What do you do when life challenges you in unexpected ways? You drive a U-haul across the country, leaving behind life as you know it.
Unexpectedly I found my life shift and change, forcing me to make decisions that I did not want to make. I realized that life is unpredictable.
Driving a 20-foot U-haul and towing my car behind was completely out of my comfort zone. My friend and travel companion reminded me to breathe as I began the journey driving the wrong way into rural mountains with no place to turn around. I white-knuckled the steering wheel as I drove further into the unfamiliar mountain range.
For four days, we were enchanted by the beauty of New Mexico, laughed across the state of Texas and wanted to kill each other in the cattle fields of Kansas, but we survived the journey recognizing that our adventure together was a test of strength, endurance, and patience. We ate Chinese food every night in Super 8 Hotels along the way and saw Dorthy’s house from the Wizard of Oz.
We survived the journey together and I have surrendered to the fact that I will probably make more unexpected journeys in my lifetime, and that’s ok. I no longer hold onto a false sense of security as life is truly an illusion. What feels safe, isn’t, and what feels fearful is safe. Life is a paradox.
I could have stayed in one place my entire life, but then I think about all the people I would not have met and all the experiences I would not have had, both good and bad. Not that I have chosen all of my life changes, on the contrary, most of them were forced upon me, but I no longer fight them, but accept that I am being guided to a new place, a new experience or back to a familiar place where I am to resolve the past. Wherever life takes me, it will be a journey…
As a traveler, I am always seeking solitude in beautiful natural locations where I can leave life as I know it far behind. Quite unexpectedly on a recent trip to Cape Cod, I found seclusion on a beautiful remote beach where the rest of the world ceased to exist.
After trekking for several miles on sandy coastal dunes, I found a deserted spot perched high up on an ocean cliff where the only sound heard was that of crashing waves on a rocky seashore, and where seals joyfully played in the ocean’s surf.
The Atlantic wind carried my mind a million miles away as I imagined what it would be like to spend a year on this secluded shore in a world that is overrun with people.
Cape Cod is a popular tourist spot, but thanks to a local who was also seeking solitude, I was led to some beautiful remote places that are kept hidden from passing travelers.
Cape Cod offers the best of two worlds, one world for nature lovers, and another world for those who love adventures to quirky villages full of colorful people.
On a recent trip to the Cape, I fell in love with Provincetown and its multicolored buildings, artsy atmosphere and flavorful residents. The mix of natural calm and vibrant energy permeates the east coast, creating a fun, positive vibe for passing tourists. For outdoor lovers, there are several options including walking on breakwater rocks to Wood End Lighthouse, biking, hiking through giant sand dunes, or kayaking on the Atlantic ocean. For urban dwellers or city lovers, options include hanging out in eclectic cafes, partying at night in flamboyant cabarets, or eat healthy greens in one of the many vegan or vegetarian restaurants in town.
The Cape offers the best in outdoor activities and energizing city life, with a twist on fun, quirky and outrageous adventures.
I knew that I was traveling to a remote part of the country, but I didn’t realize how far away I was actually going until I boarded my last flight out of Phoneix on a tiny Pilatus PC-12 aircraft that seats eight passengers maximum, eventually landing on top of the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona.
I was informed that I would be tired as I adjusted to the elevation of over 7000 feet, as my body began to build red blood cells to adjust to the thin atmosphere. Not only was I tired due to the altitude, but I also had to adjust to the time change after having traveled over 2,200 miles, beginning in Eastern Standard Time and ending in Mountain Standard Time.
My week was spent exploring the area, meeting interesting people and hearing their stories, as some travelled through, while others have made their homes amongst the mountains.
Mountain life is different from the mainstream, but if you are seeking a place of raw natural beauty, where the goal of life isn’t commercialism or consumerism, then the White Mountains is a place where you will find happiness through aromatic ponderosa pines, beautiful lakes and rivers, and seeing elk and wild horses roaming the landscape.
My week in the White Mountains gave me a taste of mountain life and a respect for the people who live there. A beautiful place with heart and wild natural soul.
Across the country, there are food trucks and then there are real food trucks, where people are literally selling food off the back of their trucks.
Although most of us have experienced eating from a food truck or what they are humorously called a “Roach Coach”, we enjoy the street experience of eating our grub on the curb where the sights and sounds of the street add to our savory experience. Food trucks offer a quick and convenient meal on the run whether you are taking a lunch break from work or grabbing something to eat after the bars close.
Over the years, I have ordered and munched from a lot of food trucks in different cities across the country and in Europe, where one of my best meals came from a falafel truck in northwest London. I remember standing on the street savoring my pita bread and mint yogurt covered falafels right out of its tinfoil wrapper. This Middle Eastern food truck gave me a new culinary experience that my tastebuds still remember to this day.
I personally would not eat meats or seafood off the back of a random truck for obvious reasons, as well as now being vegan, but think that you have to use good judgment.
Recently I had the opportunity to buy fruit and veggies from a random man selling watermelons and tomatoes from the back of his run-down pickup truck. After having been disappointed with a purchase of bad fruit from a local grocery chain, I decided to buy directly from the man who brought the fruits and veggies right from the ground to my local street. Not only was the fruit some of the freshest I have ever tasted with no pesticides or chemicals, but I was able to support someone who grew the food from seeds, an experience that the grocery store does not offer.
I’m all about having new experiences whether they be large or small. Since I no longer have a farmer’s market nearby (or do I?) I find it interesting to connect to the people who still grow and sell fresh fruit and vegetables, which allows me to have a culinary experience of the sweetest kind!
If you want to explore a magical place of gemstone mountains, waterfalls, narrow slot canyons, salt flats and majestic sand dunes, take a journey into the remote world of Death Valley. This journey is for the adventurous spirit, one who is seeking a new experience of endurance and solitude in a world where the average temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
I had no idea when I decided to go hiking and camping in Death Valley that I was traveling deeply into an unknown world, a land so uniquely different and beautiful that it often left me breathless as I hiked up mountain peaks, practiced yoga watching the sunrise in the barren desert, rock scrambled through narrow slot canyons, hiked to a beautiful green waterfall and ran laughing down giant sand dunes.
I will never forget the sound of silence I experienced in Death Valley. A silence that I have never known before that created a stillness deep within my soul; a remote world where only the sound of your heartbeat and the whispering winds can be heard.
If you are not into camping, there is a lodge in Death Valley where you can stay that has a swimming pool and hotel amenities where you don’t have to rough it, but either way, it’s a place to experience if you are seeking a journey off the beaten path.