It wasn’t the version of Joshua Tree I imagined, the one I’d view through the invisible shades placed on my face by an eighth of shrooms or an Ayahuasca ceremony, but still, it was incredibly marvelous. Time didn’t stop, but it plodded by, lessening the intensity of the blue above us, stirring in deep pinks, purples, and oranges.
Passport Required + Nine Fare Society brought us five strangers together for a weekend of food, discourse, unplugging, love, positivity, growth, and camaraderie. What an amazing three days we spent together, helping each other unpack, laughing until tears crept down our cheeks, and practicing massive amounts of self-care while simultaneously loving each other.
We climbed to the top of random rocks on the side of the road and we sped through sand dunes, chasing sunsets until we found ourselves in the park, stargazing, pointing out Orion’s Belt and what may have been Saturn or Jupiter.
On the back of an envelope, I wrote my recommendations for anyone thinking of visiting Joshua Tree:
1. Fill the fridge, if you have one, with all the necessary goods: milk, cereal, sandwich meats, Hawaiian rolls, tequila, whatever it is that gets you through 4am.
2. Stand at the intersection of Alta Loma Dr. + Sunny Vista Rd. on a clear day as the sun falls and enjoy the colors.
3. Pack a thick Lenny Kravitz style blanket-coat and head into the park around midnight, lay on the hood of your car and count the stars.
4. Climb all the rocks, all the hills, and all the trees that stand out you and whisper sweet things to your soul. Make your way towards Keys View in the park and you will come across countless climbable things.
5. Find a place where you hear no sound and meditate on whatever it is you’re feeling. I hope that feeling is overwhelming gratitude. “I am so thankful for this moment,” I repeat to myself.
6. Do it all with people you love.
Nine Fare Society will host another long weekend soon and again and again and we hope you apply. Though it won’t be at Joshua Tree again, we promise a place just as beautiful. We hope to see you there!
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.