San Francisco: Day 5 of 5

August 8, 2013
View of Sunset from Plane

On Sunday, I woke up ridiculously early. I’m talking like 6:30-7:00 a.m. (Ok, let’s get real – that’s the normal time I wake up everyday.) Anyway, because it was my last day in the city, I decided to get ready and head out for an early start.

When I first got to San Francisco, one of the things I noticed is how quickly the temperature changes. Most days, it was 22-24°C (71-75°F for my friends down south) and sunny, but at night it would quickly drop down to 12°C (53°F). Guess what this girl forgot to pack in her suitcase? Yep, a jacket. I thought I was going to California! Isn’t it hot there? Clearly, I’m a fool and did not do enough research, because it’s apparently common knowledge that you need to layer up in San Fran.

As luck would have it, I didn’t really need a jacket during the first four days of my trip. But it would’ve been great to have on Sunday!

Fog in San Francisco

I left the apartment around 8:00 a.m. and took the bus back to North Beach. Living on the West Coast, I’m used to seeing fog… but it consumes this city, like nowhere else I’ve ever seen. (This pic doesn’t do it justice, I just thought this building was kinda neat.)

Mama's San Francisco

My mission for Sunday was simple: attempt to eat breakfast at Mama’s again, drink some good coffee and maybe try to do a little writing. I walked up to Mama’s around 8:30 a.m. and found yet another lineup down the block. Waiting in line for breakfast is not uncommon where I’m from, so I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for was how long the wait ended up being: two hours! And I got there just 30 minutes after they opened! Without a jacket, I was freezing. Just before they let me inside, I think I was doing some sort of slow dance, to try and stay warm…

Latte at Mama's in San Francisco

When I walked into Mama’s, I found myself in another line; this time, it was a line to order food. Unlike most restaurants, where you are seated at a table and have a server take your order, at Mama’s you order your food and sit down afterwards. I already knew that I wanted a latte (which warmed my belly and was delicious to boot), but I had no idea what I wanted for breakfast. Mama’s menu hangs from the ceiling above the food orders that are getting ready to go out – talk about tactful placement! I drooled over three-egg omelettes and poached eggs, but decided to go for something sweet instead…

Chocolate Cinnamon French Toast at Mama's in San Francisco

Chocolate Cinnamon French Toast. (Yes, I basically licked the plate clean.) With each bite, I became more and more thankful for Bridget’s recommendation – and for her encouragement to stay in line, when I was tweeting about how cold I was!


Having crossed two of the three items off my to-do list before noon, I decided to walk around a bit more. I spotted this sign hanging from the inside of a building and couldn’t help but stop to read it. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Before heading back to the apartment, I picked up a couple bottles of wine as a thank you gift for Vince and his roommates. Then I grabbed one last coffee from The Creamery and bussed home. There, I quickly packed my bags, before sitting down to write. I managed to spit out two posts about the first few days of my trip, as well as come up with a list of ideas for future posts. Then I took a look at my San Francisco bucket list and crossed off as much as I could. I also started adding up what I had spent on it all.

I went to San Francisco with no plans and no real budget. Sure, I took $600 USD down with me – and somehow managed to come home with $7.54 – but I could’ve spent a little more and been ok with it. I crossed most things off my list, with the exception of Alcatraz, Golden Gate Park and Twin Peaks. If I ever go back, I’ll know to book my tickets to Alcatraz months ahead of time and bring a hiking buddy with me. But (and here’s the thing nobody expects me to say), I’m honestly not sure that I’d ever go back to San Francisco – at least not alone.

Don’t get me wrong, the trip was great. But I’d be lying if I said I felt safe the whole time I was there. When I went to NYC at Christmas, I spent an entire day and night walking around by myself and didn’t feel scared once. But there was more than one occasion where I felt uncomfortable in San Francisco. For starters, the fact that basically every home is behind a locked gate is a sign that crime rates are probably high. That didn’t bother me, it was just something I noticed everywhere I went.

What did bother me was the feeling I got when I was walking down what should have been busy streets and couldn’t see a single other person. I also can’t tell you how many times people told me not to go to certain areas by myself and, when I didn’t listen, I quickly learned why. Like the time I waited for a bus on Market Street and had a guy circle me 5 times in the span of about 20 minutes. (What’s with me and creepy dudes?) That was the night I remembered I had the Uber app on my iPhone and was grateful to see that a cab was only 2 minutes away.

In the end, my 5-day trip to San Francisco cost me a total of $861.46. As is the same for most trips I go on, the best part of it was the people I spent my time with. It might sound lame but working at the ReadyForZero office was one of the highlights of my trip. I’m always inspired by entrepreneurs and the people who work at startups, but what ReadyForZero does in the U.S. is something I wish a Canadian company would replicate. Plus, the content team felt like my soul people.

I left for the airport just after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and boarded a plane before sunset. When we took off and got to about 10,000 feet, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the sky was. After I snapped the pic you can see at the top of this post, I remembered the reason I’d been able to take this trip: I was debt-free. And this trip was my way of celebrating how far I’d come financially over the last two years.

That thought made the view so much better.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life August 8, 2013 at 4:25 am

    It sounds like you had a lovely, relaxing day! It sucks that parts of the city sketched you out though, sounds like taking a friend might be the best idea next time.

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm


  • Laura August 8, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I visited San Fran at 18 but I was with my uncle, it would be lovely to go back as an adult. Congratulations again on being debt free and I’m so glad you took some time to celebrate your accomplishment :)

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

      You should definitely go back, Laura! And thank you :)

  • Tammy August 8, 2013 at 6:19 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco and have yet to create the opportunity. Thanks for sharing and reawakening the desire.

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      You’re very welcome. Go go go :)

  • Shannon-ReadyForZero August 8, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Ummmm….I need to find that french toast. Wow, my mouth is watering just looking at the picture… And we totally felt like you were our soul sister! I can’t tell you how much fun it was having you in the office and hanging out with you on the weekend! I’m so glad you came to hang out with us :).

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      Aww, I miss you guys! And you MUST go to Mama’s. Seriously. Make Matt wake up before 3:00 p.m. ;)

  • snarkfinance August 8, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Those french toast is just diabetes in the waiting… also, I love San Fran, my skateboarding sponsors (back in the day) were all located there and I was flown out a bunch of times. Great place.

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm


  • Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans August 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Yea, we do have a bunch of shady areas here in SF. That’s why I’ve learned to never go somewhere more than a few blocks by myself at night!

    It sounds like you had a great time. I still need to try Mama’s! Your posts about SF are making me want to play tourist in my own city!

    • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Yea, there might have been another reason I spent so many nights at home, haha… but in all seriousness, I did enjoy my trip. You should definitely play tourist!

  • Cait August 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Go go go! Soon soon soon :)

  • Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption August 9, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Man, that restaurant MUST be good because I cannot fathom waiting 2 hours just to have breakfast! Then again, I’m a VERY impatient person…

  • Deena Dollars August 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Funny, I lived in SF for a year and rarely felt unsafe, even walking at night. There’s really just one area (Tenderloin) that is unwise to walk around alone, in my opinion, and it happens to be adjacent to downtown/touristy areas, so this might have seemed more salient to you.

    Sounds like you had a good trip!