I felt oddly sad leaving Texas. It took us just over 4 weeks to cross it and I remember at the time of crossing the state line from Louisiana that I would think back on this very day and wonder where it all went, or at least I hoped I would and that I certainly wouldn’t be back home in the UK having given up. It’s like anything you ever look back on, you remember bits of it but you forget most until someone else mentions it. I started off uneasy about Texas, I won’t lie. I’m not what you would call a natural to the way of life here but I found people to be lovely and kind and the things I worried about didn’t affect me as much. I had grown in confidence with my driving and greedily enjoyed the changing landscape along with he volume of peanut butter flavoured things. One of our last stops led us to a cafe in the middle of pretty much nowhere. The owner claimed to have something crazy like 120 acres of land and she liked it that way, as she told us ‘you can choose your neighbours’. I liked the idea of that, lots of land and away from people unless you chose otherwise. It had a very homely feel along with lots of trinkets and shiny things that caught my eye.I didn’t buy anything this time though, having little space and genuinely little need for most items that were being sold there. It was just a shame that the exquisite pair of red cowboy boots were too small (dang) but we had our lunch for free and I took a piece of peanut butter cake that was that big, it had Jenny leaning to one side when I placed it in our fridge. With much gratitude from my mouth and belly, we said our goodbyes to those lovely folk. Texas is a big state but I didn’t grow tired of it like we’d be warned we would. So yeah, I feel sad about saying goodbye but thankfully, we stepped (wheeled) straight into New Mexico.
I didn’t know what to expect, except perhaps, just very similar to what we had left, having entered this new state almost halfway across it already. The volume of running that Rob’s been managing each day, we learned that we would likely cross New Mexico within four days to be In Arizona. Not having any expectations and with how my mood had taken me the last few days, it has been the most pleasant and rewarding surprise. After much deliberation over which route to take, we decided on Highway 9, which runs very close to the Mexican border. Therefore, Border patrol are in very heavy presence here and just as you do, whenever the police are around, you feel unnecessarily guilty. The road though, was amazingly quiet and open; it made my travel along it very enjoyable and relaxed, having no-one behind me, hovering like an angry wasp, desperate to pass. Our final stop on the first night had us sat on a raised tarmac area facing Mexico, with huge mountains all around us. Rob had spoken with one of the Border Patrol guys about us just parking up overnight; both of us a little worried about the suspicious look of an RV so close to the border. He was more than happy for us to and even insisted that we get hold of any of them should we have any concerns. A good few more patrols took those guys way beyond where we parked, to keep a closer eye on the border all night. I know this beacause once we had settled in our spot for the night, a brilliant thunderstorm started and to my delight, after dinner, Rob suggested we turn off the lights to watch it in complete darkness. I didn’t need asking twice and I had many failed attempts at trying to catch a lightening strike on my phone camera. I also watched Border patrol cars doing their job along the border, multiple times. We seemed to have entered a period of strong winds and thunderstorms as we entered New Mexico and I actually really like it. The temperature’s dropped a little and I mostly wear my jogging bottoms and hoodie in the mornings which is a nice break from the constant heat, it’s still not cold but enough for me to feel all snuggled inside, with my cup of tea, staring out across the flat plains edged by the moutains; looking like a thick pile rug that’s bunched up at the edges. The wind, rushing busily across the landscape with that sound of a bleak winter and emptiness. I know that may sound perhaps a bit miserable but it’s beautiful. You suddenly have a moment where you realise just how wonderful this world is and how peaceful being alone can be. The scenery is a little like what you would find in Scotland and with the weather, it perhaps has made me feel like I’m home. Whatever it is, I don’t care but it has certainly made me contented. Just this morning I sat with my tea, gazing over a field backed by a mountain.
As I previously mentioned, my mood has totally suited my environment. I have been, I guess a little melancholic, not in a really sad way but in a way that my introverted self goes into. I’m very aware and fine with it. Melancholy is a normal and quite powerful emotion that we’re susceptible of and should embrace it, after all, there are no rainbows without the sun and rain. If possible, whenever I feel this way, I try to hide away from people; everyone if I can, by either walking some remote part of he country or being alone in a quiet place where I will listen to certain genres of music and maybe write some poetry, not for anyone to read but as a form of sharing my feelings. I strangely enjoy it but mostly because I don’t feel that way for long or very often and so I guess it’s just another way of being a bit self centred and nurturing yourself. It’s the mood I have mostly been in through New Mexico and it couldn’t be more perfect. For this perfect set up, I have chosen a guy called Ludovico Einaudi, a composer I discovered whilst watching the “This is England” series to listen to. His music is stunning and very provocative to emotions. I particularly like Waterways and Experience; give it a listen, you may like it and if not, there’s never any harm in checking it out; just be somewhere peaceful if you do though.
I have now had a decent chance to feel how life on the road feels, how we all dream it should be, with that perfect scenery of openess and emptiness of humans. It’s been hugely therapeutic and I feel it may be my go-to option in future, when I feel the need to escape for a little while. Get Ash (the VW Campervan) revved up and head off to some nearby Welsh or Yorkshire mountains, drink tea and reflect on life a little. Breath in the peace and beauty of Mother nature to refuel, yes, I would strongly recommend this to anyone, It’s soul food.
Slowly heading to the state border line that will take us into Arizona, eases me out of my self reflective mood into looking forward to our visitor for two weeks, joining us on our odd version of a road trip, Richard Beer. A long time friend of Rob’s and one I have stolen since our many visits to Glastonbury music festival. We have both been as excited as children on school holidays at the prospect of Beer joining us. It gives another angle to the trip; gives Rob someone else to (constantly) talk to and run with and I can enjoy the breaks in between his running with conversation about what you would do in a zombie apocalypse or discuss what time we should attempt ‘Baggy Mondays’ at Glastonbury next year. It’s just great having friends around and the offer is there for the taking should you fancy it?
So a very pleasant move through New Mexico with a mixture of my emotions making it so. I recommend it here and I think I’d like to visit here again for sure but with the knowledge of a move onto different scenery. It’s the changes in surroundings and company that have kept this interesting. One day I’ll be dreamily looking out at mountains and another will find me feeling tiny, walking through stacks of american lorries, lined up at a truck stop or I’ll be sat in a bar in a cowboy town drinking a Golden Ale with friends. I have always found myself wanting to come back to visit a place again and I think, that is always the best way to leave.