Retreat to Laguna Beach

When on the company dime, one must enjoy it as much as humanly possible. I haven't spoken about my job much yet, but the past 3.5 months, I've been working for Matador Network, a travel publication. I am a social media producer for the company and the team all works remotely around the world. It's literally my dream job and I still sometimes feel like I'm asleep because it can't be real that this is my reality.

Because we're all dispersed across the globe, we recently were brought together for a company retreat in Laguna Beach. To have our flights, hotel, and food paid for was seriously the best. What also was was amazing was getting to meet the people that make up my truly special company. We're all a bunch of travel lovers who live for seeing the world. It was surreal to meet the people I've been talking to on Skype for so long and do it in such a beautiful place.

I don't have the best memories of California, only because four years ago I spent three depressed months in Los Angeles and couldn't run away fast enough. I had never flown into LAX before because I only ever had driven to LA and back when I briefly lived there. It felt weird arriving back into California after so long. I had been traveling around London and Lisbon the previous two weeks, so it was nice to be in private hotel room and actually get some time to relax rather than feel constantly on the go as I had previous to that.

The only image I had of Laguna Beach in my mind was that of the reality TV show that was on when I was a teen, so I didn't know what to expect. Thankfully, it was just a beautiful patch of Southern California that felt so wonderful to retreat to for 4 nights. I knew I had to photograph this piece of paradise since I don't know when I'll be back to such a lovely vacation spot (I tend to stay away from beach locations when I travel). But the weather was nice and temperate and being with my company made it all the better.

Whether you're in gorgeous Laguna Beach soaking up some sun, checking out the bustling, celebrity-filled streets of Los Angeles, or the quaint and relaxing Santa Barbara, an apartment or house rental is a great option for visiting California. You get that "at-home" vibe that is harder to get from a hotel (something I wish I could've experienced with my company. Imagine having a whole house to ourselves for a retreat!), but I was able to pick some of those feels in these photographs and imagine what it's like to stay like a local.