Traveling alone is liberating, a great method of self discovery and sometimes slightly scary. It makes you become your best friend and makes you totally ok with silence.
A few years ago, I was stuck in Las Vegas for a day and unfortunately totally over the strip and casinos. So I rented a sweet, little convertible and headed to check off a big item on my bucket list – the Grand Canyon. I quickly stopped off at the Hoover Dam – it was so cool – and then kept driving to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. The drive was fine until I hit a mini canyon road with a sign that said LOOSE GRAVEL. It was a rough road and I kept wondering if I was going to disappear into Arizona with no cell service… but the site of tour buses passing me was reassuring. It was a pretty drive though…
I was starting to wonder if I should turn around and then I hit a paved road and saw the canyon off in the distance. Tears filled my eyes and I am pretty sure I screamed with joy.
It was the most meaningful trip and the most quiet trip I have ever experienced. Taking photos of yourself while traveling is hard alone. I had lots of kind people offer to take my photo and they did, but my favorite photo is the one where I place my camera on a rock, set the timer and sat down. I really had no clue what it would look like and after a second attempt, I got this one.
It is my favorite selfie. It says so much more to me than just someone at the Grand Canyon. I was in a weird place during this time of my life and this trip was the turning point. It was an experience that I feel changed my life. It taught me to choose for me, no matter how scary that choice is. This moment, this girl sitting there staring out on something she had always wanted and finally accomplished alone, was still with me when I decided to leave the security of a full time job and take photos for a living, when I accepted another twin newborn shoot even though the first one was bit of a disaster and anytime I walk into a situation terrified of what’s to come.
I have an enlarged photo sitting on my bed side table just incase I lose sight of that girl.
This trip was the experience of a lifetime.