Incredible, amazing, breathtaking – the words I’ve been saying on repeat as soon as I’m asked about my US road trip. Those words are the only ones I can muster to explain how I felt during this trip, but somehow for all they are supposed to encompass they don’t seem to come close.
In the past the more adventurous trips I can recall were over the years I was too young to fully appreciate them, and in my older years my travels have largely been to big cities or for work. I’ve been lucky enough to travel lots over the years, but venturing out on this trip was different.
The road trip started from Colorado, where I flew to before Christmas to stay with boyfriend and his family. Even before the road trip begun the adventure had. Albite rather silly, this trip was the first time I’d gone skiing. As a ballet dancer anything that could potentially give you an injury outside the studio was “strictly forbidden”. My first time plummeting down a mountain was pretty overwhelming, feeling that level of freedom surrounded by the most stunning mountain peaks chocked something up in me which I continued to think about for the rest of the trip. I truly don’t appreciate nature enough.
Whilst in Colorado I went on some of the most beautiful hikes and even got to saw down my first christmas tree. Silly, but I didn’t even realise that was something one would do – so long buying mine from the local supermarket, this is far more festive.
The day after Christmas we set out on the first leg of our trip. Salida, Colorado to Moab, UTAH. Around a 5 hour drive poor Riley, designated driver, drove us through the snow and into the, still freezing, desert. I’m not sure what I expected was in Moab, but looking back I certainly didn’t have any clue where we were going – I let the native chose the spots and I followed him along happily.
Moab is probably, maybe, ok – definitely, the most enchanting place I have ever been. The rock formations are astonishing and theres’ something incredibly epic about being amongst them. Time stands still, and it’s as if everyone looking up and walking around Arches national park is thinking the same thing “The world is so much bigger than my life problems I left behind.” It’s a real sense of being so small in the big scheme of things, it puts you in your place, makes all your worries insignificant and makes you feel incredibly emotional to be a part of it all.
When we arrived at Moab the sunset was creeping up on us and with a big hike to see the Delicate Arch, we didn’t know if we’d make it. We jogged most of the way, whilst walkers retreating back warned us it would be pitch black before we made it to the top. Thank goodness we didn’t listen. We made it to the top, sat on a rock overlooking the arch and out to the horizon, watching an unforgettable sunset.
The next day we woke up early, did a quick hike in Arches National Park and grabbed some breakfast from the hipster cafe in the main strip of Moab. They had a macro bowl with scrambled eggs, seaweed and brown rice – I took a punt, as it’s not my normal wakeup, but it was one well spent and absolutely delicious.
We set off on another drive, crossing the boarder to Arizona. Here we saw Antelope Canyon, a 120 feet deep canyon formed my erosion of Navajo sandstone. Again, I had no idea what to expect, and have no real words to describe how it made me feel. It was absolutely spectacular.
The next day we drove through the beautiful Zion National Park, on our 7 hour drive to California. We broke up the day in Las Vegas and wondered around aimlessly, slowly acclimatising to busy streets. I can confirm Las Vegas and Antelope Canyon are not the same place. Eventually after lots of driving and a tired spotify playlist, we made it into Malibu, California.
After days of driving we were settled in Los Angeles for four days. I lived in LA for a few years growing up and still visit it often. It was fun going around my old stomping ground and showing Riley the city. We hiked, brunched, biked, shopped and had a really relaxing time. I also got to eat at some of my favourite Los Angeles foodie spots; Cafe Gratitude, Kreation, Cafe Vidas and The Butchers Daughter. I was in my happy place. We also hit up a few smoothie bars – where on one occasion Riley got rather chatted up by the juicy juice man behind the counter. Proof that ordering a florescent ‘Pink Flamingo’ says a lot about a person. It made my day.
On our last night we rented bikes on Venice Beach and boogied down the sidewalk to a fusion of reggae music from the market and volleyball players out of tune yelps. The Los Angeles sunset never disappoints.
We left LA and drove down the coast to Encinitas in San Diego where Riley’s brother lives. We stayed there and experienced a more chilled out California. Like LA , without the traffic. We were slowly going back to the mountains.
After a few days in Encinitas we left to drive to Sedona, Arizona – a town, home to many a spiritual man (and woman). We got in very late, using it as a base for the evening before driving back West. It was a foggy morning, so except for the inside of an Acai Bowl cafe we didn’t get to see too much of the town.
The next drive was to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Oh my, this place is magical. By the time we arrived into Santa Fe we both had stinking colds, I had developed a rather husky voice and we had accumulated a Costco worthy amount of tissue boxes. It didn’t stop us, as we quickly headed off from the hotel to Meow Wolf an art collective in Santa Fe. They describe what they do as “Creating immersive art experiences that transport audiences to fantastic realms.” It is the most bizarre, incredible, trippy experience. I didn’t want to leave!
We had dinner at a classic Santa Fe Mexican restaurant, The Shed, the last of tens of Mexican meals from the trip and went back to our cosy little lodgings for the night.
The next morning we went to breakfast at a kooky little cafe, and explored all the shops. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay all day in Santa Fe, with the roads back to Colorado getting icier by the hour.
We said our goodbyes to New Mexico and arrived back in Colorado for my final night before flying back to London.
Whilst words can only share so much, I hope these photos and video Riley captured will complete the picture.