• My Year in California book cover

    My Year in California

    Los Angeles Times-Daily Pilot

    by Michael Miller

    I had a high school English teacher who wrote an inspirational phrase on the blackboard each week. The slogans ranged from Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman to the poster of the movie “Braveheart” (“Every man dies; not every man really lives”). For that matter, our school newspaper was titled Carpe Diem — Latin for “seize the day” — so I graduated well enlightened.

    During those heady teenage years, I saw the world as a playground of possibility. Now that I am older and wiser, I perceive the limitations more. Even a denizen of Walden Pond needs to earn a living; Ferris Bueller must eventually return to school and finish the work he missed. As one who once planned a vacation by drawing a quarter from a bag and visiting the state on the back of it, I have my bouts of wanderlust, but I know that wherever I go, I must obey the speed limit. 

    This sense of balance runs throughout Ingrid Hart’s “My Year in California,” a memoir of a journey the author took living in 12 California cities, one per month. Hart, a Costa Mesa resident, begins the story on the verge of turning 48, facing an empty nest and feeling restless. With a professional healer’s encouragement and savings at her disposal, the author spends the year living in one picturesque setting after another — a cottage in Carmel, a casita in Palm Springs — and, to quote the title of a similar travel book, eating, praying and loving. Read full review.

  • Midwest Book Review

    Half text memoir, half devoted to vivid, full-color photography, My Year in California: A Journey Toward Midlife Renewal is the personal story of a middle-aged mother who traveled California for a year after both her children left for college. She explored the state’s history, stunning sights, and spiritual legacy, in a quest for midlife renewal. “At midlife, we are called to examine our lives in a new way… As we grow older and enter the second half of life, we set ourselves apart from who we once used to be and consider who we will become. In this new phase of life, we offer more of our experience to others and understand that our time on this Earth is finite – that there is an end point. How will we spend the precious time we have left? It was my goal to answer that question.” An insightful and enlightening browse, recommended for anyone considering their own voyage of self-discovery, especially in the Golden State. Read full review.

  • Customers

    • Worth The Read!!
      By Janet M. Alicea
      Not only do you fall in love with California you fall in love with Ingrid Hart. A sweet thought proving read. Thank you for your insight!
    • Great Journey Through California
      By Mary “Grathy” McGrath
      I just received my copy of Ingrid’s book, and I’m already planning my next California adventure. She gives a wonderful overview of so many cities, that it’s hard to decide where to visit first. I think we are all fantasize about living our lives differently, and I commend Ingrid for taking such an ambitious plunge in self-discovery. This book is a great read!
    • Revelatory!!!
      By Stephen
      I can remember going to different places as a young man that had a lot of unearthed culture and hospitality. This book in contrast to myself, reminded me of those fondest memories. And for that I’ll gladly pay any price!
    • Inspirational
      By Angela M. Andrews
      I thoroughly enjoyed reading My Year in California. I found it to be very inspirational. The author has a wonderful knack for describing her experiences. This book is very well written and inspires your soul to embark on a journey of your own. Thank you for sharing your journey!
    • Lovely, Honest and Insightful
      By Jennifer
      My sister suggested I would enjoy this book and I did! As a woman over 50 who has had some of the same fears expressed by Ms. Hart, I was moved, touched and motivated by her exploration of self through her journey. Beginning with her decision to fold the business she had created and sell her house (her security!), I was caught up in her desire to find something “more.” Ms. Hart repeated throughout her book a quote someone gave to her: “If you want something to change, make a new choice.” I love the simplicity of this message, and she lived it. With complete honesty she tells us of two relationships with men that many of us women, I am sure, can relate to…Again, I was touched and it struck a chord with me. The short historical background she provided for each of the cities/towns in which she lived painted a great picture of what she saw, and it inspired me to seek out and take “the long road.”
    • A Journey To The Heart!
      By Patrick Powers
      Ms. Hart takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery. Like all good journeys there are the elements of the deeply human. These elements include family, crisis life and death…all that is in between! The landscapes and people of California manifest and make material Ms. Hart’s deepest questions. The men, the women, the poetry all expressing the subtle light and the near sultry darkness of a journey well attended to. Like Hesse’s Siddhartha, Ms. Hart introduces the reader to our own deepest questions. Ingrid Hart through your art form you have done the reader a service, thank you.
    • A Mixture of California History, Philosophy and Personal Adventure
      By Careful Consumer
      California is an incredibly diverse state, much more than the typical images of palm trees, surfers, and movie stars. “My Year in California” is an engaging journey that explores some of the lessor known parts of the state, while on a personal quest of renewal. It’s a mixture of California history, philosophy, and personal adventure. How brave to pack up and move to a new place each month! Makes me feel like hitting the road!
    • I Loved This Book!
      By James D. Skow
      When I got this book, I was instantly attracted to the beautiful California pictures. I sat right down and read every word, captivated throughout. But this would make an excellent coffee table book, travel idea book or just a glimpse into California. It is filled with lovely photos and calming ideas. I would recommend it to anyone! In fact, I gave several away to friends and family for Christmas presents.
    • Midlife Inspiring
      By Suzanne Berg
      Ingrid Hart’s story captured me from the introduction. You often hear about midlife crises, but midlife renewal is a far better choice when venturing out on this next phase in life. The timeliness of her book was truly a gift. Her story inspired a modified journey of my own. The emphasis on the raw emotions each destination induces gives the reader a desire to write his/her own itinerary. The humor she shares in these events, and the lessons learned, gives the reader a hankering for their own adventure.
    • A Personal Journey, An Inspirational Read
      By sly1816
      Right from the beginning you, as the reader, are greeted with a beautiful and very vulnerable author’s personal story. The journey picks up from there and each page is a perfect telling and insightful look at some of California’s cities. The best part about the book is that the author not only takes you to these various places with her words, having a variety of stories and background history for each location, but she accompanies each with colorful pictures. The book is perfectly presented and makes the reader long to set forth in a journey to new, unheard of cities in this wondrous state.
    • A Wonderful Book!
      By Heather Green
      I loved reading Ingrid’s story of travel, life, love and adventure! I laughed at parts and got teary eyed at other parts. This book has beautiful pictures along with the interesting history of the California cities she lived in.
    • Required Reading For Spiritual Renewal
      By Kevin Aschenbrenner
      Haven’t we all toyed with the idea of picking up sticks and heading out on the road to see where life takes us? Well, Ingrid Hart did just that — and wrote about it. This book is part travelogue, part spiritual growth memoir, and all heart. I particularly love the photographs. They’re breathtaking. Hart has an attention to detail, too, that’s amazing; she has collected so much history in this book about California that it could probably serve as a textbook — one that would actually be read.
    • This Is A Great, Quick Read
      By Christy Mcpherson
      I enjoyed My Year in California. It was inspiring and educational. It had many interesting facts about California and I always like learning more about the state I live in. Mostly though, I enjoyed Ms. Hart’s own exploration into middle age and her new role in life after motherhood. Women would especially benefit from her journey.
    • Inspiration, Courage & Filled With Soul!
      By Terace Greene
      From the first few lines I was immersed in a woman’s life, perspective and open hearted journey. Not a record but a recount of a cathartic journey that will inspire the reader to take inventory of one’s self. Ingrid has inspired me to resonate beyond any boundaries and for that I am eternally grateful!  It’s truly a must read for all!
    • Loved This Tale
      By Terrilynn Zaharias
      A fabulous journey of courage, faith, and adventure into the unknown! Couldn’t put it down until the end!!! Must read!!
    • Inspirational Book!!
      By Suzanne Mapes
      In Ingrid Hart’s “My Year in California” I not only found the journey to be honest, intriguing and fun I also found myself relating to the very theme of her journey. I, too am in the “Chiron Return” (defined as the time of transformation between the ages of forty-eight and fifty-two). I read this book at the perfect time of my life and at the year’s end. Since reading Ingrid’s book, I have approached things differently with my job, my marriage and in raising two teenage girls. I want things to matter and to be enriched and I have recently put some things in place to bring that into my life. If I don’t find my own time of transformation fulfilling, I may need to seek a journey of renewal as she did for herself. Thank you Ingrid, for making us review our lives and thanks for sharing your year long experience. I found this to be a great read and I will suggest this book to my friends and colleagues.
    • My Year In California
      By Niki
      A gentle journey – very lovingly put together! Easy and quick to read. Well done on your efforts Ingrid Hart :)
    • Details Are What Make This Book Great
      By GoNOMAD
      I met Ingrid right before she was going to take her epic journey, and she showed me pushpins on a huge map of California she had up on the wall. She told me about each place and said she was going to write a book. After that GoNOMAD.com published a few of her stories, and I must say this book is really just as good as I had hoped it would be. Ingrid loves specifics. The details are important to her, so when you read the entries you get the full sensory experience. Even little details are included, and the way she mixes her thoughts in with these details makes for superb reading. The layout of the book is really pretty–she had a designer’s help, and it is laid out so that you can pick it up and begin reading anywhere. For a self-published book it’s really done well. I think this book would be very useful for anyone who might be moving to Cali or just wants to get ideas on great places to visit. You can hear the author’s voice on every page. This is a keeper!
    • “California Soul” Meets “Eat, Pray, Love”
      By Wordmonger
      Ingrid Hart’s My Year in California is one of a kind. The vintage California love song and Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir only begin to suggest the unique melting pot inside My Year’s brave blend of genres–memoir, travelogue and spirituality. This book is an intimate how-to for turning midlife crisis into an odyssey of self-renewal. The parallels and perils of exploring the Golden State, while discovering her own inner gold as a modern-day pioneer, left me feeling both vicariously vulnerable yet exhilarated by Ingrid Hart’s courageous accomplishment. I felt her zest for life and the guts to live it from inner guidance, no matter how scary the quest. It’s “Eat, Pray, Love” California style, yet intimate and attainable. Few of us can afford to get over our latest heartbreak or spiritual crisis on a trip ’round the world, but most anyone can “find themselves” at a turning point in their lives by rediscovering their home State or country with the eyes of a newly freed spirit. Too few of us would take Ingrid’s risk with our resources, both of the financial and faith variety, to follow our hearts and process. My Year in California stands on its own as a travelogue as the author lives a month in each of twelve California cities or towns. Her love for the Golden State shines in every color photo and memory, written with palpable tenderness by a gifted, highly descriptive writer. This book stole my heart and made me fall in love with California all over again. Because of it, I feel less vulnerable and “out there” for having committed so much of myself to my own journey. It’s a real find that left a haunting sense of wanting more. I’m sure it’ll be one of the few books I’ll reread any time I need courage or inspiration. I hope Ingrid Heart goes on more spiritual odysseys and writes about them in her inimitable style.
    • Reality About Midlife Renewal Expeditions
      By Marty Nemko “Host, Work with Marty Nemko–NPR…”
      So many people, in midlife (or earlier or later) feel that a geographic change—whether a trip or a permanent move–will help them gain clarity about what their path forward might be. Without giving away the book’s ending, the author provides a pleasant look at her journey through a dozen California cities and towns–from uberrural Cedarville to hyperurban San Francisco. She describes the process in heavily sensory terms: tastes, sights, etc. rather than in intellectual or spiritual terms. I found reading that pleasurable. I also appreciated the honesty and non-patness (if that’s a word) of the story’s ending. The writing is accessible and enjoyable, and the photos, formatting and printing shows loving care.
    • On the Road, California Style
      By Camille Cusumano
      I have read so much travel writing about places I love that that the bar is higher than ever for what rates with me. If it doesn’t read like a personal story, a heartfelt narrative that weaves the writer’s experience with the places she visits, I’m not interested. I’m done with formulaic travel writing. What makes Ingrid Hart’s book so compelling and provocative is that she is always present in the places she writes about–body, mind, and soul. California is a place much written about but not in the way Ingrid writes about it. Only Ingrid could have had this relationship with places (that I have loved) such as Ojai, Mariposa, Bishop, San Francisco, and eight other great cities or towns in the Golden State. Ingrid lived out a dream many women have–to pack it in and hit the road free of the responsibility of hearth and home. Only thing is, Ingrid runs into some glitches and we are on the edge of our seat wondering if she can keep on with her dream or have to return to the conventions she left behind. Always, she is revealing what her soul tells and guides her to do–even as the IRS unexpectedly threatens to destroy her, and other smaller mishaps. We are biting our nails, rooting for her. This book is a wonderful read and you’ll hold your breath at times, feel goose flesh raised from head to toes, and smile as you journey through the ups and downs with our intrepid “dharma” seeker. First just flip through the book and revel in the amazing photography, most of it Ingrid’s. Then start at the beginning with Ingrid in a Craftsman’s home in Sacramento where a spiritual healer is about to tell Ingrid, “You’re entering a midlife renewal.” The book makes a wonderful gift in its beauty and its depth of message that one wants to read over and over. Oh, and did I mention, you will get a lot of small town history in the book–Ingrid does a superb job researching lore, legend, and fact. My Year in California is rich and layered.
    • A Uniquely Personal Adventure
      By Kavi Morgan
      Ingrid Hart is such a pleasant author, and her story, a delight to read. Insightful, meaningful, inspiring. She has a lot to say, but manages to present it in a short, fun manner, that is easy to relate too, and doesn’t bore. To be truthful, I was hooked from the introduction. My Year In California promised to be a raw, soul-bearing experience. It did not disappoint. Very few books are so honest, yet charmingly personal. So few inspire you with the beauty of the world, and share a touch of the ugly truth, even though, I fell, that that is the makeup of life. Each chapter she shares personal encounters, both of strangers, and those she has known, mixed with tales of the land she loves, and why she was there. Each experience she evoked genuine empathy from me. The joys she felt to the sorrows or frustration. I felt a connection to her through her writing, that I have not felt with many people in my life. This might be because I am a solo-traveling, female motorcyclist, so I meet few like-hearted people, but I feel it is more a testament to her ability as a writer. This book comes with strong recommendations to those in life who travel, who want to do something new, see something more. To those who just want to get away, and to those who want to live vicariously. You’ll be happy you read it.