If ever there was a single symbol of my wandering ways it would be Salvation Mountain.
Driving through the sun burnt landscape of inland California, surrounded by various shades of brown, it rises from the earth as a beacon to those who have traveled far and wide to experience it's magic. There amongst the tanned earth the painted mountain looks as though it was dreamed up by a child; something out of a coloring book.
Like many, I first heard of Salvation Mountain through the book Into the Wild. A book that inspired my first major endeavor into traveling, a cross country bicycle tour. Five years after that maiden voyage, I had just moved to Texas and again had wanderlust in my heart. Although it was a forty-two hour round trip drive to Niland, California I felt like it was something I had to do. Almost two days in a car just to see Salvation Mountain for a few hours.
When you gaze upon Salvation Mountain you can't help but be overwhelmed by the conviction and dedication it took to create such a powerful symbol. Something was born in me on that initial trip, the joy of traveling became real. That trip was what sparked all of this. It showed me that I held the power to see and do whatever I wanted if I put the effort into it. It made me believe that rather than spend my days talking about what I hoped to do "when I had the time", I just had to take that step and go for it.
And four years later there I was again, staring at the technicolor hues of someones life's work. As I watched Lauren walk around the painted ground with wonder and beauty in her eyes, I couldn't help but reflect on how much had changed since the last time I was there.
Four years ago I didn't know how to properly work a camera, I couldn't have cared less about "blogging", and I had no idea what Instagram was. But seeing what one man could create inspired me to document and share my travels through photographs and words, with the hope that maybe someday I could make an impact on someone the way that Leonard Knight's creation impacted me.
At the end of the day I still hope that I can somehow inspire at least one person out there, but have realized that all of this has had a bigger impact on me than I ever could have imagined. Because of what was instilled in me on that first trip, I have been able to see places that I never could have dreamed of. Because of that first trip, I have met people who I will forever call friends.