the great road trip of 2017

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So the first post butterflies have flown south for the winter and I’m ready to get the party started. This blog has been on my drawing board for way too long and I’m not even sure where to start, but here it goes:

I’ve been in California for a little less than a month. I traveled out here with my older brother, boyfriend, and roommate all the way from New York. Long Island, New York. I grew up in a ‘deserted in the winter/bustling in the summer’ beach town where everyone knows everyone. I had an amazing upbringing with my five siblings (4:2 boys to girls) and my two amazing parents but a little voice out west kept calling my name.  It’s something I’ve been looking to do for years and after a natural parting from my last gig and a general uncertainty of what my future held, it seemed like the stars were aligning and the time had come to take the leap across the Mississippi.

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On a warm pre-sunrise morning in late September, we set off to  California, caravan style. We knew nothing other than our first destination: Wilmington, NC and our last: Los Angeles, CA. Everything in between was unwritten, despite my Virgo push to meticulously plan each stop.

We opted for the classic I-40 route, which is basically like the great American sampler menu. By traveling along the highway, you get a taste of the many niches that comprise this country.  You get a little bit of Southern comfort down in Nashville (with vegetarian biscuits & gravy, if you’re lucky), a whole lotta flatland across Arkansas, and authentic cowboy hats and turquoise bolo’s in Texas.

The pueblos in New Mexico and stunning Arizona landscape are both worthy of writing home about as well. But eventually, you cross into Southern Utah, otherwise known as Red Rock country, otherwise known as the land that stole my heart.

We camped out for two nights on the Utah/Arizona border. Lake Powell was stop one. We set up shop in an isolated oasis we were fortunate enough to stumble upon. There is truly nothing like desert solitude. All you have is the stars, your thoughts, and good company, depending on who you’re cruising with. In my case, I had a few of my dearest ones by my side- mi amor, Matt, big brother Kyle, and my current studio-mate, Vikki, which made it one of the most incredible experiences. Together we embarked and completed a journey I’ve been dreaming about for years. It was this journey that ultimately inspired and motivated me to get this show on the road.

Immersing yourself in nature helps you develop a newfound appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you and puts a lot into perspective. I lived out of a duffle bag packed with 15 or so items (which, when I say back to myself, sounds like a lot) for about a month until I moved into my studio and was… fine. Yeah, fine! Coming from a girl who regularly hates re-wearing outfits, I didn’t think I could do it. We often forget that as human beings, we require very little. In order to realize this,  you may have to put yourself into foreign and potentially uncomfortable situations but once you do, it’s extremely liberating. My path to minimalism is still a project in its infancy stages, but The Great Road Trip of 2017 was the lesson I’ve been waiting for; the one that taught me that I’m capable of living life simply.

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Sometimes all it takes is a glass of gas station red wine and the warmth of desert firepit to shed light on what it is you need. Don’t forget to look up, you just might see a shooting star.

 
lifeShaye Radintravel