I recently returned from a one month, cross country road trip with a buddy of mine. From New York through the southwest and finally to California, rounding it up into a neat little recap just wouldn’t do. Soon I'll publish travel guides from my favorite cities and more. For now, I’ll share some of my favorite helpful, occasionally poignant and often laughable, lessons I picked up along the way!
How to love my face without makeup
I’ve never been a big makeup girl, but it’s rare that I leave the house without a bit of tinted moisturizer and a slick of mascara to transform my blonde lashes. Anonymously crossing the country, we moved every couple of days and filled each one with outdoor activities. The combination left me little time nor desire for maquillage. Rather than avoiding mirrors when bare faced, I’d catch a glimpse in the rearview and think “Hey kid! Lookin’ good.” Maybe the tan helped, but mostly I think it was making “natural” the new “normal.” Whatever the reason, I effortlessly dropped the makeup habit and 45 days later - I’m working on a pretty addictive no-makeup habit.
The lizard is my spirit animal
So I’ll admit I’m borderline obsessed with “signs”. I own a deck of tarot cards (maybe 2), my friends got me a Vedic astrology reading for my birthday… I mean, I love me some wu wu. But something about the “spirit animal” concept always seemed silly to me. Then halfway through the trip, a Cherokee descendant told me what his grandfather taught him: that your spirit animal finds you, not the other way around. Days later, I hiked the reported energy vortex of Bell Rock in Sedona (I know, stick with me here). I had just pulled out my tarot cards (because duh, what else does one do when they’re sitting on a vortex?!) when a lizard came and sat RIGHT next to me, making quizzical eye contact and not moving a centimeter. Thinking nothing of it, I turned to my deck when a huge gust of wind blew off two cards: One: “Spirit Guide”. OH MY GOD I SUDDENLY BELIEVE IN SPIRIT ANIMALS! The other card, “Completion: Change, settlement, successful conclusion and positive beginnings.” Seemed pretty poignant too, having just uprooted from New York after over a decade. Oh, and upon googling “lizard spirit guide” (yes that’s where we are now) apparently it means much the same thing. Huh.
Always travel with candles and matches.
I had my favorite travel candles from Modern Ritual with me in case of a stinky hotel room or bad lighting. When the power went out during an electrical storm in a farmhouse in TN, my candles saved the day!
Roadside stops are worth the stop.
Besides pee breaks and the occasional vista outlook, if you’ve got the time to stop when you see something unusual, do. On the iconic Route 66, you'll find all kinds of novelty shops from crystals and petrified wood to alien chachkies near Roswell. But even on a regular highway, if you see a Native American outpost, chances are they’ll have some lovely turquoise pieces and those Mexican outlets usually stock great blankets. You never know who you’ll meet at a random dive bar or general store along the way. Not to mention we found surprisingly tasty BBQ and even healthy options at a random pitstop called Fats BBQ in Dinwittie, VA. Who knew.
The “add stop” function on Google Maps is the best thing ever.
This goes way beyond gas stations. You can search pretty much anything, even once you've got your navigation started. They'll tell you where to find it, and even how many minutes off your route it will be. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? I used this constantly while scouring the countryside for thrift stores and vintage shops for my fun side project, Vagablonde Vintage. Which brings me to my next discovery…
A road trip is a great time to take up a new hobby.
After a vivid dream a few months ago inspired me to start embroidering vintage denim jackets, I decided to take advantage of the hours on the road to try my hand at stitching. What started as a ploy to keep my hands busy and an alternative to Instagram stalking turned into a passion project. I began probing every thrift and vintage store I could find for more denim to work on, and couldn’t put it down. I even brought my needles and thread to a bar in Texas and stitched for hours while listening to live music! More on that later, but for now you can track my inspo on @vagablonde_style.
More to come on my nomadic summer and highlights from the road … In the meantime, check out my video diary here!