My journey to Neverland

It was in August 2009 when two friends and I were on holiday in California, just two months after the tragic death of Michael Jackson. We had planned the trip before Michael's passing and knew that visiting the Neverland Ranch was on our 'To Do' list regardless. We coincidentally arrived at LAX on the 29th August(Michaels birthday) and rented a car for the two week duration in which we were going to be in California.

We set off on the 7th September 2009 in the evening time and headed northbound from Los Angeles. We wanted to travel to somewhere within the Santa Barbara County and stay the night with the intention of heading off early the next day knowing we would not be too far from Neverland.
We drove for about 1 and a half to 2 hours until we eventually got to Santa Barbara city within the Santa Barbara County where we stayed the night. The next morning we woke and headed off up the 101 Freeway knowing that we were not too far from our final destination 'Neverland'.

 The 8th August 2009 and the sun was shining bright and and there was a calm and relaxing feeling in the air as we drove past the many vineyards and amazing scenery of Santa Barbara.
I had printed out the journey route the day before and was giving direction to one of my friends who was driving. I also thought that we should embrace this once in a lifetime journey and I decided to plug in my Ipod and we started listening to Michaels biggest selling album 'Thriller' . The two songs which always stick in my head when I think back to that day are the ever popular and amazing 'Human Nature' and also the soft and touching song 'Someone in the dark' which Michael recorded for the 1982 film ET.

We drove and drove,we had gone about 25 miles north of Santa Barbara and that is when we
all started to get rather exciting knowing that we were now so close. We were all intensely looking out for Figueroa Mountain Road which would be coming up shortly on the right hand side. We drove somemore till we spotted it! Excitement kicked in even more! We turned into the long and what seemed to be secluded road and headed down it counting the numbers on the properties as we drove by them. We were looking out for '5225'. We must have drove for about 4/5 more miles down the road until my friend said 'THERE IT IS'. We hit the brakes!!!!

We could see the Wreaths on the gates saying 'NEVERLAND' and 'ONCE UPON A TIME'.
Before getting out I said lets drive around the property and see if we can get closer or if there is another entrance or gate. We drove around the property which was so big that it only had some small wire guarding the boundaries which read 'Tresspassers will be prosecuted'. The road started to turn hilly so we climbed it a little hoping to get a better view and maybe even see some of the property..... Nothing! We could not see a thing, so we turned around and went to the front gate which we had a few minutes just drove past. We pulled the car over and very quickly jumped out to walk closer to the gates. There was no one around at all!! It was so quiet and peaceful. I walked over to the front gate while capturing every moment on my Camera Phone. I could not believe it. I was standing at The front gates of michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. I was touching the gate which Michael had been through and I was standing where Michael had once stood. It was emotional and it got me thinking about how this must have been an amazing place for Michael to retreat from the outside world and media. As it was just a few months after Michael's death I was suprised that we were the only ones there, although after about 5 minutes other groups of people started to turn up. There was also a little security house just behind the gates which had a couple of security guards and some motored buggies there for them to whizz around the ranch. After being there for about 15 minutes, the gates opened and a few truck came out which had 'Landscape Gardening' on the side. It looked like
work men were there cleaning and working on the grounds. This appeared to be similar to what was also seen on tv shortly after Michael's death which made people speculate about where Michael was going to be buried. As the gates were about to close one of the security guys came over and we couldn't help but start throwing questions at him. One familly were even begging for him to let them in as they had come all the way from Germany. This was never going to happen and we all knew it.
The security man said that upto 300 people a day were turning up outside Neverland since the Death Of Michael. He also wanted us to realise that Michael had not been or lived at the property since 2005 after the court case. As fans, of course we were all aware of this but nonetheless it was once Michaels home and a place where I believe he spent alot of his best years. One other interesting thing which the security man told us was that the main house was still over a mile further up from the front gates where we were standing and that there was another gate before that. That other gate is the one you would have most likely seen on tv and maybe in the Martin Bashir documentary, which had a large NEVERLAND across it. About 30 minutes later, after taking lots of pictures and recordings and just taking it all in, we headed back to Los Angeles.This was an experience which will stay with me forever!!

From then onwards I have obtained an even more special love for this charming playground which Michael created.
 My only hope now is that Neverland is turned into a 'Graceland' style memorial so fans can see and experience this amazing and magnificent place Michael Jackson once called home.