Cars, Canyons, and Colors

24 Days of Grateful [Day 2]

Today, I am grateful for the privilege of travel. I recently went on a road trip to Nevada and Arizona with my boyfriend, and it gave me a perspective on life that I had forgotten how to see.

I didn’t have cell phone service for a lot of our trip. We spent two days in Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove through Arizona. We finished up the trip with two more days in the city where things that happen are supposed to stay. But a lot of things left with me.

Like how much I miss traveling and how sad it makes me to stay in one place for too long. I am a homebody in many ways, but living static can get me in a negative frame of mind. I needed to get out of that place, and this trip did it for me.

While driving down endless roads past rocks that have seen millions of years, I was so effortlessly grateful and happy. For my life. For the money to do something like that. For having flown on a plane that wasn’t under a terrorist attack. For my best friend in the driver’s seat while I spent a lot of time getting us lost. For my laptop and journals in the backpack, allowing me to write a novel while traveling (and oh my God, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever done).

But mostly, I was grateful for nature, and stunning colors in the sky, and painted deserts and petrified rocks. I was grateful that I got to see the Grand Canyon, and many other canyons that told their own uneven stories. I was grateful for roads that ran straight and signs for In-N-Out. I was grateful for our nation’s painful history that ran red in rocks called the Valley of Fire, and for the guy I saw dancing on a cliff overlooking the sunset.

I was grateful for the tank that we could afford to fill with gas and the Pringles I bought at the gas station. I was grateful that I have someone who is just insane enough to do these things with me, and just sane enough to remind me to slow down.


Look at the damn sunset and not at the clock; the sky tells its own time.

I get on my boyfriend’s case because he isn’t punctual, and I am what he calls “chronically early.” But red rocks, long deserts, and finding a shady spot on a cliff by palm trees were enough to remind me that punctuality is not everything. There is something to be said for hikes in Arizona that are a little scary because the trail is easy to lose.

The last time I wrote about being feeling as lost as I have felt recently was when I returned home from Barcelona. After spending four months as a student (traveler) in Spain, Massachusetts was suffocating. I wrote a poem when I got back about how being in my old life felt like stepping into a box. It is a box I stay in while I stand still, one abandoned every single time I step somewhere that I have never been before. For that opportunity to leave home, I am infinitely grateful. 

I never want to stop leaving.

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