When I set off on this trip, I had the greatest intentions of keeping a blog, writing every day, sharing my experiences etc. Well, 3 weeks in and I am only just getting round to setting it up. I have managed to post a few photos and couple of lines on Facebook every other day or so, but beyond that I just couldn’t seem to get going. I feel like it took these first 3 weeks to ‘settle in’, switch off from the normal rhythm of my life, and find a space where writing did not feel like a chore or an obligation.
I thought a lot, hours on the road will do that to you, but then I started worrying about having to backdate it all, an idea which I realised would stop me from starting completely.
So, here we are, it is Saturday June 9th and I am sat in a tent somewhere in the Dixie National Forest, near Escalante, Utah. I have no idea when I will actually be able to post this as have not had a phone signal for days and am relying on spotty internet in cafes and cheap motels.
I started this trip on May 22nd when I flew into New Orleans. My only set itinerary was to catch up some old friends along the way, and to be in Alaska for mid July to spend the last couple of weeks with two wonderful friends, and seasoned travelling buddies, who are flying out from France and the UK. Other than that, my plan was essentially to decide each day where I would go and do so using a combination of camping, cheap motels and Airbnb.
To get us up to date, the highlights so far have been:
• 3 days in the fabulous and welcoming city of New Orleans, including seeing the band Rebirth in residence at the Maple Leaf Bar.
• A wonderful weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas, catching up with my friend Amy, who I first met as a student when I was volunteering for the summer on the Cheyenne River reservation in South Dakota.
• The stunning state of New Mexico and the wonderful city of Sante Fe, sat at the foot of the Sangre de Christo mountains and alive with arts and culture. It was here that I visited the incredible Meow Wolf’s ‘House of Eternal Return’ – a huge interactive art installation that takes you into a variety of ‘multiverses’. I lost three wonderful hours in there and can say it is the closest you can get to tripping without actually taking drugs.
• The ‘Thelma and Louise’ half marathon near Moab, Utah. An early morning race through the imposing red rock of this desert landscape, a wonderful celebration of female friendship.
• Utah! What can I say, I only ended up here because of the race, and in honesty had not planned to stay any longer. Over a week later and I am still here and can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. From the arid vastness of Canyonlands, to the cooler climes of the La Sal and Boulder mountains, the scenery can change from one hour to the next. A nature lover’s paradise, if you take the time to get away from the crowds of places like the Arches National Park, you can find yourself so easily alone, hiking in the silence of the desert and camping out under the stars. If your lucky, like I was, you might even get to cross paths with a bear…
So, there we go, all up to date! I promise the rest will be a little more detailed: Let the rest of the voyage begin…x