throwback thursday, desert style

 
 

Five months ago I was traipsing through the desert in moccasins and a rental car, my only experience of the desert being a pop-up book of habitats we had as kids and an episode of The Magic School Bus.

 
 

Five months ago I was driving down endless roads with a woman I had never met in person, listening to Trevor Hall and Xavier Rudd on repeat as we ate raw food from the Joshua Tree health food store and laughed until we hurt.

Five months ago I was waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of coyotes not-that-far-from-our-window yipping and howling under the full moon, and later scrambled out of bed in the morning to stand right where the coyotes had been and watch the sun rise over the desert hills.

Five months ago as my body was adjusting to dry air and high altitude, my heart was adjusting to the idea of a life bigger than the one I'd been imagining.

As the world was opening up before me, so was I.

And so a new adventure unfolds, calls to me, reveals itself...... More to come!

 

{Photos of me by the ever-talented Carmella, my roadtrip partner!}

some more of that trip from october that I haven't blogged

It's been three months now and I'm just getting around to blogging another leg of our trip -- three months that have rocked me, changed me, and spurred all sorts of movement. This trip really shook me up in ways that I wasn't prepared for, and looking back on the photos all this time later makes me appreciate how much I've changed since then. (They also make me want to go back to the southwest United States like crazy, you know?)

Madrid, New Mexico

So, we left off in Monument Valley and were heading for New Mexico. In New Mexico there's a tale that people often get stuck there for some crazy reason, and then end up staying. I was told that story time and time again as I gushed on and on about how much I loved it there and didn't want to leave. I was tempted to just stay......but didn't ;)

Our first stop was the tiny mining town of Madrid where we planned to stay in an Airbnb "eco cabin." One room, compostable toilet, set up on a mountain off the main road. We took a chance at staying 25 miles outside of Santa Fe instead of right in it (mostly because the Airbnb host seemed so great), and I'm so glad we did.

Madrid, New MexicoMadrid, New Mexico

I fell in love with Madrid. With New Mexico. With all of it. I woke up early on our first morning there, and went out to the porch with my tea and journal. The sun was coming over the mountain and the world was waking up. The neighbor's donkey brayed in greeting, the birds sang, and I was in heaven. Our Airbnb host, Lucy, was a kindred spirit who invited us to join her in a full moon fire circle, gave us tips on being in our twenties, and even ended up KNOWING my best friend Christina. Tears came to my eyes as we both realized the enormity of this seeming coincidence, while also realizing that it wasn't really a coincidence at all :) It's a small, kind world out there and in that moment, I was so happy to be living in it fully and deeply.

Madrid, New MexicoMadrid, New MexicoMadrid, New MexicoMadrid, New MexicoMadrid, New MexicoMadrid, New Mexico

We visited Santa Fe, bought some turquoise jewelery, went to the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, and traipsed around eating popcorn from a street vendor. As our time in Madrid came to a close, we ventured on to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (an awe-inspiring and very difficult hike that we were not dressed appropriately for!) and pretty much sighed every two minutes in amazement.

Santa Fe, New MexicoSanta Fe, New MexicoSanta Fe, New MexicoSanta Fe, New MexicoMadrid, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New MexicoTent Rocks, New Mexico

(Above, we got out of the canyon just as a huge storm rolled in!)

 

New Mexico, you're my new favorite state.

monument valley and open roads.

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It's funny, how I remember our time spent in the rental car being some of the most fun we had. On the fourth day of our trip, we left Sedona and drove four hours north to Utah to see Monument Valley. We were seeking out the infamous view, and drove around for what seemed like hours before realizing that you only view it coming south into Arizona, instead of heading north into Utah. (Seems easy enough, I know, as there's only one road going through it. But I promise it was more confusing than that!) When we finally found it, we parked on the side of the road and played for an hour, despite our desperate need for a bathroom.

We took lots of pictures (clearly) and tried not to get hit by cars. A crow sat near us talking for awhile, and we forgot to go back for the perfectly clean bones on the side of the road. We gathered red rocks in our bags and finally decided to head out.

Our next stop was Madrid, New Mexico -- seven hours away. We drove for hours before reaching the NM border and those hours were some of my favorites -- wide open desert, encountering horses, sheep, and wild dogs on the sides of the road, spotting tiny houses isolated in the Arizona landscape and wondering who lived there, reaching mountain passes finally only to find more of the same on the other side. Just past the sheep, we stopped the car and got out and ran through the road, arms in the air.

Freedom. Expanse. A bigness we couldn't really comprehend.

Arizona, we love you.