Let me premise this with: I made it across the desert! I’m safe and sound in San Diego, California.
I haven’t given an update in a couple days, because I’ve either been too busy spending time with new friends or driving across Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. My full day in Austin was unbelievably good. I woke up early, when I posted last. I spent the morning walking around various neighborhoods in Austin – South Congrss, Guadalupe St., etc. Austin honestly won my heart over a little bit while there. The street style, vintage shopping, awesome food, and just overall hio vibe of a city that feels like it is thriving was amazing. It is definitely getting added to my list of places I would be up for moving to in the future. Then, in the early afternoon, my two friends from NOLA called and invited me to come to Hippie Hollow, the nude beach outside of Austin. I agreed without hesitation, and it ended up being s really fun experience.
Growing up, my family was always really relaxed about nudity around the house. It just wasn’t a big deal – a huge contrast to the weird taboo that American culture places on nudity. As a result, the nude beach experience felt extremely familiar, despite never having been to one before. The two guys who I was with were very relaxed and comfortable with it as well, which made it even more enjoyable. Swimming, laying in the sun, and talking – and then the afternoon was gone. That night was spent eating excellent Tex Mex, watching the sunset over a river from the top of a mountain, and then singing karaoke until the early morning. Definitely one for the books.
The next two days were spent driving. The first day, I drove from Austin to about an hour west of Tuscon. It was about 16 hours of travel – but I stopped multiple times. My longest stop was in El Paso, to look around the border town and eat some hole in the wall Mexican food. The town itself was interesting- it looked different than anything else I had ever seen. Little houses tucked into this hazy valley, with a mass of haphazard sky scrapers planted in the middle. Surrounded by mountains in shades of red, it was absurdly beautiful. I know it is a place that has its share of problems, but the beauty was nice to appreciate for a few hours.
Watching the sunset over the mountains and the desert was phenomenal, but no match for the sunrise that I woke up to. I slept in the parking lot of a travel mart off the interstate, and it was surprisingly great sleep. I passed out at ten, and woke up with the sunrise at 5 am. The orange creeping over the purple mountains, lighting up miles of desert- no words or pictures will be able to do it justice.
The rest of the drive into San Diego was uneventful, but still beautiful. Except for the part where I just HAD to go investigate a giant cactus off in the distance, which resulted in my body stuck full of cactus prickles and my head cut from slithering under a barbed wire fence. I have never been the most coordinated human, but at least the cactus was pretty damn awesome. Driving across the southwest has been unforgettable.
And now, for a few pictures.
Warning at the entrance to Hippy Hollow.
Some typical southwestern scenery in El Paso.
I’m kind of obsessed with these cactuses.