I discovered the beauty of travel at a very young age. I took my first flight alone with my little brother at five years old, who was three, to Pittsburgh, PA. As I sat in first class with my little legs crossed with itchy black tights, I knew that traveling would take me places. I discovered a way to learn, explore and discover new things. Now as an adult, a million years later, I still enjoy traveling. Airplane. Train. Car ---any form of transportation except BOAT--- I'll do. A few weeks ago, I flew to L.A. and took a road trip back because I wanted to say "I traveled across the western part of the United States by car". Here's my experience in photos and a few road trip tips.
It's been years since I last went out to Los Angeles. I was 14 years old with my family and we like many families did the whole tourist thing. This time around, I wanted to see Los Angeles in a different light.
Now as an adult, anytime I travel to a new city I go the off beat path. I go where the locals go, eat where the locals eat, and shop where the locals shop. Those experiences allow you to feel the pulse of the city. Essentially, the people ARE the city. Thankfully, my personal tour guide was a local Los Angelian, who loved doing the same things I do--my boyfriend Daniel. I can't tell you how much more pleasureable it makes the trip by traveling with someone who has the same likes. Oh and I'll get to the mini road trip travel tips in a few scrolls.
As soon as my plane landed, Daniel took me to eat at King Taco in Inglewood. It's one of his favorite restaurants. While in Memphis, he kept talking about how much he missed tacos & sopes at King Taco. So, I had to see if he was just fluffing or was it really worth a flight out. As we continue, Yes, I went to Los Angeles just to eat and ride back home with him. IT WAS THE BOMB! Now, I completely understand why so many people were lined up at 9pm just to eat a taco.
While driving through Inglewood to visit Daniel's family, I noticed a bunch of men lined up at el elotero (that's a food bike) laughing, having a good time and patiently waiting to get food from this bike. I like a kid whined to get out of the car and get a "snack". Oh my, the Duritos were so crunchy and full of flavor. The E L O T E!!!!!!! I didn't want my time to end with it. It was corn on the cob with cheese, mayonnaise and butter. I just knew the 10 lbs I packed on were worth every single bite.
Our last night in Los Angeles was coming to an end and Daniel was very happy to take me to his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. He said with pride that it was a more "upscale" lol Mexican restaurant. Like I CARED! I really more so enjoyed seeing cactus up close and personal in their natural habitat in front of businesses. You know I had to snap a pic or two.
Little did I know, one of my best meals, molcajete, I would be eating sauteed cactus. Please don't knock it before you try it. I was also serenaded by my sweet beau by a trio musical. How thoughtful of him??
Now the reason, why we are here! I wanted to knock something off of my bucket list this year. TRAVEL ACROSS THE WESTERN PART OF THE UNITED STATES BY CAR. Before, I left Memphis I charted on my map, 7 states I would be able to visit. California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, then Tennessee. Now, you know I had to take plenty of pictures. Traveling by car for 28 hours gives you more than enough time to take as many pictures and breaks to stop at state signs as possible.
HERE ARE MY ROAD TRIP TRAVEL TIPS
+ DON'T RUSH
You may only have one opportunity to travel to the destination. Take your time if it permits to soak everything in from that area. The landscape was so important for me to capture on this trip. I had never seen volcanic rocks, deserts, Indian reservations or anything local to the area. I'm so glad Daniel took his time and allowed me to really indulge in everything, not just food.
+ ASK LOCAL QUESTIONS
I love storytelling!!! I believe every city has a soul and whisperers that tell its story. We stopped into a local Navajo Indian store somewhere on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. I was able to see petrified wood up close and personal. Daniel picked up a handmade Navajo rug that reminded him of home in Mexico. I was more so moved by stories of natural healing and plants that are local to the area. I would not get those stories had I not just asked a simple question, "What is this?".
+DON'T DO ANYTHING YOU WOULD NORMALLY DO AT HOME
I'm pretty sure my readers are all pretty clear on why. You are traveling to explore and discover something new. Do not go to the Red Lobster and Los Angeles and think you will get an authentic experience. Pick up a local newspaper or magazine and flip through and find a new restaurant or new museum to visit. It would be such a waste of time to do the same thing you normally do at home.
+ JOURNAL AND PRINT YOUR PHOTOS
I know this may seem old school and know one does it anymore. However, I suggest journaling while traveling. You see so many things and your senses are stimulated by new smells and architecture. I found it relaxing to just write and journal while I was in the passenger seat. I can look by years from now and have those memories to savor. Go into Walgreens or CVS and print your images and place them in a photo album. It's nostalgic and trust me when I say that you'll cherish them.
After 28 hours in the car, pit stops at restaurants, singing Beyonce to the top of my lungs, sleep--sleeping in the car, sleeping at rest stations and enjoying each other without any distractions, we were now in back in Tennessee. We created memories that I hope last a lifetime and I checked off one more thing on my bucket list.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ROAD TRIPS PLANNED? I'd love to hear where you are going.