July 22nd-27th, 2017
One of my goals for this trip was to be challenged into letting go of my need for control. Since we decided to travel by bus, camp, and rely on the kindness of strangers on this trip, I knew that everything wouldn't go perfect. Our first day in Arizona was one of the most challenging of this trip, this is what happened.
July 22nd we left White Sands New Mexico and rode with a couple others photographers back to Arizona. On our way to Arizona, we had no idea where we were going to stay. Our plan was to stay in Phoenix, and head to Sedona the next day. We spent hours in the car calling hotels, messaging Airbnb hosts, trying to contact hostels, all leading to no ends. Since we're both under 21, so no hotels would let us book, all the hostels were full, and the Airbnbs were too expensive or booked. A harsh reality began to set in that we had nowhere to stay in Phoenix.
I started having an anxiety attack in the car, the realization hit me that we were nowhere near home, and would possibly be sleeping on the street that night on top of our luggage. This was a big moment of letting go of my control, Jeremiah started working frantically for a plan. He found us an Airbnb in Sedona for that night, which meant we had to bus late into the night to get there. I dreaded this, because in the past 48 hours we had already traveled 4 states. The little sleep I did get was on the floor of a bus station while Jeremiah kept watch of our stuff, we were both exhausted mentally and physically.
But we did it, we took an Uber to the airport where we took a shuttle to Sedona. Upon arriving in Sedona, we had a 1 mile walk to our Airbnb in the complete dark, with all our stuff. During our walk Jeremiah's backpack straps fell apart (it had previously been duct taped together, we're a mess). We stopped briefly to fix it, and that's when I heard a noise behind us. I shone my flashlight towards the noise, and that's when I saw a massive boar staring at us. Being in the middle of Arizona, sounded by night, with a boar staring at you, was an intimidating moment to say the least. We quietly gathered our stuff, and backed away trying not to seem threatening to it.
That night I slept better than I had in a long time. The airbnb was SO comfy, the following morning was overcast and the rain quietly fell on the roof which allowed me to sleep in. When we woke up, we went outside and our first sight of Sedona. It was so beautiful, since we had come in at night we had no idea that we were living in a valley surrounded by mountainous red rock. Dark clouds impending in one direction, and sunlight in the other, we decided to start walking towards a mountain and see where it took us.
Soon enough the storm caught up with us, Jeremiah insisted we get somewhere safe but I was stubborn and refused to leave. I thrive in these moments, I danced in the streets, and the storm was just so gorgeous matched with the red rock mountains I had to stay and get the perfect photo. Soon enough the rain started pouring, and we were running through a rainstorm in a rich Sedona neighborhood towards safety.
That evening when we returned back to our Airbnb, we were joined by Julia Yoder all the way from Ohio! I had met Julia one time previously at an Instameet, but we hadn't really interacted. So she flew all the way to Arizona to hangout with us and take photos for a few days, and this began one of my absolute favorite parts of the trip.
Going into this situation I had no idea how much Julia would click with us. We were laughing and telling stories on the first day, making life long memories. Our first full day together we decided to walk around Sedona and find some new off the beaten path spots. That's where we took the first photos of her in this gallery, on top of a hill that overlooked the Sedona neighborhoods and impending storm over the red rock mountains.
Later that day we took an Uber to Devils Bridge park, and walked for what felt like forever to find Devils Bridge. On our way we met Fallon and Reed, we were ecstatic when we saw them because we knew we had to ask them to model for us. Fallon was a natural, her hair was long and luscious and she was willing to let our creativity take lead in the photos. The results are stunning!
I cherish everyone moment and memory we had in Arizona, and I'm so unbelievably thankful that Julia took the risk and decided to join us because her presence added so much. I'm grateful for so many things from this Arizona experience, but the friendship we made with Julia is the most valuable.
Days 1 & 2
Sedona storms & devils bridge