Tuesday, January 15

Flagstaff, Arizona | The Beginning of an Odyssey

January 11, 2013 - January 15, 2013

My eyes are open.
I'm leaving everything I know behind for the sake of adventure & I'm trying my best to stay warm.

I've been in Flagstaff for the past four days. The days are short & the nights are below freezing. The snow is harsh, but beautiful, & the night sky is breathtaking. I've realized that living in Los Angeles has hindered my ability to actually & fully appreciate. I've always yearned for adventure. I wanted to get out of the city & taste fresh water from a mountain stream. I wanted to work hard & be laborious & do good things that benefit something greater than myself. There's so much beauty in this world & I wanted to see it all. It was finally time.

So here I am. Cold, hungry, blistered, & growing already. Flagstaff is a beautiful place laden with brick architecture, rustic vibes, & burly mountain men on every corner. Everyone is kind. The stars are bright & the air is crisp. I can finally breathe.

There are moments where I think to myself, What have I gotten myself into? This is a big deal to me. Nobody I know has done anything remotely similar to this, which means I had nobody to help me out. I've been on my own from the beginning & it's terrifying.

I took the bus to the local hiking surplus store twice; once to ask questions, & twice to ask questions. "Will this keep me warm?" "Do you think my boots are okay?" "How much water does this hold?" "...Do you have a bathroom?" After feeling like a nuisance, I shyly apologize & justify my lack of knowledge by saying, "I'm from Los Angeles. This is very foreign to me." Their eyes gleam with sympathy, perhaps masking pity. What have you gotten yourself into?

As for my housing situation, I live in a dorm/hostel-style living quarter. I share a room with two other girls with more interesting stories than my own, & seven or eight boys who are, well, boys. As I type this, the chatter between what's-his-name & that-one-guy, him & who? echoes into my room. Everything everyone's saying blends together into pleasant gibberish. I smile.

The supervisors are true men. A few of them are young & very attractive & it makes me nervous. They come into the living quarters with kind smiles & they leave with an eager disposition. As they please. It's a lifestyle.

A girl from London says she likes my accent. After meeting all of these different types of people from different parts of the world, I feel like I've lived in a bubble my whole life--a bubble made of thick sugar glass that had me up against the edges desperately licking my way out.
Freedom tastes so sweet.

I'm equal parts terrified out of my mind about this experience, & (surprisingly) empowered. This is survival & .. I can do it! I officially leave tomorrow (January 16) for eight days. I'm not packing much to take on the trail, which makes me feel like less of an amateur. All I need are two changes of clothes, a few necessary toiletries, a fleece liner that adds an extra 50 degrees of warmth to my sleeping bag, & enough wool socks to last a lifetime. This lifestyle is all about the essentials: You take what you need, & you give more than you can.
For now, as uncomfortable as I may be, I'm playing things by ear & graciously accepting this lifestyle. I am strong & I am ready.

P.s. I will be lugging the extra weight of my camera on the trail. Just for you!

Update:  For my first project, I'm going to Camp Navajo, a front-country trip, for eight days. I will be working 10 hours a day. After the project, I have a six-day break before my next project. Wish me luck!


Monja said...

wow, everything looks great! xo

little henry lee said...

oh wow, this sounds like an incredible trip! that's so exciting for you, i hope everything goes well and you learn a lot! :)


Frenie Agbayani said...

These photos are stunning. I love that Women s cardigan sweater. It looks so comfty.

Victoria said...

awesome winter pics !

Winnie said...

You look incredible - that scarf looks so cosy!

Candyliquor said...

Love these photos!
so wintery <3
I want your hat

UK High Street Fashion & Style

Angel said...

I am in love with this, and your scarf!

Mancina said...

wonderful pic and you are lookin great!

new follower! =)

Liz said...

Your adventure sounds so exciting! You are incredibly brave to do this - stay warm!

Dannie said...

I loove that you still totally did iit despite the iceberg temp ;) Best cold weather look, dont melt the ice out there ;)

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Nava said...

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Ester DurĂ£es said...

wow such an amazing outfit! love your scarf :)

Drawing Dreaming

andy pratama said...

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Tania said...

This sounds amazing (even though it was a while ago). I love the pictures, I love your scarf, and you have very pretty lips. The adventure sounds very fun. I have a friend in Flagstaff and now I'm tempted to visit her. I'm from LA also so I've never experienced anything like this, haha.


ArizonaLove said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ArizonaLove said...

Flagstaff is awesome.. and I love your pics. I stayed at this Flagstaff vacation rental when was there and it was incredible! Cant wait to go back

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