Last time around this year I was preparing for the trip of a lifetime. I had recently resigned from my position of 5 years and had planned this elaborate three week solo Asian excursion. It was a much needed trip after dealing with a beyond stressful job and relationship. I just had to escape to re-center myself and regain the mental strength I needed to start my new year off on the right foot. While across the world, I had the opportunity to bathe elephants, eat amazing food, pamper myself, pet a tiger and swim in the most known infinity pool and hotel in the world. Little did I know that that trip to Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore would be my last international trip for at least another year. Last December prepared me for more than I could have ever expected to happen in a matter of the next 365 days. The enlightenment I gained on my previous December trip also provided clarity on the importance of self time and care. When I arrived back to the States safely, I decided to make my own holiday tradition. I would go somewhere every December by myself to ready for the next year to come.
A few months ago I requested my time off for December thinking it’ll definitely be safe to travel somewhere by then. As my vacation time grew near and the pandemic got worse I slowly begin crossing possible travel destinations off my mental list. By November I knew that wherever I decided to go I didn’t want to depend on air travel. I also did not want to consider quarantining for 14 days or worse illness on my trip because of exposure. My travel list got smaller and smaller until it eventually dwindled down to nothing. There was no way I was to going to spend my week off at home after working from home for the majority of the year. Where was I going to go? Then I thought to myself, “you live in California. There are plenty of places to go and feel like you’re on the other side of world.” In the back of my mind I had always wanted to visit Joshua Tree, CA. I had read about it multiple times in several travel blogs and magazines. I finally decided to give Joshua Tree my time and attention. I booked my AirBnB and started researching how I was going to spend my little window of time. In the few days I was able to spend in Joshua Tree, I loved every bit of it! It was the perfect escape that I needed to accomplish my mission. You can read about the highlights of my trip below.
Where I stayed: I stayed at the cutest and quaint AirBnB located in the city of Joshua Tree, CA. Joshua Tree is definitely as small and secluded as it seems. My country dwelling was literally located on a back dirt road, so all-wheel drive is recommended. I appreciated the tranquility of being in the middle of nowhere and the silence and peace that accompanied it. I honestly have never seen as many stars at night as I did in Joshua Tree. This house was great because it had all the necessary amenities and then some. I truly took advantage of not only the full kitchen and the fireplace but also the hot tub, the fire pit and barbecue outside. I loved all the huge windows in the home that let in all the natural sunlight in the morning. Although secluded this house is in a prime location. The Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum is less than a mile a way and right up the street. Also the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park is about a 20 minute drive away.
What I did: I honestly enjoyed my time disconnected from the world and with myself. I let Jhené Aiko be my soundtrack for the week. I sang and danced like no one was watching because I knew no one could if they wanted to, being in the middle of nowhere. I soaked in the hot tub until I looked like a California raisin and literally drank Rosé all day. I brought one of my books I have been trying to finish forever to read. I also brought my travel journal I purchased last year. I dusted it off and replanned my travel and life goals for next year. I did have a chance to venture out as well. I enjoyed my quick trip to the Outdoor Museum one afternoon. Joshua Tree apparently has a happening art scene so I tried to soak up as much as I could.
Of course I had to visit Joshua Tree National Park. I am definitely a morning person. I like to get my day started with the sun. I highly recommend getting to the park early as well as it really got crowded the closer it got to the afternoon and I was there on a Wednesday. I decided that I wanted to check out the Barker Dam Trail, which was recommended to me by my AirBnB booklet. As I mentioned above it took me about 20 minutes from where I staying to get to the park entrance. It then took me another 20 minutes inside the park to get to the trail. The drive inside of the park is so picturesque. You get a chance to take in all the desert life forms that rarely are seen. I also appreciated that once inside the park you may return using the same fee/pass for 7 days. I will be returning and taking advantage of this offer next time to check out some other hiking trails.
I stopped by Art Queen, which is located on the main road in Joshua Tree, on my way back to LA. Art Queen has a world famous Crochet Museum and also places to pick up some eclectic pieces and gifts. Apparently I stopped by too early as they were still closed. I will definitely be attempting Art Queen again on my return to Joshua Tree.
I am so very grateful and thankful for the time I was able to spend with myself in Joshua Tree. It was an amazing experience and I will be doing it again soon when I need to recharge my batteries. I am not going to say that I am all together prepared for what is in-store for next year. What I can say is that I am in better place mentally, physically and spiritually from my Joshua Tree tour. I’m still looking forward to the finale that is 2020.