Space around me where my soul can breathe
I’ve got body that my mind can leave
Nothing else matters, I don’t care what I miss
Company’s okay, solitude is bliss – Tame Impala
Tame Impala was the soundtrack to this past weekend. Always has been one of our favorite road trip tracks. As the sun flares cast shadows against the Joshua trees, and the desert pantones spread vastly into the horizon, we couldn’t think of anything better for this moment of solitude and bliss. The Mojave is home of the largest Joshua tree forest and is also known as the field of gems, housing geological magic such as opal, agates and quartz crystals just to name a few. I was enamored by the beautiful stones that lay with every step!
We love the soul of big boulders. We knew we found the perfect camp spot when a large Joshua stood just steps away from this incredible boulder formation. We climbed to the top of the boulder doing out “coyote calls” and laughing at our randomness. The 360 view from the top was a spiritual experience. We felt the pull of the desert and stayed atop these boulders and watched the sun set. It gives me goosebumps just writing about.
Tonight was the full moon-!! It cast an ambient light into the desert so bright that we didnt use our headlamps at all. We made a fire within the boulders. The smooth rocks were shaped like eggs chairs, which felt like it was made just for that. Talks varied from travel and friends to NPR podcasts.
Blessed and blissed- we laid down under the stars that night, cozied under blankets and dozed off to the sound of the wind outside our tent.
I’m home for the holidays! Which means back and forth from the bright animated lights of Vegas, through the desert landscapes and into California, exactly that but over and over again =) My family’s home is in Vegas, but they all work and also live in Los Angeles. I think they’re more of road warriors than I am. During my time in Los Angeles, I was connected with the beautiful yoga and artist behind Wolven|Threads. A line of yoga clothes that take you on a kaleidoscopic journey on and off the mat. Art, yoga, and kaleidoscopes? Sounds right up my alley. Above are a few shots from our backyard.. the high desert of Las Vegas. These photos were inspired by the kaleidoscopic nature of her designs, the trippy visions through these future eye lenses and in honor of the last full moon this month, in Gemini. A sign I definitely connect with <3 Happy winter full moon celebrations my friends!
Its our first night and I can’t help but people watch— I’m so fascinated by the contagious energy, the people, the lights and all its aliveness. Despite the cold, we took beers to our our balcony, walked out to the edge of our fire scape and stared out into the twinkling lights of the streets and its historic alleyways. Curiously peeking into windows, as if to get a glimpse of the people’s lives around us. One of my favorite things about our travels is the glimpse of the different lifestyles and the exciting paths that people have chosen to take. I love seeing locals in their element. Where they grab their morning coffee, their favorite bookstore, and the friends they’ve made at their frequent sandwich shops. I think many of us can agree that it takes a certain level of grit and passion to make it out in New York. You constantly hear people tell you “ you don’t want to move out there it’s too expensive”, “its too crowded” “nothing is easy there” — yet so many still make the move there, and it inspires me just at the thought of bumping shoulders with the people who push past what’s defined as easy, or practical. I love, love, love places like these, places that remind you how small you are and how infinitely large the world is around you. A place that makes you want to write in your journal, exposes you to the inspiring, the unsafe, the cold and the romance of discovering all its corners. We wandered over to Brooklyn in hopes we would fall in love with its personality.. but only on our way out did I feel as if I have gotten a glimpse of its charm. But isn’t that the charm of places like these? The same charm that us junk and thrift store hunters seek? The thrill of the hunt is as gratifying as discovering its gems? Those willing to keep their eyes wide open and their heart seeking will indeed find it as a gem.
A few years ago, Aaron received an old Nikon film camera as a Christmas present from his grandmother. Since then it has been a travel necessity for us. Film has given us more thought behind each shot, as well as patience for developing the rolls. To our surprise, it has been much easier and more affordable to shoot with film overseas than in the U.S., where film has become quite hard to find and pricey to develop. I came across these amazing expired film shots by Tamara Skudies. These nostalgic shots were taken with Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus film, capturing the essence of the Austrian landscape. WOW.
As we drive through Utah’s vast, infinite sky, layers of canyonlands sprawl out as far as the eye can see. I was spellbound by the colors that waved through the clouds and the deep red formations made me feel as if I was on Mars. We wanted to pull the car over every five minute to try and capture it, as if it was our way of preserving the beauty we were seeing. I remember wishing the drive through Utah would last until we got to our destination. It truly is a special place of high vibrations. It tugs at each person differently, making each person connect with a unique energy all their own. Some moments are meant to be kept, but I feel like our moments through Utah are meant to be shared. Happy Sunday <3
This post has been waiting to be finished for several weeks now it seems. So much has happened since Jaisalmer. We’re not even in India anymore. I’m still trying to piece together all the insanity from the last couple of months. It’s wild to look back at these photos and believe I was actually there. Jaisalmer was a special place. Special in a so many ways but I think a big part was due to the fact that it was the first long stop of my solo journey around India while Charmie was experiencing Ashram life in the north. This was a city I got to know all on my own. A place where I had several meals with locals and randomly made friends with an older chap from a nearby desert village that I ended up hanging out with for a couple days. This was also a place where I had never felt so isolated or alone. It was the “off season” so the town was extremely quiet as far as tourists go. Nothing but Indian faces and broken English conversations for days. I took advantage of having absolute freedom of going any direction without discussion. Each day I would go out and walk wherever the wind took me until sundown, getting lost in the maze of alleyways throughout the ancient fort. I remember feeling like I had discovered some sort of mystical desert wonderland and I had it all on my own.
Traveling alone in India was truly life changing. So many moments of peace, anger, excitement, euphoria, shock, confusion… all that can never be re-lived or fully explained. These are images and memories that I will forever hold onto as being one of my favorite stops along the journey so far.
I write this from an ashram in a small village of Ropa nestled in a valley of the Himalayans. I’m two weeks into my ashram life of schedule and discipline, a world most foreign to me than any place I have ever visited. A journey in itself, but one I knew I needed. I’m so used to lots of reflection time, self guided discovery, and choosing to spend every minute of my day exactly how I want, working on projects that inspire me, clients whom I adore, and waking up when I want, eating however much, whenever I want. I knew my biggest struggle would be a rigorous schedule in harmony with a community of women.
My ashram life starts each day before sunrise to a meeting in our mediation room for a sating (“to be in company of truth”) in other words to gather with others who are also on their journey of truth. We focus on raising the vibrations of the room with singing and yes dancing =) followed by a guided meditation. The rest of the day is a whirlwind consisting of yoga, teaching postures, spiritual and anatomical studies of the mind, body, and soul. Next thing I know it is lights out, as me and my 3 other roommates fall asleep with our headlamps on reading our yoga manuals.
I have never felt so connected and disconnected at the same time. Wifi is many villages away, this is the first time I have felt “far enough away” to be homesick. I never realized how something as simple as hearing a familiar voice can bring you back home, until I couldn’t.
The struggle also comes with so much growth. Everyday I work on my intention of non-attachment. My disconnection with the internet has brought me more connection with the life that surrounds me. There is so much existence and stillness. The cows that I pass along the way who’s milk calms my stomach overnight, the mountain spring that fills my water bottle with an ice cold flow of life energy. The village children who run up for hugs or give you flowers with their contagious smiles =) I have realized that just because I can’t physically tell someone I love them, doesn’t mean I can’t send them my love. So from my small little village life.. I send you my love <3
India is a huge country with so much diversity. So many religions with “over 8 million” gods, according to a friendly local. When he asked me how long I’ll be in India for, I said, “Almost 2 months… too short for India, right?”. He replied straight-faced, “Of course, why not. A lifetime is too short to see India.”
With so many places to see, where do you begin? Charmie is stationed in the Himalayas and although I love the mountains, there’s something about desert regions that I always seem to gravitate towards. I decided to spend the next month exploring Rajasthan, a desert region in Western India that is home to the Rajputs. Rajputs are a warrior clan within the Indian caste system that claims to originate from the sun, and by looking in their eyes you would almost believe it. Almost everyone I’ve talked to and photographed so far all seem to have this mysterious haze of bloodshot. I’m not sure if it’s from the constant dust storms or the prevalent opium culture. Whatever it is I’m intrigued. I feel so incredibly grateful to be here right now. Tomorrow I head off into the desert, spending the next 3 days exploring the land by camel! : )
I’ve had a chance to get connected with Mihaela Noroc of Beauty Around the World Project, and though we were not able to organize a date we could both be in Bangkok, I still have to share her amazing project! The Beauty Around the World project combines her passion for fashion photography with her passion for travel. Her intentions are to travel to 35 countries in 16 months and capture the diverse beauty of local women in all the places she discovers. Such cultural beauties fill her tumblr, and it’s such an inspiring space to appreciate and celebrate our cultural differences and similarities.
I’ve come to understand that truths behind words such as family, love, happiness, home and freedom are all based on a feeling versus a tangible place or object. During our travels people ask me where is home and it always takes me a minute to respond. There are so many places that are home to me, from the mountains of East Tennessee where I grew up, to the Philippines where I spent my childhood, or Chiang Mai where we have called home for the past few months. This past week we spent it on the island of Koh Lanta. It’s always a surreal feeling when you see familiar faces in completely foreign place. Aaron’s childhood friend Patrick came to visit, and though it has been years since we’ve seen him, our conversations felt like it hasn’t skipped a beat. Last time we saw Patrick was in our college apartment, bonding over cheap 40’s while him and Aaron played video games. Today we are here watching the sunset on an island in Thailand, (still drinking cheap beer), and catching up. The way he chain smokes and laughs is like deja vu, and seeing him felt like he brought a piece of our other home to us. While here, we stayed with our friends who were our neighbors in the same zen compound we once called home in the fall of last year. They invited us down to the island to catch up, so we invited Patrick to join us and for the first time since we left home, we are with familiar faces in a completely different place. I can’t pin why it felt like home, maybe it’s the island vibe that we connect to, it could be reuniting with Patrick after all these years, or sharing a small space with close friends again. Home is such a beautiful feeling, and its what keeps us traveling. We have found our pieces of home, friends, love, and freedom sprinkled in different places all along our journey.