like what Richard Attenborugh said in Jurassic Park but I would tweak it a bit. “Gays find a way.”

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        Oh how we miss it, how we missed it all. The chance to bump into friends you haven’t seen in ages had at a dark location lit by candles scented buy cigarettes and wood floors soaked with rosé. Everyone dressed in their best but kept a certain withdrawal to appear with an effortless ease. The international set of wayward vagabonds creating an elegant mélange that would stalk the hallways of hotels, parties, and hotel parties. Those last days of the Hollywood Flaneur are done for now but the artifice lives on through technology with Ty Joseph’s installation Social Connecting.

        Utilizing video and audio the experience pays homage LA nightlife and is trickled with audio that has been recorded in various hot spots from the Chateau Marmont to Delilah’s. The experience casts the attention of a lifestyle that cannot feasibly exist due to Covid-19 restrictions as well as the social mores which come with such acts of social intimacy. The comforting sensations come in perfect timing when isolation fatigue and the trickling of indoor dinning has the city in a frenzy of what is right and wrong. Processing the experience harks back to what it is about LA’s night life which fueled the dreams of the world and adds to the on going narrative of a city of glamour and grunge.

        Ty Joseph

        Social Connecting

        Beverly Center

        Runs through April 26, 2021

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        The technology that is behind this range is a derived from studies on spider webs and cultivated with plant proteins which gives hair that additional support, 5x the strength while knocking out that brass. This hair system range coupled with the Dry Hair Instant Repair Ampoule makes for an amazing hair experiences. Combined they go into overdrive allowing a healthy hair experience that is malleable to textures while also able to hold. If any thing this can give you that beachy blonde shag with out all the salty dangers.

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        Dine in Design : Spring 2021 Shopping Guide

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        First thing first “I Care A Lot” about that Rosamund Pike Molly Goddard dress at the Golden Globes, it an emotional and stylistic revalation which preached the need for a socially distancable 6 feet radius dress? Thank goodness a light version is up for grabs in time for spring.   SHOP EM NOW

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        Eleanor Guthrie of indie label Knorts has created the ultimate hybrid trousers that are part legging, part pants, part jeans, part sweats, and all sexy. Lounge in them in bed or on the way to a Bumble date, your ass will look great regardless SHOP EM NOW

        revovle knorts jeans pants

        A tried and true classic that is effortless chic as well as affordable, the 250 year old brand Castañer was even enlisted by Yves Saint Laurent himself to produce the labels first Karina style espadrille wedge in the 70s. SHOP EM NOW

        revovle knorts jeans pants

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        revovle knorts jeans pants

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        revovle knorts jeans pants

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        revovle knorts jeans pants

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        revovle knorts jeans pants

        In our opinion the least used and appreciated part of the body that can be equally as slutty as showing your tits off is the ankle, with this By Alona anklet you can even dress up a pair of flip-flops to be equally as transgressive.    SHOP EM NOW

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        A little dose of ruffles always make for a lot of statement, especially with this great Batsheva top which we absolutely love for its sustainable production and timeless sophistication albeit with a little quirky tendencies.  SHOP EM NOW

        The Solo Journey Experience | Ojai

        If you’re itching to get out of L.A. alone for 24 hours, here are firsthand tips on how to plan a solo overnight trip (if you’re looking for a zen recharge)

        Rico Starr | Gogo’s Entrepreneur

        From the closet to the bar get to know more about the creative multi tasking the gay clubs

        Dana Boulos | Talk By Brainfreeze

        The hidden entrepreneur gets vocal with her latest podcast Talk by BRAINFREEZE.

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        There is a certain sense of purity in the amount of matter of factness that is taken into clothing, fashion, and shopping habits. We do live in the age where sensory deprivation and Internet shopping reign supreme an era where whimsy can come off as trite and ugly can...

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