I don't mean to sound ungrateful; I know too well how rare it is to actually have the opportunity to travel. I'm a regular late-20-something girl, with a nine to five, a car payment, a too small savings account, and student loan debt. This set-up doesn't lend itself well to grand adventures. My PTO bank doesn't care that I feel it my duty to see as much of the world as possible. My bank account can only get me so far from home.
When Sweeney invited me to Coachella, a three day music festival held in the California desert, I had my bags packed before she had a chance to rethink it. I was ready to go before I had a way to get there.
I boarded a plane a few months later at 7am my time, and despite a 6 hour flight, landed at 10am California time. I hopped into the Sweeney family car and we drove straight past "is it awkward that I'm Sweeney's Internet friend?" We laughed about things I can't completely remember, but I was thankful for laughter then.
From plane to car to ocean, our first stop was fittingly one to the Santa Monica pier and the Pacific Ocean.
Just a little while later we were on a road trip to Palm Springs. A road trip seems like the wrong term, though, because mostly it was a dance party with a dash of, "no, seriously! Look! Mountains!" It was still morning for me, though it had been morning for more hours than was natural. By the time we reached the resort in Palm Springs I was exhausted and in love.
Before we settled in too much, we decided we needed a trip to the grocery store. There are certain things I love to see in new cities, things I think most people don't consider: airports and grocery stores. You can learn a lot about a town from both. I later admitted to Nicole that every time she mentioned going to Ralph's for something, I thought she meant a person. Good 'ole uncle Ralph became a joke, because of course she meant the local grocery chain, Ralphs.
While we acquired enough food and snacks to feed a small army, Nicole wisely stopped by the wine aisle. Grocery store wine aisles are pretty universal. Later, in between sips, I went from marveling at the strangeness of the occasion to feeling right amongst friends.
Palm Springs is absolutely gorgeous.
Coachella is held in Indio, still about 20-30 minutes from where we were staying. We packed into too few cars and drove each day to the festival, exhausted, excited and sun burned.
Coachella is vast. You get dirty the moment you step out of the car. The desert burns bright and hot all morning, but the air doesn't hold it well. We were shivering come nightfall in our shorts and flip flops. We smuggled in vodka in our bikini tops on the first day, and had to deal with the smell of Turkish licorice vodka baking in the sun for the rest of that day. (FYI: never taste Turkish licorice vodka. Ew.) I ate pizza the entire time I was there. Pizza and free Popsicles.
The only thing more impressive than the music and the vast amount of sand, were the people, who showed up in varying states of GIRL, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? It was excellent because everyone also showed up 100xs more friendly than an average pedestrian in Miami.
During the Postal Service set, we ended up third from from the front, just behind a little boy who kept yelling excitedly to his mother behind us. He told her when he text his friend to let him know he was front row at Postal Service. "MOM! MOM! MOM! Wanna know what he said? Jelly! He said jelly! I'd be jelly too."
In the midday sun on the second day, Sweeney and I made it our mission to battle to the front of the main stage. By the time The Lumineers came on looking too adorable to be real, we had made it.
Those two (Postal Service and The Lumineers) were my favorite sets.
My favorite moment, though, had to be when Nicole and I had a fangirl freakout in the Red Bull tent. We went in because we were curious about the random tent that needed a password to get in (dances with bulls). We stayed for a while, little bits of drool escaping, because GEORGE WICKHAM was the bartender.
|Pretty in real life too.|
No one else we were with could appreciate this bit of Internet culture. But we spent plenty of time reminding each other we'd seen George Wickham.
It was hard saying goodbye to the festival. For three days you quit real life and instead skip around the desert and sing songs. You take pictures of the Ferris Wheel and of magical floating balloons on a string. You learn a new language and acquire a new map, measuring everything by stages and beer gardens in between. Each night before bed, lungs full of dust, you wonder if you can do that all over again, and you wake up the next morning and decide, absolutely. You certainly can.
My last night and day were spent in LA. Sweeney, her best friend and I ate chicken and waffles at Roscoe's and it changed my entire life. Sweeney and I caught a stand up show at the Upright Citizen's Brigade. Before I had to leave, the Sweeneys made sure I had In-n-Out. Also life altering.
I came back to south Florida happy to be home and covered in a layer of dust. Happy to have an anchor yet anxious to set sail again soon. I'm not sure how I'll make it out again, but when the chance knocks, I'll have my bags ready again.
Thanks again to the Nicole and the Sweeneys for taking me in. I love your face best bloggy friend.