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  • Lauren LaRocca

Sandia Mountains



I arrived in Albuquerque two weeks ago to stay with Maryann, the artist from Frederick who had hosted me as I was venturing west. Nothing about going east felt right, ever since I left the Pacific Coast, so I gave in to my intuition who seemed to be shouting at me, “Go back to New Mexico!” And I came back to New Mexico.


It took a good week to readjust to being stationary—not having to set up camp every night, no more looking for public restrooms or wifi or places to fill water jugs. There was a bed that I could temporarily call my own. A place to work. A place to catch up on life.


It might not come as a surprise from those looking in on my life, but it was an unusual feeling for me when, after only a few days—four? five?—I began to feel restless in a way I never have before. It was not the usual feeling of being too sedentary, this was about being stationary rather than moving through the world at rapid pace. It was the beginning of the readjustment period, where my body was no longer getting the sunlight and exercise that it had been, where it was suddenly tired by inactivity, junked up by social media and pop culture, fried by sitting at my laptop day and night to hit deadlines.


Around the 10-day mark, I felt utterly depressed, despite being in the very place I’d longed to be. The lack of stimulation was so great, my whole body was fatigued and went into some kind of spiritual coma.


I had the urge to jump back on the road as quickly as possible, but I had work to do. I need to be here. So I had to relearn how to feed my soul in a totally different environment and under totally new circumstances.


I raised money to buy a guitar, one of the most soul-nourishing things I could do. I began taking daytime and nighttime walks around the neighborhood. I found a theater that screens arthouse films and was able to see “Marianne and Leonard,” which I’d been dying to see for months. I found a park only 10 minutes from here, where I can sit at a picnic table and do my work against the Sandia Mountains behind me, a range that I’ve fallen in love with. And the rain. When it rains here, it’s an event. They call it monsoon season. For this dry earth, that’s not an exaggeration. They are wild and swift and pound hard rain. Tonight there were flash flood warnings, which seems surreal for a place like this.


As always, I’m finding the balance. I might not be moving so quickly, but this downtime was needed. Last night, I went to Taos for my birthday to see the Paseo arts festival. For anyone who knows me, I’ve been a longtime insomniac and am lucky if I nap once a year. But by the time I got back to Albuquerque today, I walked into the house, took off my boots, and immediately fell asleep for three hours. Sometimes your body will balance things out for you.



  • Lauren LaRocca

The buddha who's sat on my dashboard for many adventures.





MILES TRAVELED: 12,170



GAS MONEY: $907 (hybrid)



POSTCARDS SENT: 71



NATURAL WORLD:

coyotes

black bear

luna moth

atlantic ocean

lizards

yarrow

meteorites

double rainbows

pink full moon over the ocean

waterfalls

snakes

white-tailed deer

wild roses + rosehips

quartz crystals

air plants

rosemary mint

sagebrush

road runner

tumbleweed

ravens

bird of paradise

desert’s white sand dunes

juniper

hot springs

rufous hummingbirds

mule deer

saguaro cactus

ocotillo

creosote

ancient sequoias

pacific ocean

"yosemite granite"

eucalyptus

cannabis

black-tailed deer

seals

green slug

fins at orcas island (unidentified)

agate

old-growth douglas fir

old-growth cypress

bison

antelope

elk

grizzly bears (!)

geysers

red fox

pronghorn

moose



NATIONAL PARKS:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Smoky Mountains National Park

White Sands National Monument

Saguaro National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Sequoia National Park

King’s Canyon National Park

Yosemite National Park

Mount Shasta

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park



DOGS BEFRIENDED:

Golda

Spirit

Zinnia

Caesar

Hope

Hobbes

Olive

Tally

Freckles

Lucy

Kobe

Bowser



ROAD PLAYLIST:

“Ain’t Gonna Happen” —Born Cages

“Hey, Ma” —Bon Iver

“Man in the Mirror” —Michael Jackson

“Quicksand” —Wildlight

“Something Good Is Going to Happen” —Kate Bush

“Bones” —NAVA

“Soft Universe” —Aurora

“Release” —Pearl Jam

“Ailleurs” —Grand Blanc

“Apple Tree” —Aurora

“See yourself” —Moreton

“Wild Goose Chase” —Dark Dark Dark


… and Greta Van Fleet in the Outer Banks

Carla Morrison in New Mexico

The Raveonettes through the desert

Lana Del Rey in Southern California




  • Lauren LaRocca

My travels made a heart.


As some of you may know, I got incredibly behind on these blogs. Despite all the journaling, note-taking, photographing, and otherwise documenting my travels over the past four months, I have not had enough time on a consistent basis to continue posting as quickly as I was moving through each experience (my brain is still processing everything, too). In real time, I have since moved through Oregon, the San Juan Islands of Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and back to New Mexico. For the next month or so, I’ll be catching up on all my paid gigs and working on a book or two. Suffice it to say, this blog is temporarily on hiatus while I do so.



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