Updates from the Road - Day 77 - Reflections of the Southwest

Goodbye dear Southwest!

Goodbye dear Southwest!

Current location: San Antonio, Texas

Miles traveled since last update: 1060+

Max miles traveled in one day on this leg: 640

Total miles traveled: 10,005+ 

As I cross the ten thousand mile mark, it is a bit sad to say, but my journey is beginning to wind down. I've likely visited my final national park and have made plans to be in certain places closer to home starting next week.  The need to be on the move back towards Boston is greater than ever.  While it is sad in some ways, I am *so* ready to get home and begin my next journey.  I have discovered so my about myself and about life itself during these past three months and while I am uncertain of my path, I feel as though I know my next destination.  More on that down the road!

Williams Lake, Taos

Many people have remarked about my photos and the beautiful things I've seen.  It is true, I have seen some incredible things.  The United States has so much to offer in terms of scenery and sights.  We have just about every type of climate and terrain you could imagine.  There are places that will make your jaw drop and some that might make you want to cry.  I have seen so much and there is still so much to see!   But even with all the beauty of the land, the most magical moments for me have been the ones in between the landscapes; the ones that only come up when you let go, surrender to the moment, and submit to whatever might come your way.  These are the moments where something I've needed, something I've almost wished for, appeared out of thin air at the perfect moment.  Or in other times when something I didn't know I needed appeared at the most unexpected moment.  I've had so many of these experiences that just made me say "Wow".  I'll give you an example of one of the most recent.

Pat

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I was sitting in a freezing cold tent one morning in Bryce Canyon, Utah and thought to myself: "Screw this I am sleeping in an actual bed tonight".  I loaded up AirBnB and searched for a place between where I was in Denver.  One of the few places that came up was very cheap and had the ability to instant book.  I barely looked at the profile and just booked it.  All I wanted was a warm bed for the night.  I traveled many miles that day, visited 3 national parks, finishing off the day with a hike in Arches near Moab Utah.  I arrived at the AirBnB in Grand Junction Colorado, close to 8pm and one of the sweetest women I have ever met opened the door.  Her house was so charming and quaint.  It was the true embodiment of the Southwest, a perfect mix of cowboy culture and Native American artifacts.  When I told her that she thanked me and told me: "This place is my soul".  She introduced me to her cat Oreo, who is on Youtube for being able to use a comb.  I wanted to chat more but I was so tired that I had to excuse myself to head to sleep early after one of the best hot showers I'd had in a while.  

Untitled Oreo the cat! Untitled Untitled

The next morning I woke up and Pat was ready to make breakfast for me.  She we SO nice.  My heart was warm with gratitude.  As we chatted in the kitchen I told her about my journey.  I spoke of my new found love for the Southwest and the desert.  In one moment she looked at me and said: "I think you should write about that."  It was then I began to realize this was not just a random AirBnB experience.  I was meant to meet Pat.  Recently I've had several people tell me I should write about my experiences on the road.  At first I was reluctant to think about the idea but the more I've gone along, the more connected I feel to my creative side and the inspired I feel to tell stories of my experience.  And without knowing much about me, here is yet another person telling me I should write.  It went deeper.

Pat was a spiritual person much like me.  I looked over her books and realized many of the authors on her shelf were those I've read recently.  Those that teach mindfulness and awareness.  I asked her about this which stirred up more excited conversation.  She told me about a "church" she goes to where there isn’t much dogma but that she practices mindfulness and believes that god is in all of us; that we are all connected. She told me how she believes that Jesus was who he was because he was a highly enlightened human being.  I felt such excitement in this conversation with this 74 year old woman; I connected with so much of her beliefs.  She went on to tell me that she herself was a writer.  She writes cowboy poetry; poetry about the the local area and the culture she loved so much.  

That morning was a bright neon sign saying "YES!!! YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH!!!"  There were many signs in this conversation with this beautiful woman that confirmed my path and the things that have inspired me during this journey.  Things that seem scary in reality but feeling so good to think about.  I can't tell you how many signs like this I've had.  

Pat then asked if she could read me some of her poetry.  Of course I accepted.  I sat at her table as she read me some of the many poems she has created and worked on for over ten years.  The first one had me crying halfway through.  It was about death and letting go.  Several were about growing old and the process of dying.  Others were about funny things about cowboy culture and the odd things that horses do.  I closed my eyes and listened to her words and was so happy to be given the opportunity to feel life and wisdom from such a good soul.  

Pat! <3

I could not believe I had this encounter and at the same time, of COURSE I was supposed to have this encounter.  I was so happy to be given the gift of meeting Pat.  And this is just one out of the many many signs I've been given along my way.  I've been journaling every day, taking down every special occurrence, and I can't wait to share more.  I am seriously considering putting together some kind of writing project based on the moments I've had during this trip and I'm grateful for Pat in pushing me even further.  Thank you SO much Pat!!! 

New Mexico 

Taos

View all my Taos pictures here

I left Colorado after spending a few days in Denver and began my week long stint in New Mexico. What a beautiful state.  I started out in Taos, a small town North of Santa Fe.  Taos was pretty much a hippy town and the good vibes were flowing.  I met some really cool people, went on a great hike, was sent another visitor via the universe who gave me more confidence in my direction, and rounded out the day in a natural hot springs.  All in days work!  

Theres a natural hot spring down there!

Santa Fe

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View all my Santa Fe pictures here.

After Taos I headed to Santa Fe and sunk deep into the arts and culture of this quaint little town.  I bit of a tourist-y place but there is so much to offer.  I bought a museum pass and saw as much as I could.  The Native American and Southwest influence on the art and architecture here was some of the best I've seen in a while.  I was inspired by a lot in Santa Fe, some good, some not so good.  After traveling through this area and seeing Native American culture first hand it was hard to see the what has become of these proud people.  And even in all that has been taken from them and continues to be taken from them, they speak nothing but positivity.  Yet another thing that touched me deeply and something I plan to speak more on in the future.  

White Sands National Monument 

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View all of my White Sands pictures here.  Some of my favorites of the journey!

After a quick night in Albuquerque I headed to White Sands, a desert in south New Mexico. Just when I thought nothing could top how I felt in California at Joshua Tree, White Sands completely blew me away.  I camped here overnight and did a five mile hike throughout the dunes in early morning the next day.  This spot will definitely make the top ten most favorites of the journey.  

Life goal complete - Tai Chi in the desert as the sun begins to set. Untitled

There were a few more things this week such as venturing deep into to earth at Carlsbad Caverns National Park but I think that will need to wait until next week so this post doesn't go on for forever!  Thanks as always for reading and see you next week!