For the past two years, Tom Carroll has been following in Huell Howser’s footsteps to create his YouTube series, Tom Explores. An explorer at heart, he has gone everywhere from an abandoned mall in Hawthorne to the nooks and crannies of Griffith Park on his journey to tell the hidden, colorful stories of the Southland.
We wanted to know what he would miss if he left L.A. He emailed us his top 10 things he would never be able to leave behind.
1. The Palm Trees – Living in a semi-arid climate may have its drawbacks, but if it means that these non-native trees can thrive then I will take dry weather conditions. Living in a place where palm trees can’t live would be hard for me. I am always drawn to their elegance and their ability to create a feeling of exotism.
2. The Weather – Connected with palm trees, is the weather of Los Angeles. While I understand the natural rhythm that is created by having visual cues of changing seasons, I am from Southern California. As such, I do not have the wherewithal to brave actual weather or comprehend the idea that you have to layer when going outside half of the year.
3. My Family – I am from here, all of my roots are here. Airports are hectic, especially around the holidays. I very much appreciate the fact I only have to drive 45 minutes to visit my family and an hour or two to see extended
4. Good Mexican Food – This was something I didn’t fully appreciate until I visited cities on the East Coast. I assumed that access to good Mexican food was standard operating procedure for any city larger than 500,000 people. Burritos are roughly 40 percent of all food I consume and if I ever left Los Angeles, I would be forever bitter about my lack of access to Los Burritos’ Bean and Cheese burrito.
5. Access to 100’s of Cultures – Since over 80 languages are spoken in Los Angeles on any given day, it goes without saying that we have an embarrassment of riches if I ever want to try and understand a culture or country without having to spend more than an hour in transit. I am guilty of having not explored as much as I should have at this point, but it comforting to know that whenever the bug of curiosity bites me, I have many avenues through which I can understand a place or a person.
6. Outdoor Adventure Options – Plain and simple: Mountains, Beach, Desert. I can go for a hike in Griffith Park, go camping in Joshua Tree, go swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I know that any place you live, you will always have a variety of options but its the variance in landscape that makes this options so much more special.
7. Abundance of Culture – With venues like The Smell and Pehrspace combined with hundreds of galleries, I am never at a loss experiencing something creative that someone else has done. I am continually inspired by the amount of great things created in Los Angeles.
8. Biking in the City – No other city provides such an exciting landscape for biking, hills lots of car traffic, a huge grid. All of these things combine to make for an enjoyable two-wheeled experience. Also, group rides like The Passage Ride provide an amazing outlet to not only experience Los Angeles in a different way but also build a community of people dedicated to a shared experience.
9. Being in the Cultural Center – Related to creative output, I take a certain comfort in the fact that people are doing great things around me, even if I may not be aware of it. There is certain energy to Los Angeles and the people who live here.
10. Its Layers – Los Angeles is hard to understand, be it spatially, visually, or historically. Due to its inaccessibility, there is always a feeling of wonderment and satisfaction when I learn something new about the city or see it differently than I had prior.