Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm finally home, writing this post from my favorite coffee shop, Atlas, in Boulder, Colorado. Back from a trip that spanned 7 states & 3,876 miles in 19 days. Though it feels like I was gone for a lifetime. My scenery kept changing, I occupied the lives of close friends and acquaintances for a few days at a time, here and there, falling into a routine, then leaving a couple days later. The road became my only constant. Driving began to feel normal, even pleasurable, after the first couple days. I listened to probably about 24 hours worth of NPR podcasts [This American Life and Radiolab] and am sufficiently full of enough NPR anecdotes to last a lifetime.
Leaving Marfa & my spontaneous visit to Austin--

My last night in Marfa was wonderful. I drove up to the McDonald Observatory at around 9:45pm where an astronomer gave us all a tour of the sky using a green laser pointer that points to individual stars. He showed us constellations, planets, and star clusters. Then we got to look through fancy, expensive telescopes at amazing things. I saw Saturn. Twice. Real Saturn. It looked like a cartoon. It was incredible. This was the view of the sunset from the observatory: 

Sunday, I sadly checked out of Little Pinky and El Cosmico, stopped at Squeeze Marfa to get one last goat cheese sandwich and a couple $13 Swiss chocolate bars as gifts, and hit the road.

I listened to about a billion Radiolab podcasts while I drove through a fucking hurricane during which some people just stopped driving in the middle of the road because no one could see anything. But I arrived at last and was shocked by the rain forest-y feel of the place and the giant river I passed over on my drive to my friends' house.

My amazingly talented friend, Monet, and her equally talented husband, cooked a delicious dinner and we all ate and talked about life and music and had one of those perfect rainy indoor nights. On Monday, M and I went to Easy Tiger Bake Shop for breakfast pastries, then to Vintage Heart Coffee Shop for tasty drinks and writing related discussions. Hit up the Whole Foods flagship store, which is EPIC, ate lunch, then visited some small vintage antique [that's probably redundant] shops in town. M, R, and I got drinks at Contigo in the evening, then went to Enoteca for a fabulous dinner. All but the first and last of the following set of photos were taken at Vintage Heart. The first photo is of Easy Tiger. The last was taken at Enoteca.

Tuesday was lunch at Blue Dahlia with an old friend/a family friend. We've only met once, but our moms have worked together for years. We visited Take Heart next door to Blue Dahlia after eating waffles for lunch, I bought too many letterpress cards and other artisan items, then we walked around 6th looking for graffiti. Later that day, M, R, and I walked to Julio's for dinner and looked at all the beautiful houses in that neighborhood. Dreamed about the houses we hope to own when we're older. Talked about the lives we want, about raising children, about how to accomplish the things we care about most in the midst of struggling to stay afloat financially, emotionally, practically. M wrote the sweetest blog post about our friendship, so instead of trying to recreate those words, I'll just direct you here [where you'll also salivate over the banana coconut cream pie she made and then posted about on the blog].

I left Austin on Wednesday morning. The drive to Denver is something like 16 hours and I was going to stop in Raton, New Mexico for the night, but by the time I hit Raton, it was only 8:30pm, I was in driving mode, and I really just wanted to get home and see my love. And Chez SkettiO's. And my stuffed owl. And the mountain town I left behind three weeks ago. 

I'm as happy to be home as I was to be on my trip. I always miss the places I'm not, but I also always love wherever I'm traveling. It's a perfect balance. And I try to collect little bits along my travels to remind me of the places I've been when I'm in the comfort of my home. This trip, I took sand from four of the deserts I visited, a small, shiny black rock from Double Negative, photography & a tea pot & Swiss chocolate & a couple books from Marfa, a water bottle and two drinking glasses from El Cosmico, and this little ceramic cup from Austin in which I put the cactus Monet gave me when I arrived at her house in Texas:

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