Solo Road Trip: The Drive West

In April, I wrote an article about my penchant for solo travel. When you travel alone, you strip away the roles played in the day-to-day areas of your life—spouse, parent, daughter, friend—and you're left with nothing but...yourself. Cue the eternal existential inquiry, "Who am I?

Solo travel is healthy. It's exciting. It's at your own pace. It's empowering, especially for women. It enhances your relationships. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder: True story.) It's as social or as introverted as you want it to be. It's yours to create, explore, and remember. 

I planned this trip a few months ago around a photography project I'm working on, with stops along the way to visit old friends and favorite places. My itinerary: hightail it to the west coast, bumble my way up through California, Oregon, and Washington for two weeks, meet Hobbs in Seattle in early October, and drive home together. 

Days one and two were dubbed The Hightailing Days, speeding through Colorado's epic scenery with a stop for lunch at Grand Junction's Bin 707 Food Bar before heading south through southeastern Utah's rusty red moonscape.

I spent the night in Monticello, Utah with my hosts Betsy and Patrick, along with their sweet and curious sons, River and Murphy. Their sunshine-colored farmhouse sits on a fertile acre overlooking the wide expanse of the Colorado Plateau.

At sunset, I gave an impromptu photography lesson to River and Murphy, who'd only ever used an iPad for taking pictures. That night, I watched as Betsy stenciled designs onto the t-shirts she sells at the Telluride Farmers' Market and on Etsy. I purchased one, too. 

Day two was long. I left Monticello early and headed south into northern Arizona's post-apocalyptic topography, stopping only for gas and to refill my water bottle. I chased the sun all the way into southern California, pulling into Indio at sunset.

I was greeted by my host Carole, a retired Disneyland cast member and fellow dog lover. As I parked my car, she was taking delivery of her latest foster, a 7-year-old chihuahua named Toffee. 

Today I head further west, where Western civilization meets the Pacific Ocean. I'm curious to see what my sister life's been up to lately.