On the Road Again: Do You Want to Explore Santa Cruz


On the Road Again: Do You Want to Explore Santa CruzFor my 50th birthday, I have been working on a project of doing 50 New or Adventurous Things before I turn 50. I know that what is important to me is experiences. “Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream.” Marlon Wayans

In order to make my celebrations complete, I chose to celebrate with people in person! I wanted to see my favorite teacher and mentor, Joannie Parker, who had moved to Santa Cruz last year.

On the Road Again: Do You Want to Explore Santa CruzI flew from Burbank to San Jose and picked up an incredible car for my road trip. I loved being behind the wheel of the brand new 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE! It is sleek, stylish, comfortable, quiet and really handles the curves from San Jose to Santa Cruz. The all-new Dynamic Force Engine has power when you need it and 53 mpg! While Lily Tomlin says, “The road to success is always under construction,” I know that I need to feel secure on that road.

I felt very safe and confident with Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P). The dashboard alerted me to turn my lights on and a RED FLASHING SIGN said BRAKE! when two cars ahead of me stopped short. It has “an active safety package that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) and helps you drive with confidence.”

On the Road Again: Do You Want to Explore Santa CruzBeing at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, I felt very calm. Some of the trees are over 1,000 years old! I figured in this 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees, I was very very young! It is a beautiful drive in the Santa Cruz mountains to the start of the trail. You can bring your bike but not your horse and it was $10 for parking. I was told that “these sky-scraping redwoods were admired by explorer John C. Frémont, President Theodore Roosevelt, and inspired some of California’s earliest redwood preservation efforts.”

Joannie and I walked the 0.8-mile (1.2km) flat loop trail. While we were there, we met a bus group from South Korea. They were marveling at the largest tree with us. It is approximately 277 feet tall and about 1,500 years old.

I loved visiting my mentor and the redwood trees. It made my holiday even better that I was driving a car that made me feel confident with every curve. I am looking forward to my 50th birthday celebrations and know that whatever comes next I am capable to handle it!

On the Road Again: Do You Want to Explore Santa Cruz

 Photos by Lisa Niver with #LGV20
Thank you to Toyota for sharing the 2018 Toyota Camry with me! I loved my driving experience.
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Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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