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The Art of Loneliness

November 10, 2019

Bozeman, MT

After my return from the solo road trip, friends and acquaintances alike ask me how it went. Well, it was amazing, but I haven’t been able to articulate into words how I felt. I think I captured mostly how I felt through the trip through the vlogs. Since I’m limited to stills and words, what I will be doing here, is a linear recap.

 

When I first got into my car from the airport in Billings, I had absolutely zero doubts about the trip. It felt right. The road hugged me warmly as I venture an hour back west to Bozeman, MT where my first Airbnb waited. Planners will ask me how I found all these places or how I routed the trip, I honestly couldn’t say. But that was the point, to not overthink my journey and just go. In fact, I would plan my days and places the day of, do you know how liberating and fucking freeing that is? To be so insanely present through no agenda as the best agenda. I did try sticking to a budget…-ish and looked Airbnb’s in Montana for cute places around $100 a night. Alas, a yurt.

It wasn’t until getting there that I was hit with a massive thunderstorm that worry sank in. After unpacking the car in the rain, I sat in the tent under a cloud of doom thinking…

what the fuck am I doing?

When the storm passed, I made a game-time decision to head into town while I had a finicky pocket of clear skies, you know, as an attempt to feel human again. I figured food will help and should be stashed as healthy options could be sparse throughout the open road. Let me just say grocery stores are my favorite places to shop – generally speaking. Like the other day, Wes and I were with our other couple friend that we hang out with often, and the boys wanted to go to Samys, the camera store on Fairfax. At the point of a numbing 2 hours, my girlfriend and I were prompted to imagine what kind of store would administer this sort of blacking out for us. A thoughtful, well-equipped grocery store of course. And Bozeman’s was so evolved, particularly in the bulk section. So I took my time, taking home plenty of nuts, finger foods, and beverages. And a chocolate stout cause it sounded good.

 

On my way back to the yurt, I overshot my turn and drove the Suburban into a ditch in the attempt of a u-turn. Eager drivers immediately swarmed to helped tow the car out within 15 minutes. Culture shock. And instantly, I felt safe. Safe to be here. Safe to be at home.

The two nights in Bozeman were my longest stationed in one spot, so I ventured for some horseback riding (also found on Airbnb) and very, very ambitiously, drove through Yellowstone Park.

 

Now, if I were to do this over again, I would’ve rather had one night alone in the park, because it was huge. And insanely beautiful. But I spent almost the whole day site-seeing through the windows, eventually got kinda angsty, and ended up in Big Sky on the way home for some dinner. I must have driven 300 miles that day alone – which on a road trip with 1200+ miles to go, is not something you want to do to your lower back at the very beginning.

 

And a sad farewell to Bozeman, MT as I venture into a last-minute planned journey more north (and not more west, as I should be – another poor choice in planning). But I am determined, I wanted to see as much as I possibly could. So I drove to Missoula, had lunch, did a little thrifting, and drove another 3 hours north to Glacier Park for another wonderful glamping experience.

 

 

 

This long stretch of driving was probably the most inspiring content-wise. Vast open blue skies like I’ve never seen before, a glistening lake, and an abundance of wildflowers that encourages so many pit stops for a moment of surrender.

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Glacier, MT

It was at this point in the trip that, I felt space. The space from distractions. And stillness. I haven’t experienced that in years… and my [now] incredibly dirty adventure car seemed to reflect my cleanse.

On I ventured. Going west towards Los Angeles, closer to home. Pressures of making it home in time started sinking in as after 3 nights and 4 days, I was still in Montana. The rest was a sprint home.

See, I talk a game of spontaneity being the healing ingredient in our bustling lives. But structure does help, and I had none on this trip. The time crunch didn’t prevent me from stopping by a few kooky spots along the way. Including a rather sketchy hot spring that wasn’t the most comfortable place to be in a hot pink bikini in the middle of literally, nowhere. By myself. As a cute girl.

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Spokane, WA

 

I passed through Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for some devastatingly delicious thrifting where I pick up this now famed pink cowgirl hat. And I have nothing to report from Spokane except for the stark realization that I wasn’t ready to be anywhere close to a city. It felt as if I had wasted a night being in a city rather than savoring this opportunity to continue charging under the moonlight. I predicted that I would’ve been sick of living out of campsites that I booked a fancy hotel to look out for future Rachel. Wrong guess.

 

My only visual souvenir of Spokane are these two photographs in my hotel room. Oh, and I had one glass of wine by myself and was taking thotty photos and in my altered state of thinking, wanted to email the hotel management that a TV in front of a bed mirror is the most unsexy thing and send them this photo. I’m glad I didn’t.

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Portland, OR

Things Look Different Here

Another visit far too short. But Portland snapped me out of demonizing cities. I only had time for one little morning venture and I picked the International Rose Test Garden. Being there was like a serendipitous farewell to the time in nature like I was honoring that space I’ve created. Remember, I’ve been without social media for all this time and was being rebirthed on the west coast as a different human ready to be home.

 

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Of all the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have in my career, taking a solo road trip is at the very top of the list. There’s something about selfish, contained decisions that remind you of what being young, alive, and curious feels like. I will be reminding myself of feeling til all of eternity. Or until my next one.

Also not a proper map, but here’s a Google map that I heavily abided by on my trip to get from wonder to wonder.

KISSES x

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