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Los Liones Trail & Bursting the Plastic Fantastic Bubble of LA by hiking California – Hike #4

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Los Liones Canyon photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet). https://hotndelicious.com/
Los Liones Canyon photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet).
https://hotndelicious.com/

Los Liones Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles, California, is just the best!

One of the most important things when traveling the world over and learning about a new city or country is to hang out with people who actually live there and do what the locals do. Find your people and soak up the local culture. 

When deciding whether to spend most of my 90 days in the USA in New York or Los Angeles, the factors that I used to weigh up my decision were the culture (I felt like New York would be a better fit for me), weather/climate, opportunities and friends/networks.

Ultimately the weather and my friends/networks played a BIG factor in me deciding on Los Angeles as opposed to NYC, but one of my concerns was getting trapped up in the plastic fantastic lifestyle of Tinsel Town, like I did when based in Dubai whilst working with Emirates Airlines. I needn’t have worried.

Sure, if you’re keen to party all the time (and I had my moments), there’s something on every single night of the week in Los Angeles if you want it; a killer stand-up comedy scene at places like Nerdmelt Showroom, The Comedy Store or Hollywood Improv, world-renown live music venues like Sayers Club, Whisky A Go Go and Viper Room, a vast array of restaurants/bars and because a vast majority of the population work in the entertainment industry, there’s always launch parties, awards ceremonies or drinks and networking meetings to get to.

My focus for this trip was to enjoy LA, but it was also imperative that I knuckle down into my new freelance Australian social media contracts that I was working on remotely, to get a feel for California and start building some networks.

I also didn’t want to get trapped up in meaningless acquaintance-style friendships partying 5-7 days a week like some of those I made in my Dubai days, ’cause I’m at a stage in my life where things are really starting to take shape and I’d rather pour the majority of my time and money into something more tangible, that makes me truly happy.

As regular readers will know from my hiking articles so far on Griffith Observatory, Lake Hollywood and Hollywood Peak, I balanced my nights out in LA watching live comedy, catching up with friends or watching the NBA Finals at my local sports bar, with some of the best hikes all around Los Angeles.

And no, I’m not just talking Runyon Canyon, where all the beautiful people hang out and talk shop – I loved chatting with friends who live in LA about their favourites hikes or seeking out new ones to try together. It’s a wonderful way to strengthen friendships and get away from the bubble of Hollywood, that it could be so easy to get trapped up in.

One such trail I discovered recently with my friends Sam, Bec and Cat was Los Liones Canyon, a short drive past Santa Monica Pier to the start of the Santa Monica Mountains, a coastal mountain range in Southern California, parallel to the Pacific Ocean, with over 500 miles of trails offering the perfect escape from the urban jungle.

We hiked for a solid 2 and a quarter hours, with an array of wildlife in the area including a bunch of lizards & one solitary sleepy snake, who was struggling to get off the trail, and as the “May Gray” (yeah, that’s a thing) started to wash away from the SoCal skies about halfway through our hike, we were left with stunning, sweeping views of Santa Monica, the whole of greater Los Angeles and it’s seemingly endless beaches…

Ultimately it’s become abundantly clear to me through Californian experiences like these, that while LA is definitely Hollywood and Tinsel Town it is so much more. By trusting your gut instinct, doing a little research and approaching the exploration of cities that are brand new to you with the right mindset, you can choose your own adventure and it’ll change your life. This 90 days in Los Angeles, California was the right decision for me.

Happiness!

Article & travel photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet!).

Want any suggestions for all the cool Cali hikes to check out next time you’re in Los Angeles? Check out my photography below, stayed tuned on the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet blog, hit me up on Twitter, check out more of our USA travel photography on Instagram or via email info@hotndelicious.com. I’m more than happy to share my faves. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet entrepreneur podcast!

Our recent Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! podcast guests include Twitter Australia Managing Director, Karen Stocks, Australian comedian & TV presenter, Wil Anderson, Jules Lund, Gotye, Aussie actor Daniel McPherson, Nazeem Hussein & many more.

Hit Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet up on social media here:

Twitter@hotndelicious 
Instagram
@hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious

Hot & Delicious YouTube – Ballistyx Snowboard Show, interviews & more.
‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ entertainment, travel, photography & lifestyle blog:

For photography, blog & social media business enquiries contact: info@hotndelicious.com.

Dan Wilkinson is a social media professional who has driven social media for a range of international brands including Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, Peroni Italian Beer, Philadelphia Cream Cheese & more and is the founder of entertainment, travel & lifestyle biz, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Contact Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! for all your business or brand social media needs.

Social media strategy, monthly content calendar creation, community management, specialised team/staff social media training, creation of social media systems/ways of working and speaking engagements for your business, brand, conference or event.

As an award-winning, highly experienced social media professional, Dan Wilkinson has worked with a range of international brands, spoken at Social Media Week – Miami and has had two campaigns from the past year now featured as global case studies on both the Twitter Success Stories and Instagram Business Blog for his work at SapientNitro, working with brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Peroni Italian Beer and more.

Dan recently wrapped up his position as Social Media Lead for SapientNitro in Australiato pursue freelance social media contracts, influencer/public speaking opportunities and further build his own brand, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Los Angeles Hike #2 – Hollywood Peak – California State Parks.

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Hollywood Peak - Travel photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet). https://hotndelicious.com/
Hollywood Peak – Travel photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet).
https://hotndelicious.com/

Wicked hike the other night!

It’s been a hectic week or two at Hot & Delicious HQ with a couple of brand new clients in Australia and the UK on board and I only had a 1/2 day off last week, so this hike up to Hollywood Peak from Griffith Observatory is EXACTLY what I needed!

I’d seen Hollywood Peak from Griffith Observatory and shot sunset silhouette photos of its majesty before, but hadn’t had the chance to scale her heights… and boy am I glad I did! With sweeping 360-degree views of the city of Los Angeles, Downtown LA, the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park below, this climb (and it is a climb in parts – you can also take the easy, winding route) it the perfect place to spend a Californian sunset.

You can either Uber/Lyft/public transport it to Griffith Park and then hike up in 2 stages (about 1.5 – 2 hours one way) to Griffith Observatory then Hollywood Peak or drive/Uber to Griffith Observatory and then hike/climb the rest of the way up the top to Hollywood Peak.

Smashing way to clear the head and man… when you hit the top… Glorious!

Article & travel photography by Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet!).
Map to Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood Peak.
Map to Griffith Park Observatory and Hollywood Peak.

Want any suggestions for all the cool Cali hikes to check out next time you’re in Los Angeles? Check out my photography below, stayed tuned on the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet blog, hit me up on Twitter, check out more of our USA travel photography on Instagram or via email info@hotndelicious.com. I’m more than happy to share my faves. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet entrepreneur podcast!

Hit Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet up on social media here:

Twitter@hotndelicious 
Instagram
@hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious

Hot & Delicious YouTube – Ballistyx Snowboard Show, interviews & more.
‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ entertainment, travel, photography & lifestyle blog:

For photography, blog & social media business enquiries contact: info@hotndelicious.com.

Dan Wilkinson is a social media professional who has driven social media for a range of international brands including Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, Peroni Italian Beer, Philadelphia Cream Cheese & more and is the founder of entertainment, travel & lifestyle biz, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Contact Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! for all your business or brand social media needs.

Social media strategy, monthly content calendar creation, community management, specialised team/staff social media training, creation of social media systems/ways of working and speaking engagements for your business, brand, conference or event.

As an award-winning, highly experienced social media professional, Dan Wilkinson has worked with a range of international brands, spoken at Social Media Week – Miami and has had two campaigns from the past year now featured as global case studies on both the Twitter Success Stories and Instagram Business Blog for his work at SapientNitro, working with brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Peroni Italian Beer and more.

Dan recently wrapped up his position as Social Media Lead for SapientNitro in Australiato pursue freelance social media contracts, influencer/public speaking opportunities and further build his own brand, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Sating your sense of ever-present global wanderlust… without even leaving Melbourne.

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Melbourne Docklands Sunset Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet). https://hotndelicious.com/
Melbourne Docklands Sunset (full gallery below)
Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet).
https://hotndelicious.com/

Wanderlust. Having lived in 4 countries, eight different cities and spent 6.5 years travelling the world as an Emirates Airline international flight attendant, means that I harbour an ever-present yearning and burning desire to drop everything, pack my bags and jump on a jet-plane around the globe.  

In just 4 weeks, I am jetting off to the USA for at least 3 months and in some ways this very post is the 1st for phase 2 of the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! project – an entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog and brand that I designed to be the vehicle that I can use to drive me to do what I love for a living.

I conceived the original iteration of Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet! in 2010/11 after reading a book called ‘The Hot Zone’ by Kevin Sites. Back in the day, Kevin Sites was a network news producer and war correspondent on American TV for CNN, NBC and ABC, who traded his high profile career to become the first ever internet journalist for Yahoo! News. Subsequently, in his ground-breaking project ‘The Hot Zone’, Kevin travelled to and reported from 20 different war zones around the world in 1 year, reporting from these war zones via a combination of video, still photography and written content. 

After consuming this wonderful journey on paper, I felt re-inspired to continue to find a way to travel the world doing what I loved for a living. In my previous life with Emirates Airline, I’d been living the dream; in a different capital city every few days, travelling the world, 5-star hotels, disposable income, pretty girls… it was like the rock-star’s lifestyle without being the rock-star and when I returned to Australia in 2006, I was determined to win back that same lifestyle, but on my terms (these days it’s more focused on travelling the world doing what I love than the party boy lifestyle 😉).

At the time (2010/11), I was working in the music industry and the original concept for ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet!’ was to travel around the world over the course of 12 months to all the major music festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Reading Festival, Fuji Rock & more, reporting from these festivals with a combination of video, still photography and blogging.

Jump in the time machine to present day and what I desire has evolved beyond just that of the music industry to a life where I’m paid to travel the world, interview inspiring individuals and entrepreneurs across a range of industries, share their tales, capture & create my own and so much more…

I’ve never lost the fire all this time and this is why 10 years on I’m jetting off to America for at least 3 months, to pursue the next phase of this dream that is my life. However during this time, particularly since starting meditation a few years back, one of the most valuable things I’ve taught myself is to appreciate the now… each & every moment; to learn more about this wonderful city I currently live in and temporarily sate these yearnings of wanderlust with excursions around the city I’m in. It gives me a little high and makes me feel alive!

Whether it be after work or craving inspiration on a weekend, I’ll take myself on long bike rides down to St Kilda Beach or along Yarra River trail rides with my DSLR to soak up one of the world’s most liveable cities and this beautiful country we live in. I’d do exactly the same if I was living in Sydney or Brisbane and have done so in the past when I was living in Bondi Beach and Kangaroo Point. You should too no matter what city you live in. I guarantee it’ll open up your eyes and open up your world.

Australia is definitely the lucky country that so many of us take for granted and if more of us made an effort to explore and appreciate the magic of Australian life, I think that we’d realize just how lucky we truly are.

DW

Contact Dan Wilkinson and the Hot & Delicious Group for all your business or brand social media needs.

Social media strategy, monthly content calendar creation, community management, specialised team/staff social media training, creation of social media systems/ways of working and speaking engagements for your business, brand, conference or event.

—————————-

As an award-winning, highly experienced social media professional, Dan Wilkinson has worked with a range of international brands, spoken at Social Media Week – Miami and has had two campaigns from the past year now featured as global case studies on both the Twitter Success Stories and Instagram Business Blog for his work at SapientNitro, working with brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Peroni Italian Beer and more.

Dan recently wrapped up his position as Social Media Lead for SapientNitro in Australiato pursue freelance social media contracts, influencer/public speaking opportunities and further build his own brand, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Hit Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet up on social media here:

Twitter @hotndelicious
Instagram 
@hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
Hot & Delicious YouTube – Ballistyx Snowboard Show, interviews & more.
For ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ podcast articles, travel blog series and more head to:
www.hotndelicious.com

Dan Wilkinson is a social media professional who has driven social media for a range of international brands including Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, Peroni Italian Beer, Philadelphia Cream Cheese & more and is the founder of entertainment, travel & lifestyle biz, Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet.

Byron Bay sunrise. My happy place – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Byron Bay - my happy place. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group)  https://hotndelicious.wordpress.com/

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – Photographic travel diary series.

Byron Bay sunrise – my happy place. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Sunrise bursts through the clouds.

I’ve just finished an early morning run along the beach and at daybreak it feels like the world is my oyster 

Byron Bay is amazing. A perfect blend of beach, bushland, wicked live music and surf culture. I’ve been there for festivals, with friends on holidays and even flying solo for a mini escape. Whenever I’m there the world feels right and so much so that I even looked for work there once and considered working remotely from the northern beaches of NSW.

If you’re going to lock in 5-10 must-stay places when visiting Australia. This is definitely one you should see.

Take a long early morning walk in the rising light and then chill on the grassy banks next to Byron Bay Surf Club watching the sunrise.

I can tell you, there’s no place you’d rather be.

DW

Listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
Instagram @hotndelicious
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.wordpress.com

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant.

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Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Flashbacks to Dubai days… from 1999 to 2006 I lived in the Middle East working for Emirates Airline. We lived a plastic-fantastic life traveling the world with disposable income, pretty girls and 5 star hotels. The rock-star’s lifestyle without being the rock star.

This expat lifestyle and cash cash cash meant buying toys that we’d otherwise probably not buy if we were living back in our home countries. One such treat to myself with my Monopoly money and access to cheap fuel, was a blood red JEEP Wrangler Renegade. It was a beast 🙂 some of the happiest memories I have in the haze of parties and hundreds of flights across our planet was hitting the desert with friends in our 4WDs and dirt bikes, driving through sand-dunes and creeks to rock-pools out in the back-blocks of the Dubai Emirate at the base of the mountains near Hatta.

While the photo inset is actually of a 4×4 tour I took to the desert with Arabian Adventures, it evokes memories of wadi BBQs and beers in the middle of the desert with good friends, dodging boulders at speed in wet, rocky creek-beds with James Brown cranked and diving into crisp cool rock-pools like no other place on earth.

Happy 🙂

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Instagram @hotndelicious
Twitter @hotndelicious 
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.com

Hot & Delicious Group. Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet.

4x4 driving in Hatta, UAE.
4×4 driving in Hatta, UAE.

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Sunset beers. 803 Pink Building, Dubai.

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Sunset. My happy place. Ingrained in my daily ritual. It’s my down-time, recharge, meditation & relaxation all in one.

For me, this ritual began in Dubai days when I lived on Sheikh Zayed Road in “Emirates White Building”, an apartment building next door to the Shangri La Dubai, that can quite clearly in the spectacular ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ footage shot from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Fortunately my 2nd Dubai apartment faced away from Dubai’s busiest strip of road – a 4 lane freeway on each side. My balcony faced west towards the Persian Gulf overlooking a medium-sized mosque and part of the ritual I had with 2 best mates that I shared our “Club #203” bachelor pad with (yes, I’m serious – there was carved plaque and everything! 🙂 shakes head.. ) and friends in the Pink Palace next door (Emirates Pink Building), was watching the sun go down over long chats out on one of our multiple balconies or to smash a few ice-cold pints at the start of big nights out. Our kitchen had a 2nd full-sized fridge dedicated to the slabs/cartons of beer piled next to it and chock-full of ice-cold bottles of vodka, chilled pint glasses and a vast array of spirit mixers. One serious life of excess.

This shot was captured at one such Pink Building sunset session. We got up to all sorts of mischief in Pink and White buildings. Water-bombing unsuspecting Starbucks patrons from 8 floors up, tequila & Jenga drinking games, Up the River/Down The River, scantily-clad cabin crew packing out themed apartment parties, end of night drinks ’til dawn & beyond after the Dubai bars and clubs closed at 3am.. and let’s not talk about the time the tool-bag in the pic decided to drop an empty Corona off the building straight into one of our mate’s JEEPs from 8 floors up! Damage control in more than one sense of the word!

True story. In case you haven’t been up on my Hot & Delicious Instagram yet and been bombarded with sunset magic, one of THE major factors in me choosing my current Melbourne CBD apartment is it’s stunning views of Melbourne’s Docklands, breathtaking skyporn sunsets and nightscapes.

It is truly my happy place these days and some days I float away to the Middle East. 🙂

DW

Instagram @hotndelicious
Twitter @hotndelicious 
Facebook.com/HotnDelicious
hotndelicious.com

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunrise & Sunset – The perfect time to Recharge & Reset #SKYPORN

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Sunset 801 Pink Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). www.hotndelicious.com
Sunset 801 Pink
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
http://www.hotndelicious.com

Sunrise and sunset are easily my favourite time of day. I’ve been shooting #skyporn since before #skyporn was invented.

There’s simply nothing quite like walking along a deserted beach as the sun rises to recharge, reset and put things into perspective. The same goes for sunset.

Back in my Dubai days when I was traveling the world serving chicken or beef as Emirates Airline cabin crew, the 3-bedroom bachelor pad I shared with 2 of my best mates had 4-5 balconies, most of which faced west.

I kid you not, every single day that I wasn’t jet-setting around the globe, getting hammered at the pub or at rugby training with the boys in 35+ degree heat, I’d be on my White Building balcony watching the sun go down. I lived in that Sheikh Zayed Road apartment (#Club203 for the regular party-goers :D) for 5 years and must have taken hundreds of photos with my old Nikon F60 SLR on that window to the world. Cheeky beers, tunes crankin’, chillin’ solo or with friends complete with peach, purple skies during the call to prayer with a mosque silhouette. Perfection.

I became addicted to those long moments of inspiration, so much so that I named a song after it  ‘Endorphins’ and a rather significant factor in selecting my new Melbourne apartment recently, was that it had a 10th floor west-facing balcony. Air balloons, birds in flight, aircraft coming in to land at Melbourne International Airport.. I’ve only been here 3 weeks now, but almost daily I soak up nature’s little slice of heaven with and without iPhone camera at the ready.

I don’t know who invented the #skyporn hashtag, but I can tell you the 1st time I heard it and you had me at sunset..

Sun rises over a secluded beach near Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Australia

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Waking up to a beach sunrise.. perfection

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Pretty lady.. sundown Melbourne-town #magic#Melbourne #beautiful ❤️

Beauty is Everywhere

Melbourne.. beautiful ❤ #love #skyporn #melbourne#hotndelicious #mornporn

Follow Dan Willkinson and Hot & Delicious on our favourite social channels for more #skyporn and wicked photography from around the planet:

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