Having just moved to Los Angeles from Toronto, I was looking forward to all the American-style road trips I would have during my summer vacation. Of the ones I went on, the most memorable trip was my get-away to the Electric Daisy Carnival (aka EDC), an epic three day music and performance-driven extravaganza located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The annual EDC features all sorts of entertainment, from Electronica music to carnival rides to circus-like performances to interactive art installations. On top of witnessing a visually spectacular scene, from the moment you walk in, you are surrounded by and fully immersed in the Electronica music culture from which EDC originally emerged – the principle of P.L.U.R (Peace, Love, Unity and Respect). With that said, EDC was beyond my expectations. 35,000 people attended this music celebration, taking over the Las Vegas Strip during the day and the Motor Speedway at night.
The last time I went to the Grand Canyon, I was six years old. The visit came about because my family was moving from Nevada to Texas and we wanted to check out this wonder on the way. I remember walking to the edge of the canyon after sitting in the car for hours, staring down into the infinite abyss, and then looking back at my dad and thinking, “This is it?”
Fast forward 17 years later and I am standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon for a second time. It is breathtaking. There is snow on the ground, couples walking their dogs, and very few kids running around (must be something about the edge of a canyon that scares parents). The canyon is quiet in sound but loud with color and depth. It is a bright rustic red and orange but, in the crevasses, it is a dark purple. The South Rim shows melted snow running down the side of the canyon and patches of solid ice where the sun has not yet touched. I found a flat rock where not many people were. My boyfriend and I had just begun to meditate when a woman interrupted us to ask if we could take a picture of her. She was from South Africa; so is my boyfriend. They began to speak in Afrikaans and he learned that she has a safari in South Africa and teaches at the same elementary school at which his mom teaches. He misses his home in South Africa, so to meet someone who tells him how beautiful it still is makes him happy, which in turn, makes me happy.
Last summer, I took a family trip: The archetypal American Summer Road Trip, across the southwest. My brother stayed home, unattended, because he dislikes things like Going Anywhere At All. I started in San Marcos, CA; a logical decision, seeing as that’s where I live. Then I made my way to Tucson, El Paso, Albuquerque, Cortez, St. George, Las Vegas, and back home. 6 new cities in as many days.
Needless to say (probably), I quickly went from excited to exhausted, somewhere around the third multi-hour trip in a row. It was not entirely horrible, though. I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts (primarily Nerdist and You Made It Weird, both of which focus on T.V. shows getting made, careers getting started and continuing onward in LA), as well as marvel at how much of this country is a flat, uninhabited terrain.
The small towns we passed on the way to our destinations were often puzzlingly distant from things like bodies of water and supermarkets (the two things I require for survival). It seemed so bizarre that anyone lives in these tiny towns, where the closest thing to an “attraction” is a gift store full of mugs and other tchotchkes, regardless of how appealing the multiple garish billboard advertisements leading up to the shop made it seem. 138 miles to the Big Old Shop of Junk. 89 miles… 20 miles… Exit now for Junk.