Stumbling for Words

You may have noticed I like to travel. I feel at home out in the world. It’s not always easy though and some trips are certainly better than others depending on logistics and conditions.

I spent last week in Death Valley, a combined trip of camping with friends and a photography workshop. It’s there I found one of the sweet spots of life… an amazing confluence of travel, people, and place that is indescribable. It was an experience that left me satisfied in having taken in as much as humanly possible but also aching for more. Maybe it’s the tension between those two opposing feelings that are the hallmark of a truly worthwhile journey. And maybe it’s ok not to be able to put words to an experience.

So in my failing of words I’d like to celebrate the people and places that make our lives richer for their part in shaping us and pushing us further.

Words are like nets – we hope they’ll cover what we mean, but we know they can’t possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder. ~Jodi Picoult

My buddy Dave has a much better grasp of the language required to express groovy trips so I’ll hand the floor over to him… Feeling alive in Death Valley.

mesquite dunes sunset death valley - val in real life
Even in the starkness of Death Valley there are amazing possibilities for a larger experience: J., Dave, David, & Brenda… many thanks.



  1. Val-
    “Confluence” is such a beautiful description. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced a few trips in which people, places, and events conjoined to become much greater than the individual components. This was one of the best.

    1. Confluence is translated from “shit really came together” which is what would come out of my mouth. Fortunately I get to employ a more thoughtful process in writing. But yes, when all the pieces fit together into a bigger experience, it’s a great thing. You can draw on it to get through less-savory times and use it to frame what you want out of future experiences. Of course, this is all thanks to your efforts to put this trip together and play host.

  2. Well said; so good to get the fusion of people, locale and ambience right.

    1. You have to choose your companions carefully for it all to work and when it does, it’s really groovy!

  3. […] to Death Valley and I could ‘t have spent my time in Death Valley with two better people.  Val said it best, “…an amazing confluence of travel, people, and place”.  It’s the trifecta of […]

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