Into the Idyllwild

I've been thinking a lot about change. 

About one year ago, Valentine's Day, I was driving away from Tyler, Texas to stay with a woman named Maggie who lived a few hours outside of Memphis. I drove eating a chocolate cookie dough blizzard (!!!) and drinking a chocolate coconut water(!!!!!!!), and making a pit stop to pick up Maggie a box of Russell Stover chocolates (!!!!!!!!!).  It was 70 and sunny, and the hop from Texas into Tennessee was as simple as a game of hopscotch. 

I remember feeling older that morning. I'm not sure why. It could have been the chocolate, or the oxytocin, or the rush from completing my first solo drive. Maybe it was because I had decided to quit my job and move to California two weeks later, and so I was feeling grown up and brave.  Whatever the reason, I remember gripping the steering wheel and looking at the road and thinking that life could be a playground if I let be. The highways could go anywhere; they could lead to anything. 

There's been a great deal of change since I made that drive. As a human with a type-A, list-loving personality, I sometimes find this hard to embrace. I like to make plans and stick with them, but that's certainly not often the way things work. Some of the best things in life (road trips and ice cream trucks) are spontaneous. 

Said spontaneity led me to Banning, California last weekend. I'd be staying with my new friend Marta, a woman who ran a business with her late husband operating the concessions at Renn Faires across the country, and her friend Amin, 25-year-old San Diego-an who likes to climb mountains.  Marta's cooking skills are beyond medieval, and when I arrived she welcomed me with the freshest and chunkiest homemade guacamole and Rosé.  For dinner, we had carrots and sweet potatoes in a tangy yogurt sauce and a chicken bathed in Indian spices. The meal was consumed around the living room table, surrounded by purple pillows, waves of incense, and 90s country music. 

A mere 45 minutes away from Banning stands Idyllwild, a town high up in the mountains and clustered with coniferous trees. Amin and I went up there the next day to explore the nature and hear a biker play the electric guitar. Along with the tourists and venturing biker gangs from Temecula, Idyllwild offers a handful of ice cream shops, restaurants, and places to buy beads and crystals. It reminded me of Sedona, but greener and closer to the clouds. Amin, a self-proclaimed "dark sky chaser" pointed out Yosemite and Big Bear from an especially high point in Idyllwild. It's pretty cool that you can see parts of California MILES AWAY from other parts of California. I still can't get over this. 

I left the Banning and Idyllwild, tanned, sweaty and accidentally laptop-less. When I realized my mistake upon returning home, I slapped my forehead and went "UGH." My plans for the evening and the next day flushed down the toilet, as I had another road trip to make, this one even more spontaneous than the first. Luckily, my friend Rachel is always down for a romp in the desert, especially if said romp involves attic exploration and roadside ice cream. 

Changes over the last month have been minor, such as "shoot, I can't complete any of these tasks because I need to go back and get my laptop" to more major ones like "okay, how is my rent going to get paid." And in the midst of a batch of crazy twists and turns, these changes have been the one thing I can guarantee. While some of them feel torturous in the moment, I've found that allowing them welcomes in a plethora of unexpected delights. My plans for last Monday didn't involve a return to Marta's or listening to Bob Marley with Rachel's feet on the dash, but they did. How lucky.

So cheers to another year of "who the f%& knows what will happen a year from now?" I can plan on that. 

Photos by myself and Rachel Tenenbaum //

-stay cozy