solitude

I’ve always known that my ritual of drinking tea every morning and putting on lavender before I left was beneficial to my spirit but now I know it for a fact because I didn’t do it yesterday. I took a Lyft to the airport which was great and both my flights were on time which was also a relief, there was also a Popeyes near my gate so it was just a lovely morning all around honestly. When I landed in San Diego I got my bag and got in a cab to the greyhound bus station and since I’m on vacation I decided it was tīme I acted like it and tried to pay for it with my credit card….but it was declined. As I was calling Capital One I was looking at my card and realized that it expired in March. I literally never use my credit card except when I’m on vacation which sadly isn’t too often. I immediately started freaking out because you need a valid credit card to rent a car, I had already made a reservation to rent a car the next day after I got back from Tijuana. My phone was at 40% as I waited on hold for 20 minutes with the rental car company  but I hung up because I had to get on the bus to Tijuana and needed my phone to contact my airbnb hosts. Of course at this point I’m internally crumbling wanting to cry to my mommy or lay in the middle of the highway. The whole point of a road trip is to drive! The bus to Tijuana was annoying and weird, we kept stopping in these little shopping centers to let people on and off and they didn’t even glance at my passport. I got off at a different stop than I had originally planned because it was closer to where I was staying. Of course my phone didn’t work because I was in another country so I used a cab drivers phone. My host was f’n awesome. He was so lovely and gracious, we took a walk with his dog by the beach which wasn’t too far, he was very informative and helpful. I clearly like to do my own thing so I wanted to roam alone, he made sure I knew how to get back and I went on my way. I’ve been to random places in Mexico before but only when I was working as a flight attendant and once by myself to Cabo San Lucas when I had a week off, but its touristy there. Tijuana isn’t terribly nice, some people love it but I didn’t find it very inviting, I also couldn’t relax and fully be there because I didn’t know how the car situation would turn out.  I walked along the beach for awhile and went into a coffee shop and had one of best cups of chai tea that I’ve ever had and one of the worst turkey sandwiches. I walked back to the airbnb in a hurry because the sun was going down. There were a lot of men trying to stop me, I’m never scared to go anywhere but I was definitely uncomfortable. One man in particular tried to stop me but I kept ignoring him, I thought I was lost for a second but I made it back and as I was fumbling with the key to the gate a minivan pulled up with a man and a woman and a little boy, he told me that the man I just saw was trying to tell me that another man was following me all the way from the beach, he was trying to help me. I was horrified. Thanking all the gods I was safe indoors I went to bed super early, like before 9:30 early because I just wanted to wake up and go back  to SD to see about renting a car. Of course I got up super early as a result and was listening to ‘N Sync’s “Sailing” at 5:30 in the morning to clear my head. There was also no water so I had to wash my face and brush my teeth this morning with a bottle of water I’m happy I only took 2 sips of earlier. I don’t know why but I thought an uber could take me all the way back to the SD airport, like across the border. Greyhound was weird the day before and I just wanted to go, I confirmed with the guy as soon as I got in his car and we took off. I started to notice us going in circles but I didn’t say anything but then the driver pulled over and said he can’t go across the border because he doesn’t have a visa. SIGH. Have you ever just like really wanted to leave somewhere? Not like the usual antsy-ness like getting off work, the severe desperation of wanted so badly to go and not look back? That’s how I felt about Tijuana, Mexico this morning. The driver was nice enough to drop me off at the greyhound station in Tijuana, where I should’ve just gone originally. The line to get back in the US was a doozy but it was quick!

I was elated to be able to use my phone and take a $3 Lyft to the car rental place at the airport. I was nervous walking in but the guy at the counter couldn’t care less that I don’t have a valid credit card. All I had to was show him my return flight reservation and I was good. Well that was easy. I was out! So happy to be behind the wheel of car and nice one at that. I drove to my hostel and called my mom, relaxed a little then took a walk to a farmers market by the beach. While I was there this guy who was also staying at my hostel recognized me and we walked along the beach. His name is Reed and he’s been traveling by bicycle all the way from Washington. He wants to continue all the way to South America. I hope he does, he seemed to be in a discouraged state of mind, I had to remind him that he’s come so far so he’s obviously awesome and he can do anything. We were talking about the word travel and what it really means, he said to him its doing anything you don’t normally do, even in your hometown and he’s so right! We split up and I called a few peeps to let them know I was alive, got some tea from the farmers market as well as a blanket for this annoying person in SF and here I am laying on the bottom bunk of this hostel, geez almost 1,200 words. I’m sorry, get back to your lives just know that the corny quote “It’s not the destination, its the journey”…..its true….and I’ve only just begun.

 

 

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This Close

So, ahem tomorrow is the day I leave for my road trip. I’m going to try to post at least every other day but of course that will depend on my wifi situation. As of tonight I have my first 5 nights booked, which is the most planning I plan to do, after that I’m going to wing it mostly until I get to SF. I was really stressed yesterday and most of today because no one was getting back to me on airbnb and I really wanted to have a place booked near Venice Beach and now I do so I’m going to try to sleep for a couple of hours and then use this uber app that I downloaded for the first time today and go to the airport! Next time I post I’ll be on the west coast! There’s a lot I’m nervous about, but it’s more than okay, my will and nerve to do this far outweighs any anxiety I could ever have. Hot pink toes.

Road Rules

Remember that show on MTV years ago?! So good! Well dudes and dudettes its been a couple weeks now that Ive been back in Austin since my road trip, before  i left i did  a little research about roadtripping  but not so much because i  knew that i would learn more than i could ever be prepared for and i prefer it that way anyway. Here’s a few things I’ll remember for my next journey on the open road.

1. Take Advantage of Places

Realize that you may never come to this place again so take as many pictures and do whatever you have the urge to do, i lost count for how many times  i pulled over or drove back to something i thought was cool because i will  probably never see it again. Take your headphones out of your ears when walking around a new place and truly be there, hear and feel the place you’re at. Albuquerque was the biggest city i went to and although it is far from a bustling metropolis i was happy to be around so much civilization. I got my car looked at, went to the post office, and gave my car a much needed break by walking a lot and using public transportation.

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2. Don’t Hesitate to Get Gas

Most of my trip was driving on beautiful back roads which i love BUT they can be very very long. At one point i had only half a tank of gas and could only see mountains and desert even in the far distance, i started to freak out a little but after 30 mins i found a major highway and got off on an exit to get gas. I cant imagine breaking down in the middle of nowhere especially for something so minor and being alone and it getting dark outside, i always did like the damsel in distress  scenario but who would hear me sigh?

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This view is woe

3. Small Towns

I went through so many amazingly quaint small towns/villages that were so full of character. Mora, NM and especially Madrid, NM which isn’t far from Santa Fe is so cute and adorable i had to get out and take a few pictures, it was one of the few times on my trip that i wish i had a partner in crime to share the experience with. Tinkertown was another stop  i loved! Perfect places to stretch your legs and roam!

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4. Always Take the Scenic Route

I chuckled every time i saw a sign for a scenic route because for this east coast girl every route out west is a scenic route, i would gasp on my way to the grocery store if i lived out here. Alas there are some designated routes and look out spots specifically for you and your main squeeze to pull over and make googly eyes at each other.

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5. Don’t Sleep Anywhere You’re Not Comfortable At

I slept in a lot of different places on my trip and most of them were fine, my favorite was of course the Hacienda Nicholas Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe but i loved the White Sands Motel in Alamangordo as well. The night i slept in my car near Four Corners National Monument wasn’t the best but it was far more comfortable than the place i almost stayed in Albuquerque, it was called the Downtown Inn and i could tell by the looks of things it wasn’t the fanciest but neither am i and i had driven almost 6  hrs straight and just wanted to pee and take a shower but i couldn’t because there was a dead roach next to the toilet…..and in the main room. I live in the south, i see enormous National Geographic sized roaches far more than what i would like to so i know what a freshly killed roach looks like, these things had definitely been laying there dead for some time and i decided that i didn’t want to stay there and more importantly that i didn’t have to. I got in an argument with the lady at the front desk because she refused to give a refund even though i had only been in the room for 30 mins, long enough to haul my stuff in ( a girl on the road has a lot of stuff) but its not about the money, i told her the place is gross and went to a nice regular hotel that was pest free. Feeling comfortable where you lay your head is far more important than traveling on a discount rate.

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6. Eat Hearty

Okay I’m not going to lie most of the time i did have Popeyes and Chic-fil-a on deck  because its quick and easy (and mouthwatering) but whenever i reached whatever destination i was heading that day i treated myself to a real meal, my favorite by far was this wonderful blueberry waffle and granola at the Hacienda Nicholas Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe!

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7. Don’t Rely on Technology

I just got a new phone less than 2 weeks before i peeled out and the GPS on it is far better than the one i had before, i cant imagine using that old phone to get to all the places i went but one thing i didn’t imagine either was not being able to use this great awesome new phone. For a long time i had no service at all and had to use an actual map, its  a  big piece of paper with a bunch of squiggly lines on it and some words. If it wasn’t for said map i wouldn’t of made it to Monument Valley or Taos. *Mentally patting myself on the back* I have a brain and i use it sometimes woo hoo!

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8. Learn Something About Yourself

One of the main purposes for taking a long journey is reflection. Spending so much time away from everything and everyone familiar allows you to think about so much more than the grocery list. There is  no way to come back from a road trip and not realize something you either had no idea of or weren’t sure of before, for me i realized that i really love Austin. I actually just got all warm and fuzzy inside writing this because i do! Its obvious i mean i decided to move here away from everything i know. I often doubt my decisions so to know that i love where i live, at least for now, is an awesome feeling and makes me feel even more confident in myself as if i didn’t already driving across states and such. I’m in a Lone Star State of mind.

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Heart on the Highway

Its been a few days, i drove a few hundred miles, and Ive somewhat been able to clean the dirt off my feet. The last few nights of my trip i didn’t post because well i had to sleep in my car one night and the other 2 nights i was too exhausted to even ask for the wifi password. The night that i had to sleep in my car i was completely terrified. I thought that if i was going to have to sleep in my car I’d pull into a gas station parking lot or something and curl up in a ball and wait for daylight but on these desert mountain roads you’re lucky to see any sign of civilization. When i realized there wasn’t anything  around me i simply pulled over and listened to my heart beat out of my chest (i also peed in my tupperware because i was too afraid to get out of the car). All i wanted was daylight but it was so far from it, the way it looked and felt you would’ve thought  it was 3:00 am but it was only 10:30pm! I was in and out of sleep throughout the night  because my mind wouldn’t relax also the zoom of Mack trucks slightly pushing my car was king of disturbing. A knock on my window at 7:27 am by a police officer woke me up, he had seen my car the night before and was wondering if i was okay, he was nice and looked more like a park ranger because he had a beige uniform on and one of those big safari hats. Even though my slumber was interrupted seeing daylight totally raised my morale and i was off to Four Corners National Monument!

Farting in 4 states at once!! #bucketlist jk jk

Farting in 4 states at once!! #bucketlist jk jk

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The night that i had to sleep in my car was the first time i ever tried to use Siri, i asked her to find me a hotel and she replied “Sorry i cannot help you” because my phone had absolutely no service  so the next day when trying to make it from Four Corners to my next destination i had to rely on a good ol’ fashion map! Yes ladies and gentleman, the map i brought along with me just to give me a visual was my saving grace and made me even more proud of myself! Once again proving that technology can literally only take us so far.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

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Of course the day after sleeping in my car 6 French photographers decide to ask  if i could model for them right here in this spot, it was like paparazzi! I told them i wanted to take them with me everywhere i go…… they couldn’t understand me!

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I did a tour that takes you down through the trails and to some amazingly beautiful natural arches!

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petroglyphs

petroglyphs

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I have this tapestry on my wall of Monument Valley so to see it in person is beyond breathtaking, there are no words….but a girl can try.

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My last stop was in my now home state of Texas, although it was still very far from where i live (because this state is freaking HUGE) i still had to make the trip. 2 years ago when i was working as a flight attendant i would watch random shows because i was always in different places and the channels were different and i came across a show called Fast and Loud about an auto body shop in Dallas that restores old cars. Hot rods are cool and all but the owner of the shop is pretty hot so i watched a whole marathon. In one episode the hot owner went to a place in Amarillo, TX called Cadillac Ranch where there’s 11 different Cadillacs sticking out of the ground covered in graffiti, i thought that was so cool and never forgot about it and told myself that if i ever went on a road trip id have to visit! And so…..

I did!

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well looky here #roamifshewantsto splats again

well looky here #roamifshewantsto splats again

It feels incredibly satisfying to know that i did this, even though i knew i could it just reassures me that i can do anything. Initially i didn’t want to take this journey alone, i asked someone to go because “who goes on a road trip by themselves?” i wondered, but when i realized i was going to it was in the afternoon a few weeks before the trip, i had my face mask on and was about to rinse it off and as i leaned over the sink i thought to myself “am i really going to cry about this?”. I was upset and nervous and terrified but it was what my heart was telling me to do. If someone asked me what it was that i thought about everyday it was getting in my car and driving to the desert, so why not do what i want? I reminded myself that i named this blog “Roam if she wants to” not them or her or him, its me, I’m the only one who is responsible for doing what i want  to do and making myself happy. If i had taken this trip with anyone else its almost a guarantee that i wouldn’t of been able to see all the places i wanted to and have such a unique experience. As much as i wanted to share this experience doing my own this is something i do well. So cheers to solidarity and being alone with yourself and being independent, there’s no telling what you might find and see. I, personally  cant believe i only saw 4 dead armadillos on the side of the road. #heartonthehighway

 

 

 

She’s so high

Serene. Peaceful. Relaxed. That is exactly how i feel right now, i haven’t truly relaxed in a long time, life on the road is fun but  its so hard on your body. The heel on my right foot, my lower back and also my neck were hurting so badly that i had no choice but to book a spa day at the Santa Fe Nirvana Spa, i mean what else is a girl to do?!IMG_5652

This morning i packed my things and headed out of Albuquerque to the Sandia Peak Tramway. Although i am a little afraid of heights i still wanted to check out the amazing view from the top, its like a cable car that goes up the side of the Cibola National Forest.

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There’s plenty of observation decks at the top and many trails for all those hot bearded wilderness guys that like to hike and stuff.

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i love this, let everything be

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Walking along the side of a mountain ahhh!!

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‘She who sees from up high smiles and surely sings’

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looks like 2 elephants

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After getting high on the tram i made my way to Santa Fe, a much anticipated destination on my trip. As soon as i arrived at the bed and breakfast i unloaded my bags and headed over to the spa across the street.

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The Hacienda Nicholas

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my massage table

my massage table

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rose petal bath

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Why don’t i do this more often?!

The spa was obviously luxuriating and amazing but i absolutely  loved the woman who treated me! She was so genuine and soothing and we had such a good conversation about how important it is to be free and happy, talking with her was definitely a highlight of the trip, she even packaged the rose petals for me to take home!

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After being so zen and one with the universe i headed out to roam around cause i  want to!

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imageA friend told me not long ago that she was in Santa Fe and it reminded her of me and that i should retire there, as i was walking through this beautiful town i couldn’t help but to think how right she was. Santa Fe is so peaceful and lovely, quaint and quiet. It ‘s a timeless haven for people that need to be surrounded by beauty and inspired even if its just by watching the clouds move. I dont want to leave but alas….#heartonthehighway

 

Albuquirky

Believe it or not i put more miles on my feet than my car today, i decided to spend the whole day in Albuquerque, partly because i got a bad first impression of it last night but mostly because me and Myra (my car) needed a rest! I took advantage of the free hot breakfast at the hotel and took a walk around, there really isn’t much to see downtown so i ventured off to the Rio Grande Botanical Gardens. I love botanical gardens, if i ever visit a city that has botanical gardens i have to visit because fresh flowers immediately raise my morale.

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The gardens are beautiful and sprawling, there is a butterfly conservatory,  Japanese gardens, and an apple orchard.

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A frog actually sitting on a lily pad!!! when does that ever happen?!! often i guess!

A frog sitting on a lily pad!!! #thatactuallyhappens

Old school farming

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Japanese Gardens

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fish being coy

fish being coy

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After the Botanical Gardens i walked over to quaint Old Town Albuquerque and loved it so.

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This area is exactly how i expected and wanted Albuquerque to look, the beige southwestern old look is so simple and takes you to another time, simpler times, sigh.

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Kokopelli!!!

Kokopelli!!!

After gathering souvenirs i dined at the Rt. 66 Diner, corny and cliche called and i just had to answer.

Don't get the chicken cordon bleu but the sundaes look amazing!

Don’t get the chicken cordon bleu but the sundaes looked amazing!

I walked a good 2 miles or so up to Nob Hill,  a cool area with lots of funky stores, restaurants aaaaand street art! Albuquerque you really want me to like you don’t you!

woe-is-me too girl i feel you

woe-is-me too girl i feel you

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True and simple

 

Spray Fresh

Spray Fresh

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Hey looky there!

Hey looky there!

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accuracy

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I realized a few things about Albuquerque today, first  there are grasshoppers everywhere, second that a girl simply cannot walk 2 feet without getting creeped on (GROSS!), and also the radio stations are the best!! Honestly ABQ, i know its random but i cliterally could not find a bad song on any station and for that reason Albuquerque i guess you’re not so bad after all. #heartonthehighway

Butt sweat

Yes that is what my day consists most of. It is now day 4 of my life on the road and this was a long one, I got up fairly early again and although the wifi at the White Sands Motel sucked it truly is such a cute, comfortable place and the lady at the front desk was so nice i highly recommend staying there. I ate a standard continental breakfast and loaded up the car to head to White Sands National Monument. I was really anticipating this part of the trip because i have never seen dunes before, let alone white ones in the middle of the desert and mountains. They were magical, so bright i could barely see.

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I enjoy long walks on the dunes

I enjoy long walks on the dunes

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I was debating to go to El Malpais National Monument, its a little over 5 hrs from Alamongordo, NM where the  white sands are. I knew that it was such a far stretch but hey I’m on a road trip,  the first few hours crept by but the scenery was amazing. I went through the Valley of Fire and i quickly realized how this area got its name. The rocks are black and look just like charcoal.

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I also went past this charming house with an adorable front yard!

Yarn bomb!

Yarn bomb!

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theres something like this in my home state of DE that i was just thinking about recently, creeeepy

there’s something like this in my home state of DE that i was just thinking about recently, creeeepy

dont mind if i do! maybe this will be motivation for me to actually read a book

don’t mind if i do! maybe this will be motivation for me to actually read a book

Meanwhile back on the road….

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Such a beautiful sky!

The roads are long, lonely, and terrifying but the scenery cannot be matched.

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I never made it to El Malpais National Monument, the visitors center was closed. It was about 2 hours out of the way but it wasn’t time wasted at all. I got well acquainted with miles of natural beauty that i used to only dream about.

Downtown Albuquerque

Downtown Albuquerque

So im spending the night in Albuquerque, i have been anticipating this town but honestly so far its been a disappointment, but i have say its not you Albuquerque its me. Ive been in my car for a lot longer than id like to come to terms with today and i thought i peed myself my butt was sweating so much, hey maybe i did. #heartonthehighway

Marfa Madness

So yesterday i started out on my southwestern road trip, i told  myself that i would post everyday but i was so incredibly delirious last night after driving over 7 hrs from Austin, TX to Marfa, TX that i could barely brush my teeth. The ride although long was beautiful. One of the first places i stopped to stretch my legs was in Alpine, TX right next to Big Bend National Park.

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I truly believe that every place in the world has character but i got the strangest unsatisfying feeling pretty much as soon as i drove into Marfa. I love small towns almost as much as bustling metropolis’. Texas is full of them, from Johnson City to Fredericksburg, but Marfa …..have you seen “The Hills Have Eyes”? honestly? There are countless boarded up houses and business’, stray dogs and cats, NOWHERE TO EAT and no people! What in the marfa fuck is going on? I read that a lot of places are only open on the weekend which is weird to me. It does have character though, just an eerie, strange, ghost town like energy about it that isnt very inviting.

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Random fake Prada store in the middle of the desert

#tuxedomouse in Marfa

#tuxedomouse in Marfa

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the only faces i saw while in Marfa

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On the way out of town i drove through another equally creepy small town even smaller than Marfa. Ladies and gentleman, Valentine, TX!

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Such a good photo op!

Such a good photo op!

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Sandstorm!

Sandstorm!

When the horses start mean mugging its time to leave, im out!

When the horses start mean mugging its time to leave, im out!

So yeah im missing Austin right now but its okay. I took a beautiful drive through the Guadalupe Mountains and im spending the night in Carlsbad, NM. The 4th motel i went to had a vacancy so i took a shower and here i am. The road is life. #Heartonthehighway

 

Girl meets town, universe, herself

“Who can turn  the world on with her smile, who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile”. Lately I’ve been throwing my proverbial beret in the air Mary Tyler Moore-style and just doing it, going for it, and checking it out. I’ve always fancied myself to be a ‘girl about town’ but when you don’t grow up in a bustling metropolis its hard to keep the excitement going. Moving to a city that lots of people move to I’m always meeting new people and the first few sentences are always verbatim “Where are you from?” “How long have you been in Austin?” and “What brought you here”. My answers “DE, 1 year, and I came to visit and i loved it”. Now you probably  don’t know what DE stands for, it means Delaware, the first state to sign the constitution, the home of V.P. Joe Biden, the land of tax-free shopping. It’s that tiny little speck in between PA,NJ, and MD on the east coast right on the Atlantic Ocean. Whenever i explain this to people it’s followed up with a blank stare, then a pause but then comes the inevitable moment, the moment i wish i could get paid for predicting, ……the “Wayne’s World” reference. I’ve never seen the movie, but i sure have seen and heard of this scene many many times.

There is absolutely no place like home and in a lot of ways that was it. There are so many awesome major cities near my hometown but  i needed something  totally new, unfamiliar, scary, bizarre and awesome.

Lone Star State of Mind

Lone Star State of Mind

Whatever circumstances happen in life that light a fire under your ass is the minute you are living in  a different realm in the same universe, a chance for you to see that you can do whatever you want and its the best, scariest, loneliest, unconventional, absurd, most beautiful thing. Please don’t ignore it, don’t be scared to get out there and do something by yourself, for yourself.Who knows whats going to happen and who cares? “Wild horses run unbridled or their spirit dies”.