Middle of No Where

I’ve always wondered why people fled the city life to go hang out in the middle of no where for their vacations. Every paid vacation from work is like fine gold, every moment must be used to have the highest level of fun and inspiration. My ideal vacation is to travel thousands of miles away to a foreign land, to escape my culture and world and to have some new experiences. This summer I was invited to join Gus family on their family camping vacation.

Though this sounds like a classic plot set up for a girlfriend to be pranked on by the family who doesn’t really approve, (Parent Trap and every episode of a 90’s sitcom.) I knew I had to be open to try new things, I wanted to show I could have a good time away from the city life.

I was looking forward to learning how to fish. At first, I was bothered to kill a fish in order to eat it, but my boyfriend’s Native American roots taught me the relationship between nature and man. The fish was giving it’s life in order to sustain mine. The fish could feel everything I was feeling through the line, being relaxed and developing a connection with nature, would attract the fish to bite. The beautiful mountains and lake was office for the day.

We spent the day at the lake, fishing, catching fish, getting excited and cheering each other on. I snapped a few photos, but because I had no phone service, I was forced to put it on airplane mood and focus on getting dinner. By the end of the day I caught my first fish and Gus showed off by catching the largest fish out of all of us. I am now a fisherman!

In the evening when the normal routine is to relax and watch some television, or youtube, we were left with no options than to talk to each other. We made a fire and talked about faith, our careers, and family life. It was a nice bonding experiences to get to know Gus’ family. I saw familiar mannerisms of Gus all though out his family. It was fascinating to see parts of him in his parents and brother. This was his tribe, and I was an outsider being allowed in.

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I began to wonder about the women through out history who had to leave their families in order to marry. How hard it must have been for them to serve a new family, always daydreaming about the family they left behind.

Coming home, I was thankful for the time spent away from my world, but I was also very happy to return to my family and share my adventures with them. I still find myself putting my phone on airplane mode, chances are, whatever it is.. it can wait.

Road Trip: Yosemite

I remember flying to Canada, looking out the window and seeing the west coast light up with splendor. I got excited when I recognized the Golden Gate Bridge. I tried to guess where Portland was. It seemed like there was so much to see down there, and here I was flying over it.

I first mention a road trip to my boyfriend, only to get one of his honest answers, “You do know we will hate each other by the end of it.” I smiled as I knew this was his way of saying lets do it.

A few days before our schedule departure date, we began to make plans, which wasn’t easy. It turned out to be very confusing, “Which day are we sleeping in Seattle? Where do you want to stay in Portland? So we leave San Francisco in the morning? Do we really want to drive 10 hours straight?” We decided we would figure it out on the way. With only a blue print, we would let the trip unfold before us. It sounded nice at the moment…but more on that later.

Our first destination, camp at Yosemite National Park.

The ride was exciting, listening to all of our new music, talking about what we would do in each city. When we arrived to Yosemite, we stopped right away. I didn’t want to miss anything while driving to our camp site. The first thing I noticed was everything was green, the air was fresh and the world seemed so big.

What caught my eye was the way the sun was hitting the forest. The shadows seem to make the forest come to life. When we were out looking for fire wood, we saw a deer. I had never seen a wild animal. We made eye contact with the deer and all of us stood still for thirty seconds.

That night was one of the longest nights ever. We knew we couldn’t bring any camping gear since both of us would be flying out of Portland, so we figured we could sleep in the car. We had no idea how small that car really was. We put the back seat down thinking it would level out, but instead made two levels. Gus slept in the trunk and I on top of the back seat. Both of us would wake up in the middle of the night laughing at how squished we were. The car was so small, and the temperature was dropping every hour.

I woke up around 6am, got ready and walked around.

When Gus woke up we left to find a look out. What we found was heaven.

I tried to figure out how early explorers traveled through these mountains back in the days. I guess the old fashion way, hiking. Lucky for us there was a road leading straight to this look out. We left Yosemite knowing there was still so much to see. Up next, San Francisco.

Journey to Salvation Mountain

Niland, California // 200 miles from LA.

Being a city girl I was amazed at how many stars I could see at the Mecca camping ground. As I set up my tripod to take some photos of the sky, I snap my first photo and laughed as it was just a black screen with one white dot on it. My friend then helped me figure out night settings.

That night my friend and I went to check out the Salton Sea. When we pointed the flash light to the ground to watch our step, we found that we were surrounded by hundreds of dead fish. The next morning we went out and snapped some photos. The smell was so strong that when we returned to our camping ground we had to blow our nose in order to get the smell of dead fish out.

Niland is this small old town, it almost a ghost town. We followed the google map directions which lead us to a dirt road. When I saw the painted mountain in the distance it felt pretty surreal.

Right away we were welcomed by Leonard, the creator of Salvation Mountain. He began to tell us the story behind the mountain. You can check out my film shots Road Trip to Salvation Mountain (35mmFilm) and some more writings about the place.

I loved when he told us the story of the blue birds, he was so passionate about it. He explained that he spent years on creating a tree but only a few minutes on the blue birds. The birds were see on “Into the Wild” and are now world famous.

Its a beautiful and inspiring place to visit.

An older couple in Santa Monica told us we had to go and see Joshua Tree.  But before, we stop in the middle of no where and played with our echos.

The drive through Joshua Tree was long but was worth it. I never knew the desert could be so beautiful.

The warm sun and the cool air made us both so sleepy, and since I am a great friend, I drove home. Sal snapped a few photos of Palm Springs.

Camping was really fun, I highly recommend it.