Travel Diary: Joshua Tree | A Metaphysical Adventure

The journey to the metaphysical mecca of Joshua Tree, deep in the Mojave desert is a spiritual one. There’s a connectedness and a solitary easeful feeling that arises passing through those gnarled trees that give this area its name. 

Joshua Tree At Night
On the road from Joshua Tree | Oui We
Joshua Tree at Sunset Oui We Girl

To get prepared for any adventure I like to get the vibe going at home first. I have my own little bohemian traveler library and there's a full list in my book for every single chapter and destination. I've pulled a few favorites from the "Way Out West" chapter to get you in the desert head space!

Movies to watch: Stones For Ibarra (1988), Lo Sound Desert (2015), Bagdad Cafe (1987), Young Guns (1988), Tiger Eyes (Judy Blume), The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Books to read: Wind, Sand and Stars (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Joshua Tree (Rudy Vanderlans), A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit), Desert Solitaire (Edward Abbey), Complete Astrology: The Classic Guide to Modern Astrology (Alan Oken)

Bands to set the tone: U2, Queens of the Stone Age, Emmy Lou Harris, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Best Coast, Wavves, Eagles of Death Metal


Joshua Tree Airbnb
Joshua Tree | Oui We
Joshua Tree | Oui We
Joshua Tree | Oui We

Painters, writers, poets and musicians have been making the pilgrimage to Joshua Tree for decades. John Lennon famously recorded “Imagine” and Come Together” from The Joshua Tree Tapes here. There’s a love story to enlightenment transcending from these rare landscapes.  

There’s a ghost of melancholy romance in the atmosphere.

Gram Parsons of the Byrds and the Rolling Stones, who died suddenly in room Number Eight at the Joshua Tree Inn, spent time there. He had a deep chemistry with Emmy Lou Harris - and while the two never quite solidified their love affair, the cosmic cowboy sound they created is reflective of the electricity between them. Outlaw artists of the early 70’s went for wide open spaces, psychedelic enlightenment, in an outpost surrounded by monumental rock formations, mojave yucca, juniper and sage. 

Joshua Tree at Sunset
Andi Eaton | Joshua Tree

What to pack for a trip to Joshua Tree

The Joshua Tree girl hangs with friends channeling the proper 70s-era rocker. She dresses in glamorous maxi gowns or in leather, fringe and concert tees. In Joshua tree she blooms. She’s a delicate cactus flower, stylish by nature mixing high end designer finds with hand-me-downs vintage beauties from her grandmother’s closet. 

Where to stay 

There’s so many Airbnb options, from tree houses to homestead cabins each offering a unique experience and a shift in perspective. On my most recent visit we chose the Cozy Dezert Retreat - for less than about $100/night there's 2 bedrooms, an outdoor firepit, jacuzzi tub and scenic views abound.

Another (super instagrammable option) is the Dome in the Desert. An 80’s era geodesic dome, stocked with books on palm reading and fortune telling and all sorts of knick knacks you’ll want to find for your house back home. Light up the palo santo here and allow your inner creativity to be unhinged.

Joshua Tree Sunset

Can't Miss Joshua Tree:

FOR THE SPIRITUALIST: Schedule a visit to the Integratron for a chakra alignment and sound bath. The Integratron is an energy machine built on a geomagnetic vortex in Landers, California, twenty miles north of Joshua Tree. According to the creator, the wooden dome was built utilizing the design of Moses’s Tabernacle, the writings of Nikola Tesla, and telepathic directions from extraterrestrials. Mmmhm, not quite sure who ET contacted but interesting right?!

According to the website, “The structure is designed to be an electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.” You’ll float out the door afterward.

FOR THE FASHIONISTA: Throughout Joshua Tree and the neighboring Yucca Valley are several boutiques and bohemian-chic vintage shops. Ricochet Vintage Wears (packed with groovy printed frocks), the End (curated by a Hollywood costume designer), Hoof & the Horn (full of Americana styles), Funky & Darn Near New (for leather, fringe, and cowboy boots), and Trailer Trash (stocked with handmade art, clothing, and music memorabilia) are all worth an afternoon of deep rack diving. 

FOR THE MUSIC LOVER: Ease into Joshua Tree local life at the Joshua Tree Saloon for karaoke under a disco ball. Give the crowd your best Jagger and settle in for a night of cheap beer and deep conversations.

It's not a full trip without a visit to Pappy & Harriet's Pioneer Palace, so make sure to put it on your list. Standing on the site of an Old West Frontier Town movie set built by Hollywood investors including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers this place is a roadside dream. Known for its’ mesquite barbecue and mac and cheese Pappy & Harriet’s offers raucous good times and intimate music shows with bands like Best Coast, Vampire Weekend and the Pixies.

Joshua Tree Sunset

As you leave Joshua Tree, gaze up into the ethereal California sky, feel the heaviness of the air, and take off into the dreamscape, knowing you’ll never forget the out-of-body experience this whole trip has been. 

I can't wait to see what you find on your own adventures. Be sure to tag #AWanderfulLife so we can all follow along together.

Wanderfully yours,

Andi


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Andi Eaton

Andi Eaton is a creative director, author, entrepreneur, and cultural influencer in a variety of media. She produces Oui We (ouiwegirl.com) the modern bohemian's guide to everything from travel and style to beauty and holistic wellness. Andi and her projects have been featured on Domino, Glitter Guide, A Beautiful Mess, Southern Living, SELF, Hello Giggles, Refinery 29, WWD, Elle Canada and more; in 2017 she wrapped a year of road tripping throughout the U.S. photographing and documenting travel, style and culture stories available in her new book: "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style".

Photo Preview: Wanderful! Route 66 and The Western Deserts

We're a day away from the "Wanderful" release! I'm over here with the biggest butterflies ever. I promised final previews of the remaining chapters. So here we go!

Chapter 5 is Route 66 and 6 is the western deserts of White Sands and Joshua Tree! I'll share the final three chapters next (featuring New Orleans, Savannah, Nashville and my favorite little towns in Montana) and if I haven't convinced you yet to get that pre-ordered copy or hit your local bookshop I don't know what will! 😉  Photos for these two chapters were shot by Allister, Keiko and Ben shot much of the desert chapter too (Allister's are the Route 66 chapter and the first one in the Desert chapter, Keiko shot the photo of Allister and then Ben's photos are the last 3 here!) 

Much love for riding this wave with me, celebration commences tomorrow!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

Route 66

Way Out West

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Andi Eaton

Andi Eaton is a creative director, author, entrepreneur, and cultural influencer in a variety of media. She produces Oui We (ouiwegirl.com) the modern bohemian's guide to everything from travel and style to beauty and holistic wellness. Andi and her projects have been featured on Domino, Glitter Guide, A Beautiful Mess, Southern Living, SELF, Hello Giggles, Refinery 29, WWD, Elle Canada and more; in 2017 she wrapped a year of road tripping throughout the U.S. photographing and documenting travel, style and culture stories available in her new book: "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style".

3 Tips for a Successful Solo Adventure

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.

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
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!
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?). 


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

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

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Andi Eaton

Andi Eaton is a creative director, author, entrepreneur, and cultural influencer in a variety of media. She produces Oui We (ouiwegirl.com) the modern bohemian's guide to everything from travel and style to beauty and holistic wellness. Andi and her projects have been featured on Domino, Glitter Guide, A Beautiful Mess, Southern Living, SELF, Hello Giggles, Refinery 29, WWD, Elle Canada and more; in 2017 she wrapped a year of road tripping throughout the U.S. photographing and documenting travel, style and culture stories available in her new book: "Wanderful: The Modern Bohemian's Guide to Traveling in Style".

National Park Weekend With Free People

What is life? The flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
— Blackfoot
JOSHUA TREE X OUI WE.jpg

Over the last 12 months I've had the tremendous opportunity to travel to 8 National Parks, 5 National Forests and countless other local and state parks. Every time I take off for an off the beaten path outdoor adventure I think of winding dirt roads and buffalo roaming freely juxtaposed against beautiful girls with easels painting wildflowers and ravens circling overhead. 

Joshua Tree Cactus x Oui We
Joshua Tree x Oui We 2

The National Park experience can range from blistering heat in the summers to stark white cold in the winter, sprawling across ecosystems, from the dramatically high peaks, ancient desert badlands, old-growth lush rainforests and wildly rugged coasts. At each of the parks I’ve experienced (the full list is at the end of this post) the visitor centers always offers fantastic itineraries for day visit and overnight stays.

This weekend is weekend #2 of the National Park free weekend, so to celebrate I've got a quick run down of a few need to knows that will help you plan a dynamite experience in preparation for the great outdoors!

Before we get to that, however, a note about the park program, it's current funding situation and a way you can help!

Our National Parks are currently facing extreme budget cuts, there are 84 million acres of National Park land at stake. In honor of National Park Week (through April 24) Free People has created three vintage-inspired tees that represent three of the most traveled National Parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone and Joshua Tree. They're $68 and a portion of each sale will be donated to the National Parks Foundation. 

I've always been a fan of the brand and now I'm like 🏞  💕 🙋🏼  seriously high fiving them for taking on this initiative. Get your hands on one of the tees to donate to the Park Foundation (and to represent your park love all year round).

You can shop the tees directly here:

Each purchase of Free People's National Park tees will contribute to their donation of $50,000 to the National Parks Foundation. See the full lookbook to get totally outdoor inspired. 

So next up! Here's a few things to keep in consideration before you venture out this weekend:

Hours and Seasons:

The National Parks are open year-round, however, which parts of the parks you can access varies with the season. Depending on where you're traveling to and what the weather conditions have been - all roads aren't always open. Take a read back through my post on making out of the desert alive for a little reminder on how significantly a little bit of rain can impact a seemingly easy off road adventure.

Even if all the roads are opened, not all the trails will be open. When we visited Glacier National Park last May many trails were still snow covered, some were closed for grizzly sightings and others had avalanche conditions - including the Going to the Sun Road (one of the highlights of the park).   

Always call or stop into the visitors center to get current information about what's happening out on the park roads. You'll have a beautiful time no matter, but safety is always first!

Camping, Lodging, and Where to Stay: 

There's typically so many options for camping, or parking an RV, however, if you haven't planned in advance you'll need to get a game plan before making your way out, don't assume you can just pitch a tent and crash. Often camp sites are first come first serve, and I'll tell you, one late night as I Ben and I drove along the primitive roads of Big Bend we came across campsites wayyyyy out.

There's no way I would have wanted to stay where rattlesnakes and scorpions make their home and I don't watch movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre for a reason. We typically Airbnb or stay in roadside lodges in nearby towns, however even these can fill up quickly on weekends like this one. If you're braver than me check in early to get dibs on a campsite; and - if you'll be spending your day hiking make sure you remember how to get back to your tent, things can look very different after dark. 

What to Pack

I shared this list before in my Glamping Essentials post however, it's a good one I think so here it is again:

Tent, sleeping bag and pillows (or an air mattress and an SUV) - unless you're traveling in an RV, of course or staying in an Airbnb or lodge

Bug Spray, Bear Spray (yep, that's a real thing) and a Traveling First Aid Kit

Jugs of Water (lots of it)

Sunscreen (I can't stress it enough, you need it even when you're not swimming or in direct light!)

Bathing Suits (I like to pack a one piece and a two piece, the one piece can double as a top when worn under skirts or shorts)

Layers of Clothes (hot days transition to cold nights)

Baby or Makeup Wipes (there isn't always water for washing your face at night)

Your Favorite Read (I like to pick up used books on the road too)

A Journal and a Pen

Travel Beauty Products (just the basics!)

Snacks and Organic Canned Foods (things that wont spoil)

Solar Powered Chargers and a Portable Record Player (there's nothing better than old records under the stars!)


I'll close with a few of my favorite photos from our journey across the park system. Over the course of the year we visited Big Bend, White Sands, Zion, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Joshua Tree. The National Forests we spent time in: Los Padres, Santa Fe, Gallatin, Shadow Mountain and Arapaho. Whew, I'm having such nostalgia just thinking about it! So much of these adventures are covered in my coming book! Be sure to pre-order you guys!

Grand Canyon at Sunset

Grand Canyon at Sunset

Yellowstone Geiser
Yellowstone afternoons

Yellowstone afternoons

Driving in to Big Bend

Driving in to Big Bend

White Sands

White Sands

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

I hope this list is useful and I'd love to see your National Park photos! Share with me where you'll be going in the comments and tag #OuiLoveParks to share your park photos!

Wanderfully yours,

Andi

All photos were shot by Ben (the landscape shots from the parks are all 35 mm).