The Freedom to Wander in Utah

 

It is often in the most seemingly lonely and isolated places that I find myself feeling the most fulfilled.  Perhaps this feeling arises out of the simplicity and freedom of the moment. Alone, I am free of the influence, energy, and words of others around me, and free of the clutter of my daily life.

My most recent trip was to Utah, where I had many hours to myself, driving long, empty expanses of highways and roads, often times in the dark with no cell phone reception. My car full of photography equipment, I felt otherwise cut off from the rest of the world, not really having a plan of where I’d end the day or rest my head.

I was often surrounded by stunning and other-worldly landscapes that took my breath away. But mostly, I was drawn to capturing the little nowhere towns that I stumbled upon, like Hanksville, where I picked up a local T-shirt that says in large lettering on the front ‘Where the hell is Hanksville?’  I said to myself, ‘exactly, where the hell is Hanksville, and who would really care?’  As I came to find, it’s a town where, if you are driving 60 miles per hour and blink, you will absolutely miss it.  And even if you don’t miss it, you might wonder, why it is worth a visit?  Or Grafton, the hauntingly beautiful ghost town just outside of Zion National Park, where some scenes from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed.

When I journey on road trips alone, I feel the least alone, and the most full of love and inspiration.  Oddly, I was never afraid, but rather felt at peace and was filled with such overwhelming awe of what I saw, experienced, and felt, in each town and along the countryside.  I love to explore and find what may otherwise be considered as mundane. I photograph those moments the way I feel the moment has captured my heart.