DESERT DIARIES | Lessons From the Road

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In April this year Ben and I embarked on our desert road trip through parts of California, Arizona and Nevada in the US (check it out here) ....and here's what we learned along the way that can be applied to every day:


desert diaries lessons from the road usa


desert usa road lessons samantha clark


1. Don't judge an establishment by it's facade

The exterior design and signage of a lot of buildings in the US are quite plain, boring and sometimes, to be frank, ugly. This can make it hard to know if what's inside is any good from first-glance outside judgement. It also often made identifying even well-known brands difficult - like one particularly jail like building in LA that turned out to be a rather scary McDonalds!

Restaurants, hotels, motels, clothing stores and entertainment venues can have you fooled on the facade, but the lesson here is to have a sense of curiosity...and it that fails you, your hunger will draw you into any nearby establishment. This happened in Vegas in fact, with sore feet and grumbly tummies after walking up and down the strip, we made a beeline for the busiest place - Mon Ami Gami. Why we didn't go in an hour earlier when we had walked past? It looked 'expensive!' But it wasn't. It was the best value for money for such mouth-watering food and impeccable food we'd had the whole trip and it's on the list to revisit next time. 

In Lake Havasu we Googled the best place to eat and happily discovered it was right across the road from our hotel. Thank goodness for Google because had I seen it on the street I would not have even thought it was a restaurant. It was a random concrete block building in a dusty car park called (...get this - Cha Bones - wtf) that turned out to the THE best food we have ever had in the US! Same deal with Denny's in a one-street town called Baker between Vegas and LA - best home style feasting and definitely not an ice cream parlour like I thought it was. Maybe some of these brands would benefit from a foreigners first impressions survey to notch up their marketing!

So embrace the adventure and go and check it allll out! You'll never know if you never go (in)!


2. Getting up early is so worth it

Picture this: the sun is rising over moon-like landscapes and with not a soul in sight, you breathe in the stillness and magnificence of this equally enchanting and eerie place feeling completely humbled, energised and awed. It's pretty epic. And so are the pictures as a result. Getting up early score you the sunrise, less traffic, plenty of peace and quiet to take it all in, and play time taking the most breathtaking pictures. And the pictures do all the talking on this point. #nuffsaid


3. Drink more water

You actually might die. So I'm not even joking on this one. People everywhere were reminding us of that, so buy a slab anywhere you can and constantly be sipping. Aim for 5-6 standard 650ml bottles a day. And don't make the common road rip mistake of assuming you will find a place 'just up the road' 'at the next stop'...that could quite literally be miles away, and your throat will hurt, your lips will crack and your tongue will stick to your mouth. Not cute for those pretty pictures!


4. It might look just like the movies but you have to make it yourself

Don't sit back waiting for adventure to fall in your lap, or worse, just stay in your car and drive on through. Get out, go farther, explore every nook and smile at every face. Say yes to it all. Anything legit and legal that is, you still want to survive! It will be magical when you do. 

desert diaries ben and sam usa


"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure." 
Christopher McCandless


5. Travel is good for the soul, but it's also a reboot on your productivity

After 15 days away we came home raring to go and dived right into our goals with fresh clarity and perspective and enthusiasm. Our limit is 3 months of work to at least 10 days away or otherwise we have a tendency to over-work and go kookoo - usually at each other! Know your work to adventure ratio and schedule it.

Book your getaways in advance too so there's less likely to be stress due to glitches, and then you always have something to look forward to. With the 'just been on vacay' vibes and the 'going again soon' signed and dated, your productivity mojo will (pretty much always) be on point. So don't just ogle someone else's envy-inducing insta feed, go make your own! 


What's been your best travel lessons and how have you applied them
into your every day life as a result?
Share below, I'd love to know.


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