A Technicolor Adventure: Salvation Mountain

As I spent last year trekking across America documenting travel, style & culture stories for my second book Wanderful, The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style, I often returned to the beaches of the Pacific Coast Highway, artistic hideaways in the Mojave & Sonoran deserts, and the California canyons.

Salvation Mountain Style

Traveling the cerulean blue surf breaks, experience the flora of the canyons & the wildly energetic art havens tucked way out in the desert gives me a soul connection I've only experienced in one other place (a few summers ago on a 4 month summer adventure in the Southern Coast of Spain - and that feeling reignites for me in SoCal).

Today I'm taking over the instagram page of Passport by Forbes - the journey begins on the Santa Barbara boardwalk and ends here, in Salvation Mountain. I trekked solo for 3 days, and ended this adventure with friends - celebrating the birthday party of a dear old friend from New Orleans.

Read more about traveling solo here - and come back over the next few weeks for photo tours of each destination I stopped in along the way. 

Airstream Dreams
Salvation Mountain Yay!
Salvation Mountain Dreaming

The rainbow-hued Salvation Mountain, built with adobe clay and painted with a half a million gallons of donated paint, is a favorite destination for aspiring artists and wandering off-grid types too.

I arrived into Joshua Tree for a night of birthday fun (i.e. a bit too much pink wine and lots of story telling as the sun fell over the monumental rock formations all around). The next morning I took the wheel of my friend's jeep, 4 friends (new and old) piled in, and we hit the road to Salvation Mountain. A few hours later.... south of Palm Spring, east of the resort ghost towns of the Salton Sea and through Slab City (a desolate RV filled village home to snowbirds and serious off-gridders) the five story high man-made structure was in view.

Take time to travel up the hand-painted yellow brick road to reach the summit and then explore the ingenious labyrinth of Technicolor caves below.

Salvation Mountain Summit
Salvation Mountain Road Trip

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

The photos of me were taken by my new artist friend Danielle Hein

My swimwuit, the Claudia by Solid and Striped was provided by The Suit Truck a swimwear boutique run out of a 1958 Chevy Apache. Follow along on their IG to find out where they'll be next. 

3 Tips for a Successful Solo Adventure

This feature has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BlueLizardSummer #CollectiveBias

After spending most of 2016 on a series of cross country road trips I knew it wouldn't take long before I hopped a plane, train or automobile to get back out there. I live for adventures that involve the great outdoors and while I truly wasn't intending to spend much of this summer traveling (I have a book release to prepare for! Ahhhh!) it was inevitable, I suppose, that the bug would bite at some point and I'd have to get out there.

Instagram Adventure in Topanga Canyon

One of the things that really occurred to me on last year's road trips was the meditative feelings that are often induced while solo traveling. I'm finding that more and more I'm making last minute plans to go out traveling alone. I'm not getting all Into The Wild on you guys, but honestly, it's a whole lot easier to plan when it's just you and the world. There's not too much coordination required and double honestly: I kind of like traveling alone even more so when I'm intending to document the experience ... the creativity arises differently when it's just me, the camera, and the sights and sounds of nature.

Desert Road Trip to Joshua Tree

A few weeks ago I decided to take one of these trips. I was already planning a visit to Los Angeles to see Ben play a few shows, and then in the meantime, a friend called and would be hosting a birthday party in Joshua Tree, so, well there in the middle of LA and Joshua Tree I'd have 3 days for solo trekking.

I rented a car, studied up on a route and with a plan of a day drive along the PCH followed by a day of canyon hiking and then a day of desert wandering I was ready to go. 

Vintage Desert Book

I've gotten pretty good at knowing what to pack and how to prepare (and I've shared a lot of that with you here), however, it's a bit different when going at it alone.

Before I took off on this particular trip I partnered up with Blue Lizard® Australian Sunscreen with the goal of sharing my tips to safely and successfully enjoy a solo adventure. Originally created in Australia, where sunscreen standards are the strictest in the world. Blue Lizard® is now made locally - right down the road in Johnson City, Tenn!

It's so incredibly important to take stock of your intended journey to best prepare and to create a plan in case of an emergency too. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Pack Maps & Guides, Charge Up and Inform Your Friends of Your Plans

It doesn't matter how experienced you are, out in the wild it's easy to get turned around. GPS and phone service is often non-existent so a paper map can be your best friend. Battery power can drain quickly (especially if you're using your phone GPS) so having a back up source is necessary too.

In regards to routes: there's all sorts of trail tracking websites that you can get recommendations from others that have gone before you. That's good to get some perspective on the landscapes (and the creatures) you'll be meeting along the way. Example: on this particular trip, while hiking Topanga Canyon I came face to face with a coyote for the first time... hi Wiley, don't take me out please. His presence was ominous however, I knew from what I'd read he likely wasn't very interested in me. And while you might be in the mood to go all Thoreau-rogue (and I highly recommend you do!) it's important that someone knows where to find you if you don't report in. A bee sting or a slip & fall might be nothing at home, but out in nature those things can make easy trekking difficult fast. 

Packing for a solo adventure

2. Protect Yourself, You Delicate Flower!

Conditions can change fast and you'll be glad you've got extra gear if the rain kicks up or the temperature drops at night. 

Here's a few things you should never travel without:

  • water, and lots of it (the recommendation is a gallon per day per person, however I always go with a bit more than that...) you never know when you'll need it to clean up with too, and if for some reason you stay out longer than planned extra water is the #1 necessity
  • extra cotton T-shirts and lots of layers (if you're hiking distances you'll sweat and you'll want cotton to wick away the moisture)
  • rain gear, and potentially mosquito repelling clothing or sprays (rain + heat is a mosquitos favorite condition!)
  • a sun hat, to keep yourself face protected, but also to keep critters from getting in your hair (yep, that's real) 
  • plenty of sunscreen, SPF-rated lip balm and sunglasses with UV protection
Topanga Canyon Instagram

3. Let the Creative Muse Flow

Okay, so now that we've talked about the practical things that will keep you healthy, and well alive...here's a few ways to invite in creativity while traveling alone. I (and so many others before me) find that time out in nature alone lends to brilliant creative moments. I always pack my cameras, extra polaroid film for quick moments, a journal and a favorite read. I'll bring some sort of mystical study materials, maybe a constellation map or the birth charts of my 3 closest friends... (when I get home I'll tell them all about the things I've learned about them!). 

And if I'm being super real... I pack a pretty vintage dress and take a few photos documenting me... in my element. Why not?! You'll always have the memories, of course, however, the photos make for lasting keepsakes too (and who doesn't want that instagram moment?). 


Blue Lizard Sunscreen

This partnership with Blue Lizard® (available at Walmart stores) gave me a renewed reminder of the importance of choosing the right sunscreen.

This one is pharmaceutical-grade, paraben-free, chemical-free and fragrance-free and made with the highest quality ingredients.

Blue Lizard® is ranked as one of the top sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Plus! the patented Smart Bottle™ changes color when exposed to harmful UV sunlight, giving you a good reminder to re-apply when the bottle color changes! 

 

 

 

I'll be back again soon with more details on that solo journey. If you haven't yet been to Joshua Tree, it's my second trip this year and I'm kind of obsessed... Salvation Mountain and Santa Barbara were on this route too. More to come and thanks for following along my wanderful babes!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

 

Spirit Guiding Your Way to the Best Fest Ever: Bonnaroo Recap

Hi loves! I'm barely a week out of the wildness of Bonnaroo and it was one of those somewhere over the rainbow, traveling to the north star and back, 100 trips around the sun types of experiences.

Festival Dancing in Fringe

I could write for days on end about the feelings, the music, the friendship and the food we experienced.... however here today I've got three things to share with you. 

1. How to get in the mood for a festival of this size.

2. How to spirit guide yourself into the best style & beauty choices for a festival weekend.

3. My top picks of the weekend in regards to bands, pop-up shops and food!

Sound good? Let's go.

Beach Balls in the Sky
Camping at Bonnaroo

Getting in the Mood

1. Focus on the possibilities to come: to be honest if I was an impatient person a festival of this size could be daunting... the first day will require you to navigate traffic, figure out parking, sort out gate entries, and learn the grounds... however keep in mind that every moment is an opportunity to experience something new. I traveled to Bonnaroo with my little sister, and lucky for me, she'd been several times before... so good news! She knew how to navigate our way around as we finally got settled on day 1. We sorted through the waves of people and settled in ready to take the weekend in stride. 

2. Be Present: There is so much good music, yes - but a festival like this will give you time to connect with your friends (new and old) on a completely different level. I checked my iPhone health meter and we were literally walking 8-10 miles everyday... journeying from stage to stage, to the campgrounds and back... and with that sort of time you can really bestow some heartfelt attention on your traveling partners. Michelle and I were able to connect on so many things during that time, I think it's truly one of the reasons I love festivals the most. 

3. Find a thrill in curiosity: If I only saw the bands I knew when I arrived at Bonnaroo I would have missed so much. On the first night we saw Mondo Cosmo... why? I had never heard of them, but the name sounded right up my alley (hi "cosmo") so we went and it was a blast. The last day Ben joined us and recommended a UK band Royal Blood... again, never would have thought of it, but watching the wild 90's style mosh pit that formed at 2 pm (from a safe distance) was a bit of a thrill!

Sequin Jacket Sunset

Spirit Guide Your Style

I am girl that dresses myself the same way I did when I dressed in costume as a child. There were a few mornings that I wondered... is this too much? However, here's my thoughts when it comes to festival style.

1. Be your boldest you: Well, first start with a comfortably stylish shoe and then move forward. There's not many times on a given week that you'll feel comfortable donning loads of patchesfringesequins and twirly dresses.... or dying your hair shades of highlighter yellow (which I did the night before) ~ however, this IS a time to be bold. I honestly pursue getting dressed in the morning for me and me only, and I highly recommend taking that approach too... so if you're your boldest you on the festival grounds you'll surely get more comfortable being that in regular life too. 

2. Let it breathe: while being bold is one thing, keeping your skin happy and healthy goes along with it. I chose light weight dresses and cotton patterned sets and layers and layers so as the cold air set in at night I'd be able to warm up. Quality fabrics will allow your skin to breathe and you'll feel better for it. 

3. Channel your inner dancing queen: I truly danced the days away every.single.day. When I was little I was certain I'd be a dancer on one of those 80's TV shows... Solid Gold anyone? So put your hair up, slather on the glitter and make the festival grounds your own personal dance floor. 

Back that Jazz Up Festival Dancing

Top Picks of the Weekend

1. Favorite shows: Mannnnn, this is a hard one - there was so much good stuff! However, here's a few acts that I was MIND BLOWN 💥 by: 

Crystal Castles (for their punked out ghostly insaneness), Glass Animals (hiiiii that's me twirling madly way down front), Tegan & Sara (yep, me again down there), The XX (the interaction on stage is sheer magic), & Aaron Lee Tasjan (best dressed, best guitar shred and the best of Nashville for sure).

2. Best pop up shops: Mamie Ruth! I stopped by everyday for glitter freckles and new wardrobe.

3. Best food: Subway. Every day at 4:30 we ventured back to the Subway Greenroom (they literally built an entire store including a stage for acoustic sets on the fest grounds). We ate red pepper hummus wraps (soooo much better than overpriced fest pizza), an awesome vegetarian option and dudeeees it was free - to everyone.

Sun Flair Sun Dress

I truly can't thank you guys enough for following along on my festival adventures. As the music loving girl that I am, these trips have been so incredibly special. So as the sunsets on Bonnaroo, I promise to be back again with more of these to come!

Stage at Bonnaroo

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

This fest season I've been so incredibly fortunate to be invited by Subway to hit the road with them to attend a few of the top music festivals across the country. I shared my 10 Things to Stay Cool at Summer Fests' list right before taking off for Hangout, and I'm happy to report back that my packing list served me well. This post was a paid partnership. 


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