Staycation with Herbie Wei - Joshua Tree, California
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
If we look hard enough, we'll find that we all live around beautiful spaces but rarely get to experience them. Most of our days are spent caught in the hustle and bustle of our daily routines. While many of us enjoy those little rituals and moments that make our lives better, the ones that allow us stop to enjoy our home can feel like a breathe of fresh air. It reminds us that we don't have to travel far to see something beautiful.
Our friend Herbie Wei did just that. His usual, day-to-day life is spent in Los Angeles, California where he crafts visual stories through a number of different mediums. The never-slow-down pace of city life, fraught with deadlines and a seemingly never ending slew of engagements left him feeling like he needed to recharge. His partner felt the same and, instead of spinning a globe and going to the first far off place they landed on, they looked to their backyard.
Joshua Tree National Park is only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles but it feels like a world away. One of the unique features of this place is the the yucca palm, commonly referred to as the Joshua Tree, which only grows in Mojave Desert. In addition to the one-of-a-kind flora, the Noah Purifoy Desert Art Museum sits on 10 acres of the desert and showcases numerous "environmental sculptures." There's so much more we could say, but we'll let Herbie take it away and show off some of his fantastic photos.
What was most appealing about this destination when you chose it as your vacation spot?
We chose this spot mainly because it was far enough from Los Angeles to get away from the bustle, yet close enough to drive over within an afternoon.
What unique features did you notice when you first arrived?
Tasha and I liked that there weren't any TVs around. We really wanted a place to unplug and unwind, so this was the perfect environment!
What was the vibe of the location? How did you feel when you first stepped into the space?
We got stuck in traffic on our way out, so we didn't make it to the location until after dark. It's the desert, so it was pitch black other than the street lamps. The house was very unassuming at night, with only enough light to see the path to the front door. Once we got inside, it was a completely different story! First of all, the blast of the cool AC air was so refreshing, especially after unpacking the car in the desert heat. As we turned on the lights throughout the house, a desert oasis revealed itself.
Did your choice of destination reflect your lifestyle? Or did you try something atypical or different?
I think our choice of destination represented both things that already existed in our lifestyles, as well as new things we are trying to include in our lives. For example, Tasha and I both sit in front of computers for most of the day, so the concept of unplugging is something we've recently been trying to incorporate into our home lives...quite unsuccessfully, ha.
What’s most important to you when you are trying to relax or escape the real world?
I think what's most important when trying to relax or escape the real world is to consciously let go of anything that anchors or tethers you to your stressors (other than yourself, of course!). Every little micro-distraction that runs through your mind has the potential to keep you from being present and experiencing what you set out to do in the first place: relax and escape! Those "things" will always be there, with or without you constantly thinking about them, so you might as well just leave them be for now and come back to them later. Don't worry, they'll still be there when you get back.
What would have improved your stay? What could the destination have provided that would have improved your experience?
Nothing on our destination, but the only thing that would have improved our stay would have been if it was 10 degrees cooler! But you know what they say: buy the ticket, take the ride
Would you travel to this place again?
Yes! We are actually already planning our next trip to the area, but we may choose a different place to stay, just to be in a different area or to experience something different
What did you bring with you or would you bring with you next time?
We love to cook and we love eating even more, so we made sure to bring some of our own kitchen gear with us to the destination. There's few things more dangerous (and annoying) than a dull knife in the kitchen, and almost every rental we've ever stayed in had only dull knives!
Is there anything you brought with you to add an element of home to the space? Or alternatively, what would you wish to bring back with you from this space?
Y'know, I didn't "understand" Joshua Tree National Park at first, not really understanding what could be so special about a bunch of piles of rocks. But after spending the weekend in the desert, hiking and driving around, I can honestly say it is, indeed, a very special place with very special piles of rocks. On our morning hike through one of the park's rock formations, we came across a bunch of raw quartz of all sizes scattered on the ground that seemed to glow under the morning sun. I really wanted to take a piece home, but I ultimately decided not to. I think I just wanted to keep the place as close to the way I found it, as though doing so would somehow preserve the experience in my mind forever.
Photos by Herbie Wei - Stay at the AirBnB