A Transplant’s Guide to the City of Angels

Photo: Nate Ebert
Photo: Nate Ebert

A little over a year ago I decided to make the cross-country trek that everyone always seems to talk about, but many never end up actually doing. I packed up all of the essential items—mainly cameras and surfboards (8 cameras and 7 surfboards to be exact), left a comfortable life with an abundance of great friends and people, and committed to moving out west in search of some dream fulfillment.

Moving from a small beach town like Jacksonville Beach, FL to one of the largest cities in the world like Los Angeles can be quite the culture shock. Here are a few tips and tricks that I hope will help you fellow transplanters or future transplanters along the way. And if not, hopefully they at least spark something in your brain to get you thinking the right way.

Couchsurfing is an art form. I hope you paid attention in art history.

If you are lucky, you have a friend or two that has preceded you and your decision to move. Hopefully they have a couch or two that is kind enough to grace your presence. There’s a good chance you may need that relationship between you and the firm side of the couch to last longer than you had intended. If so, keeping your shit in its place and going out of your way to make sure the house and all of its accoutrements are taken care of will help you in leaping strides. Providing the occasional morning coffee or home-cooked meal for your hosts won’t hurt your case either.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Just go for it.

Confidence is the key to life. Happen to see your idol out at the local coffee shop? Go talk to him or her. Stumble across the girl of your dreams laying on the beach while going for a surf? Ask her how her day is going. You can’t win the game if you don’t put yourself in it.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Polish up on your DMs.

I hate to say it, but shittttt. It’s true. Social media rules the world, and your minds. It is everything that is awesome and everything that sucks at the same time. Take it in doses and use it to your advantage. I have gotten photo jobs, photo jobs that lead to future bosses, full-time jobs, and even the occasional coffee date all on that beloved app that we always find ourselves on. A pleasant looking feed, a decent following, and originality always help.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Surround yourself with good people.

Self-explanatory and relevant to any person in any situation. I recently heard of a theory that said to surround yourself with people achieving at lower levels than you ⅓ of the time, people on your level ⅓ of the time, and people at higher levels than you ⅓ of the time. Joining a squad of like-minded humans you can hang with, and seeking out some people you aspire to be like is the place to start. Quality over quantity.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

 Max out your credit card to travel with + photograph a model.

Been in the new city for a hot minute and need to skip town to free your mind? I may or may not have gone to Greece with someone I had only known for ten minutes. That person may or may not have been a beautiful girl. I may or may not still be paying off that debt, but I also may or may not have had one of the most amazing experiences of my lifetime and captured some of my most amazing photos. I returned back to Los Angeles refreshed, and fortunately enough, to a full-time job opportunity.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Know the door guy, or know someone that knows the door guy.

There are three main ways to save yourself some line time when grabbing a cocktail. If the first two don’t apply to you, then get going on the third.

  1. Be a pretty girl (or know lots of pretty girls)
  2. Have a lot of money
  3. Know somebody
Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Commit at least one day a week to escaping.

Find your escape. That thing that helps the worries drift away and helps you hit the reset button. For me that is surfing. For you that may be going on a nice hike, venturing to a lovely beach, or just hitting the Sunday brunch game hard and feeling fine off of some mimosas and a chocolate croissant.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Don’t lose sight of why you made the move.

The good ole’ it’s easier said than done adage. With big cities come endless opportunity, and endless ways to get distracted. Anything you could ever want or dream of is here. Even the strongest-willed of us will have our jaded moments. When that happens, take a step back, and realize that your eyes and thoughts are probably bigger than your pockets. Remember your purpose, and use that purpose to work even harder than before. Maybe, just maybe, one day you will have that job you always wanted, that house in the hills you always dreamed of, and those two Rolls Royces and a Vespa scooter with four models squished together on it in thong bikinis.

Photo: @captainbarto

Photo: @captainbarto

Drop me a line if you have any questions. Or, who knows—maybe I could even use a photo assistant on some upcoming jobs? Your life is a book, start writing it.

~X~