That one time I accidentally took a month long vacation.


 Chiricahua National Monument - Wilcox, AZ 12/23/17

Chiricahua National Monument - Wilcox, AZ 12/23/17

Back in November I bought a plane ticket back to Burlington from Los Angeles for January 4th. That is kind of what fueled my whole trip to begin with. 

I figured if I'm going to head west I might as well make the most of it, so I got a ticket to start at my parent's house out in the desert in Arizona. They live in a tiny town about an hour and a half south-east of Tucson. No man's land. It's wild. 

 Cochise, AZ 12/21/17

Cochise, AZ
12/21/17

I spent eight days at my parents house in the desert. I can't remember the last time we got to kick it on Christmas. We celebrated the only way a family should celebrate Christmas.
By shooting guns at a pice of plywood on a dry lake, and a nice dinner. 

While I was out there my friend Jeremiah called me one night and suggested I come visit him while I'm out west, and I figured "Why not?"

I took him up on his offer and figured "Why don't I just throw Chicago in there too since I've been so homesick lately" and thus began my accidental month long vacation. 

 Self Portrait. Cochise, AZ 12/21/17

Self Portrait. Cochise, AZ
12/21/17

Every night I'd wake up to the sounds of coyotes eating their dinner outside my window. Off in the distance is a power plant you can see glowing from miles away. Dead creatures linger forever, and the sounds of footsteps scares the shit out of my because who could possibly be out there?
I'm not a big fan of being in the dark. 

 La Playa - Cochise, AZ 12/21/17

La Playa - Cochise, AZ 12/21/17

As much as I love the desert, and how weird it is, where my parents live is so far out there that I can't handle it. I need people. I need socialization. I need to be busy doing things. My parents are in their seventies and I love them, but I was ready to get to get to LA and be on my own.

It's nice to take a break from the world, and in the middle of the desert is a wonderful place to do it, but then I gotta get back to living life like the maniac that I am. 

 

 

 

 

 Yazmine Zoraida - Downtown Los Angeles, CA 12/29/17

Yazmine Zoraida - Downtown Los Angeles, CA 12/29/17

In LA I stayed with an old friend Yazmine (Who I know from living in Chicago) and her boyfriend James. Yaz is an incredible woman. We met at a very strange time in our lives and bonded over unconventional choices we've made. I'm glad we've both grown up, become stronger, and I'm so happy for the life she's created for herself in Los Angeles. 
James was like the most epic LA tour guide you could ask for. Knows everything about LA, I was impressed. They showed me some bomb stuff. We laughed. We saw. We conquered. 

 Yaz and I - The Bradbury Building.

Yaz and I - The Bradbury Building.

The night I got in I was ready to get down and boogie. They greeted me with prosseco. We went out to all these bars and dance clubs. La Shush (Lash) was probably the most fun.

James is a fantastic dancer. 

They took me downtown the next day, and I caught a celebrity sighting of Mini Me! I almost didn't see him. 

I love all the colors, and the sunshine, and the interesting people. 

uhghghghgghghghhhhhhh

As I sit in my room writing this still trying to thaw out from my early morning adventure to capture the sunset with my bestie. 

So tired of being cold. 

Above is my super fun day exploring Venice Beach with Yaz. The weather was kind of perfect, and the sand was soft and the shopping was to diiieeeeee. 
Literally actually die because you will empty your bank account very easily there, and then not have any money to keep living.

 Salvation Mountain - Niland, CA 1/3/18 with Yazmine Zoraida 

Salvation Mountain - Niland, CA 1/3/18 with Yazmine Zoraida 

After New Years we ventured out to go check out Salvation Mountain and Slab City. On our way there though we stopped in Desert Palm Springs and stayed at this super adorable mineral springs spa place. 

I was so busy enjoying myself in the water I only took photos with my phone. I spent more time swimming than I did outside of the pool. It was just magnificent.

Then onwards to probably the COOLEST part of the trip.
The Salton Sea, Bombay Beach, Salvation Mountain and East Jesus.

Yes, prepare to be OVERLOADED with photos.

First stop, the Salton Sea
Apparently the Salton Sea is famous for being this super toxic lake in the Colorado Desert. It is so toxic nothing can live there. The entire beach is covered in dead fish bones, and it smells really, really terrible. However, it is a wildly fascinating phenomenon and very beautiful despite it's toxciity.

Sounds like most of my relationships LOL jk not really.

Next we have Bombaaaaayyyy Beach

Sounds like a super fancy destination where you'll be drinking expensive cocktails in super soft sand with bright blue waters?
Nope, it's a run down little town on the Salton Sea that is honestly just very confusing. It's mostly abandoned, but not quite. I have so many questions for the few people who still live there.
Also, it smells very bad. 

And then we made our way to Salvation Mountain.
Fun little fact. The man that created Salvation Mountain is actually from Vermont. His name is Leonard Knight. 

It was such an interesting place to explore. The colors! The tourists. (Ughhh) and the angry man with the megaphone that would yell at people that strayed from the yellow brick road. 

I'm so curious about what fuled this art project.

Who dedicates a mountain of painted adobe brick to god?

Why?

Next to Salvation Mountain is Slab City which is a very interesting community of loaners, gypsies, tramps and thieves. Strange crowd, but pretty interesting. Within that we discovered another art installation called East Jesus. 

There's a "wizard" there with permanent wine mouth. We watched him overpower this woman with so much emotion she began to cry and I had no idea what was going on.

After East Jesus we began our drive back to Los Angeles as we caught the tail end of the sunset going over the Salton Sea. It was a beautiful last day to have in California.

After East Jesus we began our drive back to Los Angeles as we caught the tail end of the sunset going over the Salton Sea. It was a beautiful last day to have in California

 Garden of the Gods - January 6th, 2018

Garden of the Gods - January 6th, 2018

Denver.
I met Jeremiah when I lived in Ohio. I've known him for maybe six years now? It was a wonderful short little visit. He took me to Garden of the Gods. We saw some rocks. We took some senior photos. We ate well, and drank well, and watched some black mirror. Great weekend. Taylor swift is the shit.

Leaving Denver was almost a nightmare. Jeremiah also had a flight that day as well, but unlike him I have to go through regular TSA and also check my very large suitcase. Denver is overloADED with people I would have missed my flight had it not been delayed. (Thanks Spirit) 
It was nice though to wait in an airport with a friend drinking smoothies.
We parted ways and Jeremiah flew to Texas and I headed to Chicago. 

 Erin Schminke - Downtown Chicago - January 10th, 2018

Erin Schminke - Downtown Chicago - January 10th, 2018

I stayed with my best friend ever. Erin and her girlfriend Bri.
One of the days I was there, it was like 45-50 degrees and kinda dreary out, and it was the most perfect day ever. 
We roamed around downtown Chicago, and explored the aquarium and laughed and ate delicious food. It was just so nice to be outside, and exploring things I never explored all that much when I actually lived there.

And then!
I spent a pretty rad day with the gorgeous, and very purple Aimee Bueno. She took me to this bizarre cluster of antique shops in Velo Illinois. Weird stuff, but very cool. 

 Justin Mccrocklin - Brown Brother's Tattoo - 1/11/18

Justin Mccrocklin - Brown Brother's Tattoo - 1/11/18

After spending the morning with Aimee she dropped me off at Brown Brother's tattoo where I saw my friend Justin and let him decorate my body some more. 
I couldn't be more pleased.

 

It was nice to catch up, and see old friends. I totally didn't ever get to my storage unit out there to enhance my current wardrobe at home unfortunately.

I'll get to it eventually. 

 

 Chicago, IL - January 10th, 2018

Chicago, IL - January 10th, 2018

On January 14th I finally packed up all my belongings and made my way to the Airport. (Thank you Aimee for the ride) and forced myself to get on a plane to finally head back home.

I don't think I have ever been more exhausted than I had been that night.
As must as I absolutely love traveling, I was very happy to sleep in my own bed again.

And there you have it.

At least most of it.

And now I must nap. <3