Over the past six months, I fulfilled three long-term goals: to retire early, to move full-time to Cambria and to travel around the world. But little did I suspect how much the last two goals might intertwine.
My partner Robert and I just returned from a 51-day cruise from Hong Kong to Ft. Lauderdale, via Southeast Asia, South Africa and Brazil. It was amazing how often our new hometown of Cambria became part of that journey.
When we were eating street food in Singapore, we tasted echoes of the food Shanny has featured at Robin’s or at Wild Ginger, where her sister Debbie presides. It reminded us that the Singapore roots of both clearly show in their menus, and we’re glad they do.
As we wandered through Cape Town in South Africa, surrounded by people marveling at the bougainvillea, citrus and a plethora of Mediterranean-climate plants, we felt right at home. The seaside cliffs, the fog and the sunshine, and the nearby vineyards all reminded us of the North Coast landscape.
Now admittedly, while on safari, encountering lions and elephants didn’t prompt Cambria memories. On the other hand, we rather liked telling fellow passengers how we could see our own herd of zebras just up the road at the Hearst Ranch.
No matter which passengers we talked to, the chances were good that these folks knew of or had even been to Cambria. In the midst of a walk through the Amazon jungle, as we complained to the couple in front of us about the heat and humidity, we discovered they were from Cape Town. We told them how much aspects of their hometown reminded us of our home in Cambria. They quickly agreed. Just the year before, they had driven the Big Sur highway and remembered fondly visiting Cambria. They even recalled the name of their favorite restaurant.
The ship had nearly 1,000 passengers, and we met a lot of them. Admittedly, this is a group of people with extensive travel experience, but we were surprised that the majority knew of Cambria and admired this section of the coast. We anticipate a lot of new friends stopping by on their next visit to our corner of the world.
Also, I have to admit we were big boosters of Cambria. Whether we were extolling events like the Scarecrow Festival and the amazing Fourth of July fireworks or praising the ability of the town to make things happen like the purchase of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and funding a new library — well, I think we came across a bit as braggarts about our small home town.
But there was one thing we failed to do on the cruise. We heard a woman named Susan from Morro Bay had joined the cruise in South Africa. We never did meet her, so I guess we’ll have to make that our hometown project. Of course, I am sure she already knows the wonders of Cambria.
Dennis Frahmann, formerly a resident of Los Angeles, moved to Cambria in November after retiring as the head of marketing for Sage North America. He recently published his first novel, “Tales from the Loon Town Cafe.” His partner, Robert Tieman, formerly managed the Walt Disney Archives and is the author of five books on Disney.