In Part 1, we meet and get to know a bit about Traci's past. She grew up in Modesto. Her dad’s family is Puerto Rican and they arrived in the Central Valley from the East Bay. Traci's mom’s mom came to California via Mexico and Spain, while her mom’s dad is Native American, Cherokee to be exact. That man, Traci's grandpa, his mom had three sets of kids from three men, but grandpa didn’t talk about that.
Traci is an only child. She and her family visited the East Bay when she was a kid, but they didn’t really come to San Francisco. Traci says her impression of the East Bay is that it was like Modesto, but more crowded and noisier.
Sometime after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Traci came to The City to go to SF State, where she graduated from the school's BECA program around 4.5 years later. She says that the decision where to go to college ultimately came down to SF State or Sac State. But in the end, she wanted to be in SF.
She and friends had been coming to The City to see shows and concerts. Here, she rattles off quite an impressive list of bands she saw back then, including Duran Duran at The Fillmore.
At State, Traci lived in the dorms, which, after the quake, were showing obvious signs of damage. To her young mind, it didn't matter. She was where she wanted to be. She had always loved the fog, most likely owing to the intense summer heat in Modesto.
While in school, she worked around town in cafes and restaurants. After graduation, she had saved up enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Madrid. She travelled around Europe a bit for a year, then came back to SF and worked various jobs.
Then, a year later, Traci picked up again and went to Australia, this time on a round-trip ticket.
We end Part 1 with some of Traci's fondest memories of New Zealand and the ways that that island nation compare to California.
Photography by Michelle Kilfeather