From California To Texas Again

A Mountain Woman’s Thoughts On Getting Laid Off During A Pandemic

Jasmine wears a mask sunglasses and workout gear. She stands in the middle of an empty road flashing a peace sign.

It happened slowly, and then all at once. One moment I was completely fine hiking with my friends in the woods after weeks of recovering from a bout of actual flu and pneumonia, and then the next I’m stuck in the house again for fear of dying from a new illness—Covid-19. I had started a new job the week of the beginning of the stay at home order in the middle of March in California.

I was completely fine that week, but then something happened when they closed the hiking trails to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. I couldn’t think or figure anything out until they opened them up again with social distancing guidelines. It all clicked again when I went back out into the woods, this time with a mask on my face. When many offices planned to reopen their doors and end working from home, I was laid off.

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How I Lost My Mind In The Desert

Me at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, CA

I suppose there’s a component in my DNA that has programmed me to become obsessed with the desert. It was two generations before me when my bloodline found solace among like-minded people in the same situation out in the desert. I wrote before about how my grandmother felt a little closer to God while looking out into the sunrise over a clear Arizona sky. It was after that moment over the phone that I told her that I understood and felt the same way.

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The Leap Year Timeline

Mobius Arch, Inyo County, California
Mobius Arch, Inyo Canyon, California

My life makes sense when you look at it in Leap Years. It’s more confusing to look at my life when you look at every year in between. It’s as if I’ve only ever hit the correct axis of time if you scrunched up the detailed map of my journey to get here—the day before the day that only exists every four years.

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How I Nearly Caught My Death On The Gulf Coast

I lowered my window but didn’t remove the sunglasses that I had picked up from the local target before the trip. The sun’s rays were beating down on the Chevy Silverado truck that my coworker had reserved for me a few days before. So I decided I rather protect my eyes than remove them for the law enforcement officer that was waiting just outside of my window. Everything about the entire trip up to that point had been so last minute, and I continued the trend by picking up the truck after the meeting and heading straight for the coast.

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Why I Became The Leader Of A Hiking Group

If you asked me a year ago if I would be the ambassador for the Los Angeles chapter of the international hiking group, Hiker Babes, whose mission is to unite women who share a passion for the outdoors into a community, I would have laughed. It’s not as though I haven’t led such as groups of writers, students, coworkers, and such before. However, I always left trail scouting and leading hikes up to the other hiking groups that I am also a member — especially the group, Black Girls Trekkin.’

It was with the group Black Girls Trekkin that I first attempted to do the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. Before I was hiking with a team of badass women who climb mountains, I never would have thought that I would have been able to hike as long and as far as we have on some of these hikes. I think the two biggest lessons I learned was that, one: AllTrails is a tool to use, and two: with the help and advice of my wonderful and very supportive friends at Black Girls Trekkin’ I can totally lead a group of women out into nature safely.

It was also all my other outdoorsy friends that have motivated to do incredibly creative and intricate things such as a podcast. It was by first getting back into running outdoors and ultimately just returning to nature in college and hiking with other nature-loving people that have led me into this life of a wild mountain woman.  

So, when people ask me how, or why, did you become the leader of L.A. Chapter Hiker Babes, I try to give a short answer. I usually just say I did it because I love hiking and I was offered the role, but what I really want to tell them is how I started running so I could drink more at bars and eat street burritos, and it lead me to be in a national online campaign for an amazing shoe company and a hiking leader for an international community. I know better that it would take too long, though.

Update: Why I Left Hiker Babes

The Road Trip From California to Texas

Me at the Grand Canyon
Making my parents nervous since 1990.

Four years ago, I found myself sitting in the driver’s seat of my brand-new car with my best friend in the passenger seat. We drove from Southern California to Oregon, camping and visiting with friends along the way. What started as some sort of cheesy rom-com where a friend tried their best to reunite two old friends with a bit of history became a cheesy story of friendship that we still talk about until this day.

My best friend and I found ourselves, once again, traveling by car across the country. However, instead of heading north, we traveled east so that my best friend could move the last of her things to her new place in Texas. We traveled with two well-behaved dogs in the back seat of her newer truck next to our luggage piled off on to one side and a trailer full of nearly everything my best friend owned with her new husband. I didn’t need to, but I jumped in the car to spend the last few days that I will have for a while with my best friend. I was also craving adventure, and I knew that we were planning on seeing the Grand Canyon. Continue reading “The Road Trip From California to Texas”

The Unexplainable 2018 Photo Album

New Year's celebration

I turned to look at my sister who was scrolling on her phone while sitting on the couch that I accidentally bought from Ikea. “What?” I said slightly puzzled. The couch, which is a whole other story, wasn’t the issue.

My sister repeated herself. “The movie, Black Panther, came out in 2018.”

“It feels like that movie came out two years ago.” I was genuinely confused at the timeline of events that happened in the year 2018. I had to pause and think back to what happened in 2018 to make me feel as though 2018 went on forever. Continue reading “The Unexplainable 2018 Photo Album”

Two Thousand Miles In Two Days

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Two thousand and two miles and seven states in twenty-nine hours. My sister and I drove that distance in a small Hyundai Sonata from Tennessee to California. We celebrated as we passed state lines, posed in front of state signs, and nearly killed each other in the last eight hours before we made it to California.

My sister and I agreed to help our cousin by driving her car back to California from where she lived in Tennessee. She and her newborn baby were to take a flight back home as we tried not to crash her car while moving at top speeds across the country. However, after we began to see historical signs and interesting billboards, we decided to make a couple of stops along the way. Continue reading “Two Thousand Miles In Two Days”

Poetry For The 21st Century | The Ocean’s Greetings

I was greeted by the warm rays that rained down from the summer sun
And felt the cool kisses quickly land on my cheek from the ocean’s salty breeze.
I looked for the usual crowd of people relaxing on the sand but found none
And left the quiet beach alone to do as she pleased.

I wandered off into town and stumbled on to the Spanish Father’s mission,
An old building for church service long before there stood a town.
I walked along the waterway listening to the sound of rushing water in repetition
And walked across the wooden bridge while trying to avoid looking down. Continue reading “Poetry For The 21st Century | The Ocean’s Greetings”

In Response To “Well Oregon… “

Oregon road trip adventureWell, Oregon…

Nearly a decade ago a group of my friends and I decided to take a trip to Oregon. We would go and solve the mystery of our lifetime, up to that point, and enjoy the trip in the process. However, due to a number of complications, the trip to Oregon became an impossible thing, and over the course of the planning, we had lost friends and lovers along the way.

My best friend and I eventually made it there together after a long road trip from Southern California and kept blogging about the journey along the way. I didn’t fully know it then, but the trip that came on the precipice of a new beginning for our futures would change both of our lives forever.

It’s only natural that now, three years after the trip, the first car that my best friend ever bought would have Oregon license plates. I have seen it as a reminder of the trip and what we have taken away from it. There’s no doubt in my mind that we have grown and closer and wiser since then, and I’m sure the reminder is to keep progressing as both individuals and as friends of more than twenty years.

As we approach the final months before my friend’s wedding and the series of projects that I am hoping to tackle around that time as well, I can only think back to the trip as encouragement to do my best, leave my comfort zone, and continue moving forward.

It was once an obsession, a drive, and a journey both physically and mentally. It became a story that spanned many blog posts and a memory that I never want to forget. For some reason, the state of Oregon was a white whale that in time just became a shared state of mind between two people. It became a place that my best friend and I would share forever, and I’m okay with that.