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Moments & Mirages

High and Dry: Stranded in the Mojave

USA | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [186] | Scholarship Entry

There were no bangs, no rattling, nor clouds of smoke, but when the RV rolled to a halt of its own volition, there was no mistaking it - we were broken down. My boyfriend and I were still within the first leg of our circuitous journey of the Western US. Our plans included ventures to places as varied as Old Town Albuquerque and the San Francisco Bay; but one thing we certainly hadn't accounted for was becoming deserted in a desert. Nonetheless, there we were in the middle of the Mojave, the temperature already climbing to 115 °F. The first half hour consisted of sunburns and phone calls, but once the initial anxiety passed, a calm began to settle. I began to see the desert as it truly was. Though I was miles into it, I felt as if I didn't truly notice it until I took the time to look. Behind us lay the spectacular chasms and subtle earth-toned palette of the Grand Canyon, and in our future the dazzling, innovative labyrinth of Los Angeles beckoned. However, in the moment, I was a traveler in the middle of the Mojave Desert; a pair of wandering eyes that was fortunate enough to land upon what very few modern humans get the chance to witness. True stillness.
The Mojave is a harsh and unforgiving climate with the lowest biodiversity in the country. That being said, it is also a peaceful one. In the absence of the constant technological bombardment that accompanies our normal lives, the universe enters to fill the void. The Mojave is a beautiful location. Wind combined with differences in coloration leave subtle patterns worked across the sand. The sky is a vast cerulean expanse, unmarred by the smog and light pollution that taint urban populations. Even the plant and animal life enriches the intricate tableau. Though there are few of them, they alone are strong enough to survive, and them with an innate beauty.
So though I had not planned on the extra hours we spent alone in the desert, it is not an experience I would trade. I was neither at point A nor B. Rather, I was just a traveller living within a singular moment in the intangible interim. I believe that the passion for these moments is something all travellers share. Our lives are but flashes in the eternal expanse of time; but we want to seize the fleeting time we have and see all of the multifaceted beauty this world has to offer.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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