A lot has happened since my last post. I’m in Arizona now, and while I’m enjoying this trip a lot, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. The thing I’ve come to understand the most is that most of these places, the cities anyway, are pretty much the same. There’s a Starbucks and some hotels and the same chain restaurants.
The differences come in the people. They’re what adds the character, good and bad, to someplace. And it’s our relationships with those people that make a place worth being. I’m understanding why people stay in the same place their whole lives. And while I still don’t think that will be my fate, nor do I want to stay put, I understand it now.
After I left the coast, I traveled to Santa Barbara, across to San Bernardino and out to Joshua Tree. I wanted to stop in Los Angeles, but given the wildfire situation and power outages, etc., I didn’t want to add to the chaos in the city.
Joshua Tree is one of the places that I had on my list that I was most excited about. Not only had I heard a lot of great things, but lately, there was news of people going into the park and tearing out the trees. These trees are hundreds and some even thousands of years old. I can’t wrap my head around why people would do this in general, let alone to the Joshua Trees. Regardless, I wanted to see them before the area could be destroyed further.
Joshua Tree was one of the most profound experiences I’ve had on this trip. You could feel the energy coming from the forests even in the car. It’s hard to explain, but it was unique. A very similar feeling to being around the Redwoods.
But when I touched the trees, the feeling was enhanced. The way I wrote it down immediately after was that I could feel waves of sound coming through the bark. It left a residue of sensation, a ringing, on my palms that traveled through the rest of my body. That part was new.
I left there feeling rejuvenated in a way I wasn’t expecting and headed for Las Vegas. And that was the polar opposite of Joshua Tree.
I stayed in Vegas for a few hours. I found a delicious local restaurant and ate dinner, went to the Bellagio and played a few slot machines, walked around for a bit, and left. I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy Vegas in the way that most do. It’s everything that I don’t find appealing, crammed into a few blocks.
Fresh off the experience in Joshua Tree, my body flat rejected Vegas. I was miserable, and I left not long after I arrived. I did get to see the Bellagio fountain show though!
Next up was Zion National Park. I was ready for a similar experience as Joshua Tree but was let down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, Zion was beautiful and stunning and incredible. But it was Sunday, so it was packed. In addition to that, it felt like a short trip through the park. The places I most wanted to see were part of a shuttle service that I was unaware of until I was in the park already.
It was partly my fault for getting my expectations so high, so that’s what I’d chalk my frustration up to. I’d like to go back someday and do it right.
And that’s how I feel about a lot of these places. I want to go back and take my time exploring them. Do more of the hiking and physical things when I’m more capable. Camp out at the ones that allow it in the warmer months. In the end, I’m grateful to be able to do any of this, so I won’t get greedy quite yet.