Tag Archives: traveling

The Wonder in Traveling

I have been remiss and have not posted in many moons. After my epic cross country drive there and back again, it was quite easy to slip into the regular ever pervasive grind of daily life. I recently took a trip to New Orleans and reawakened my focus on traveling, seeing and being in the world.

New Orleans had always been on my list – largely for two reason. One due to being French Canadian with ancestors who helped to explore Louisiana. Second I have a love for cajun and creole cooking. My quest to walk the streets of “Nawlins was encouraged with films that gave me glimpses of the wonders.

I have realized that one of the most important things to do when traveling to a new place is to allow for one to be open to whatever that place has to offer. To make a conscious decision to not let one’s ideas or outside pictures to influence how you actually experience the location.

From the moment I stepped out onto the streets of The French Quarter, I was instantly in love. The atmosphere, the street architecture, the food, the music that floats in the air, and even the smooth style of people. Now this love is complicated, there were street smells that were unpleasant, the ever present sad state of homeless, and the inundation of drunken people flooding Bourbon Street. Yet despite all of this, there was a unique soul of New Orleans which I not only enjoyed but want to return to CAM03078

It was the richness of this soul which reawakened my own.

CAM03024(1)

“People get it all wrong. You travel not to find your soul. You travel to feed it.” Genefe Navilon

The National Parks

Ken Burn’s documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” highlights the wonder, majesty, and necessity that perserving the wonders that surround us. There seems to be an infinite connection with observing nature and understanding one’s connection with the divine/universe. The forefather and driving force for the creation and maintanence of our natural parks not only was an avid adventure man/wilderness expert but a spiritual seeker. He states, “Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” (John Muir) The sojourn to nature is used throughout the centuries and throughout the cultures.

My parents were instrumental in showing me the awe and beauty that surrounds me. Some of my earliest memories are of our family road trips up and down the state of California going from national park to state park. It was at the Grand Canyon that I heard the voice of my Savior telling me that the power it took to make that beautiful masterpiece was the same power and beauty that made me. It was the trees of the mighty General Grant at Sequoia/Kings Canyon that I started to see the rhythms and purpose of my life. Yet again Muir states, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” (John Muir) It is through nature that I am always reminded to always be positive, to always strive to do good, be good, and love instead of hate. It is nature that reminds me that the universe is all connected.

It is with this in mind that I made sure to carve out time to visit two different national parks while I was driving through Utah. I had been to Zion National Park as a kid. The colors had stayed in my mind’s eye and it was even more special as it was one of the first stops I made on my crazy solo journey across country. I felt emboldened doing something adventurous on my own. I walked along the river at the Temple of Sinnewawa and listened to the sounds of nature seep into my being. It was the recharging of courage, fortitude, and wonderment that I needed to complete my journey.

While Zion was lovely, it was Arches National Park that was truly calling me. I left Salt Lake City in the early morning so that I would have enough time to wander and soak it all in. The drive alone was magically. Full of colors streaming over the open plains, rocks, and canyons through the mist and sunrise. It felt like every mile was not only a mile closer to the park but to a new me. The red rocks were magnanimous. It was interesting the amount of stares that I received by other visitors when they saw that I was alone. It caused me to yet again think, would they look that strangely on a solo man? Why is it so weird or concerning to see a young woman wanted to experience the awesomeness of Arches? 

ImageThe mighty awesomeness of nature, of its beauty, and its place in the grand scheme of things helps to become a visible reminder to why, what, and who we all are. It is also a reminder that even nature experiences change and imperminance. The mighty arches succomb to gravity and erosion and will eventually disappear. Just like each and every one of us must wax and wane in our human existences. We must remember that we all carry purpose, even our deaths allow for new generations to come forth. While our physical appearances will disappear, the aftermaths, the remnants, and the connections we make will always continue on.

Image

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” (John Muir)

 

 

 

“The national park idea has been nurtured by each succeeding generation of Americans. Today, across our land, the National Park System represents America at its best. Each park contributes to a deeper understanding of the history of the United States and our way of life; of the natural processes which have given form to our land, and to the enrichment of the environment in which we live.”
George B. Hartzog, Jr., NPS Director, 1964-1972:

The Prep Work

The work that needed to be put in for the 1900 mile journey has been quite prolific. It all started with ensuring my vehicle, my control agent was ready for the task. New tires, struts, oil change, and clean from the inside out. I have two coolers packed with drinks, energy bars, and enormous amounts of snacks and gum. I have packed five bags of cloths, one bag of shoes, bags of dry staple food, and certain luxuries that I know I could not be comfortable without. (not excluding my electric kettle, my tea stash, some scented candles, a scented plugin, and of course some of my movies.)

The 1900 mile journey has brought up many different elements, is my preferred gas station available outside of California, what happens when my cell phone starts loosing battery, what about if I’m driving through an area without cell phone reception? I recommend anyone undertaking a driving journey to visit their local AAA branch. I have been taught by my father from the beginning of my diving career to read maps, to be able to rely not only on GPS. As a single woman I knew I wanted to be able to find my way regardless of cell reception and battery life. It was this that compelled me to go to the AAA office. I receive physical maps, travel books, and a step by step guide/map book of my journey. All of which were free with my membership.

I have gas stations, restaurants, and tourist sights mapped out, check in times with certain people to ensure that on the off chance something happens, cavalry can be easily located. I am purchasing a National Parks annual pass so that I will be able to hit up at least 4 different parks on my adventure. I have even planned out undertaking a micro-brewery/pub driving crawl across the US. I am going to take my time driving, having a two day stop in Utah and a two day stop in Kansas. It is shaping into not only a cross country adventure, but a journey of a lifetime.