South Bound: 2 Weeks Under The Sun

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June went by in such a blink of an eye.. we only have one week left! I guess that is what happens when you spend half of it traveling from the mountains, through the desert, and straight to the very bottom of the sunshine state for a long, forget what day it is, kind of vacation. However, it wasn't supposed to be so much of a vacation at first. Kal and I had planned to try and revolve the tip around business but once we got on the road I think somewhere along the lines we both realized how much we needed to step back from work and technology for awhile to just clear our heads, enjoy the culture of the west coast, + each others company. And I couldn't be happier with the decision we made. 

 Below I have included a few different photo sets from my favorite parts of our trip with a little commentary on my thoughts of each location. Keep in mind I only documented about 30% of this trip.

UTAH, VEGAS, + SOMEWHERE IN THE DESERT 

"We can't stop here, this is bat country!"

Growing up in Montana (and really only vacationing to places with a similar cool climate) I had never truly experienced real desert atmosphere before- and nothing higher that 100 degree weather. Driving through the canyons of Nevada with their bright orange and red hues, seeing fat stubby cactus growing in their natural environment, and breathing in the hot air at every pit stop with 110°+ weather outside was a very interesting new experience. I have always had a love for the southwestern desert vibes, so finally getting to bask in it was wonderful (I will definitely keep my permanent residence in cooler weather though). I just kept imagining hoping on a vintage motorcycle and cruising through the vast land with the wind in my hair, a good pair of vintage shorts, and a lot of rock n' roll. I'll be back to achieve that goal.  

Now Vegas, that was really interesting- and honestly I wasn't digging it. As soon as we hit the final stretch of highway that would lead us to our stay in downtown Vegas I instantly felt sad with the amount of billboards and trash that lined the roads. Now before you go calling me out like, "Well that is in every city," I get that. I have been to almost every major city in the US, but as you get older you start to realize more of the bad than the good. There was a rather negative energy in the atmosphere that instantly brought my mood down. Personally, I just think that if you aren't 21, and even in my opinion rich to some extent why the hell would you want to spend your time in such a gross money pit? As we walked around the downtown area everywhere you walk (even indoors) you have to hold your breath to try and protect your lungs from the mass amount of cigarette smoke. Between the second hand smoke, the never ending cat calling, and hostile crowds I was ready to move on. I found myself in the middle of what is one of the biggest destination spots (and not to mention iconic) in the country feeling like a sheep who was being brainwashed by the horrible consumer culture. I know I'll end up back there one day, and I really hope it ends up being a better experience. 

Aside from the negatives of Vegas, I did enjoy some aspects. Especially about 10 miles South of downtown in the open desert where we visited artist Ugo Rondinone's art installation called 'Seven Magic Mountains.' The seven large, colorful structures that you most likely have seen all over Instagram are totally worth the stop if you are in the area. Plus no matter how many times you have seen other photos on social media of the popular spot- snagging some of your own is worth it.

CALIFORNIA: LA + SAN DIEGO 

"I love California. It has such a strong contribution to the history of culture, and popular culture. For better and worse, of course. Even the worst can be interesting to some degree sometimes for somebody creative." -Hedi Slimane

Arriving in California was a beautiful breath of fresh air. Unlike the uptight and negative energy of Vegas- LA (our first destination in the great sunshine state) was so much more laid back. And not to mention the drive from Vegas to LA was such a heavenly sight. The winding hills, endless abundance of yellow and purple wildflowers that lined the highway, and low clouds among a lingering sunset was to die for. We jammed to John Mayer as the sun set just before arriving at our stay just a few blocks from the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. 

We only had one night and one day to spend in LA before being bound to head to Disney and then down to San Diego. So Kal and I tried to fit in as much as we could with the time we had. The night of our arrival was spent wandering down Hollywood Boulevard doing your typical tourist things. It reminded me too much of Vegas again, so I wasn't overly thrilled, but I am glad I got to see things like the Walk of Fame, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and all of the other little iconic places within that area. The next day we drove all over the city- starting the morning off with some awesome doughnuts and a trip down Fairfax to visit all of the big name streetwear clothing stores (Supreme, Diamond, etc..).  From there we headed to downtown where we walked through the Arts District and had lunch at Urth Caffe (hands down the best food ever- highly recommend). We ended the night in Venice Beach where we basked in the West Coast/California beach culture before driving to Anaheim, where our hotel right outside of Disney was located.

I won't talk about Disney- because we all know what Disney is and how that goes. We had fun and I am glad I went so I don't have to go back anytime soon. After that adventure we traveled as far South as you can go in the US before hitting the border to San Diego. Our first night we had delicious Ramen and went on an adventure with my kickass cousin (@shaynabrody) who took us to some really awesome coastal spots. We swung on a rather sketchy swing hanging from a palm tree above the ocean (I even had some locals sliding in my DM's to find out where this Instagram worthy spot was), watched the sunset cliff side and ended with some unique organic shaved ice that was served frozen yogurt style at Happi Yeti. 

The remainder of our time in So-Cal we spent by the beach, exploring some of the unique local shops, and doing a few other touristy things. Make sure if you are in the area to check out one of the coolest coffee shops ever at Communal Coffee. Inside the coffee house you'll find the most aesthetically pleasing decor that is combined with a cute little florist shop that also sells the best gift-like items resembling a mini Urban Outfitters (natural beauty products like face masks, candles, and more). On the outside the seating is simple and modern with little succulents adorning each table- but get this: The shop is attached to a nursery specializing in succulents. We grabbed our drinks (I recommend the rose iced coffee and a lavender doughnut), and sat outside among the array of plants where we made friends with strangers who asked us to watch their dogs and truthfully, I instantly fell in love. The vibe of that environment was so uplifting and refreshing- I vote more of that and less of Starbucks.

Overall, the trip was incredible with much needed mind clearing time. I loved learning new things, embracing the local cultures, and spending time with great company. I hope that this trip experience will fuel my desire to visit (and overall travel) more often, and the knowledge I gained helps me on my path to creating a better and brighter future. 

Over 3,000 miles, 6 states, and a severe sunburn later (wear your sunscreen, kids) we are back in Butte feeling extra refreshed and inspired. 

Let me know in the comments what your Summer plans are! You'll find me under the sun and capturing more memories. 

Listen to my 'Here Comes The Sun' playlist on Spotify perfect for all of your sun filled adventures here.

Enjoy! Xx

-Kenna