One Year Later: My Desert Awakening Went Back to Sleep

One year ago today, December 28, 2016, I stood in the golden sun of the California desert taking in Salvation Mountain. The day shimmered with magic, possibility, and the excitement unique to being on a journey.

noun: salvation
preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.
synonyms: lifeline, preservation; means of escape, help, saving, savior

During my week of desert solitude, I found and lost myself a hundred times over. Each new vista that spilled away to the mountains that sit at the edge of eternity breathed new life into me. The cycle tore me down to the raw meat of who I am – weak and scared, and then mile by mile, it built me up again. I found salvation in the controlled burn.

By the time my ride came to an end, I thought I came away with some understanding. I was so sure that I took with me a change. But here I am, one year later, and I don’t think I have. I am that same uncertain person who went fumbling around in the desert for answers. How could I have learned nothing?


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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10 Responses

  1. Colleen says:

    I don’t have any answers…your posts resonate so directly for me. We humans have the gift/sometimes curse of our questioning minds. Not many people can give a voice to the feelings that we experience…but you can. Similar to any advancement (muscle growth/development, stretching, etc), sometimes it hurts. The beauty lies in continuing the struggle. I think that is a summation of the human condition. I hope 2018 brings you even more discovery…but with less discomfort. ✨

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      You are so right about gift/curse. sometimes i think it must be so glorious to just be completely self-UN-aware, to never question. Can you even imagine?

      Thank you for listening, for sharing, for being a source of light, Colleen <3

  2. Mike Ross says:

    When I was a teenager I was always looking for that one thing that would make me feel better. Jogging, working out, and later 25 years of drugs and alcohol. Now at 58 I get up and sometimes I want to put my head in an oven (that’s a metaphor). To think that one day we will finally get ourselves together and feel the way we want to feel all the time is unrealistic. A great woman once said: “Do you ever think about the things you would do if you weren’t scared? If you weren’t afraid to let people see the light inside of you? If you weren’t afraid of being judged? You should do those things.”

    • Erin says:

      I totally agree with Mike on his quote. Maybe the “trick” is identifying the change you want to see in your life, the barriers you want gone, and then break it down into (tiny) attainable steps. I don’t know where you are, but this is totally what I need and where I’m coming from.

      • Fuzzygalore says:

        You’re probably right about identifying the changes and then baby stepping my way to achieving them. It seems like the biggest hurdle for me right now is even knowing what it is I want. How can that be? But, since I can’t seem to zero in on the greater thing – maybe starting small would do me good. Pick 1 thing and move forward.

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      I know you’re right. I will never wake up one day and flip a magical switch and have everything make sense. I just wish I could undo my propensity to be self-destructive or to willfully do things that I KNOW aren’t in my best interest.

      Thank you for being out there in the world, Mike.

      Happy New Year

  3. Shybiker says:

    Fumbling around in confusion is who we are. Only fools believe they have found the answer. Searching, like riding, offers solace in itself if we can pull back far enough to realize that.

    On a personal level, I’ve learned that others, with their occasional insight into us (available through detachment), can offer us valuable feedback on our choices, most of which are irrational. Listen to your close friends when they speak to you about you. I’ve learned hugely-important stuff about myself from YOU when you did that. Examining every comment you’ve made to me (which are etched in my memory) provides me with another perspective to consider. We all need that.

    • Fuzzygalore says:

      I agree with you, and then I second guess myself. It seems like so many people are so confident in everything they do…

      I get what you’re saying about listening to others, but I counter it with my own view. If I negatively think I am one way, someone who says something nice about me is obviously full of shit. You know what I mean? Who could be more right about me than me? 😀

  4. Guy says:

    Well … you did learn something. You learned that you didn’t learn anything. I doubt that was the case however. I don’t think we are suppose to learn “everything” or understand “everything”, I think it’s the discovery of “other things” is where we go. Doesn’t mean we need to learn it all or understand it all. Sometimes it’s the bits.

  5. Ry Austin says:

    For their clear lack, deserts are remarkably generous, but I think they can only lend, and only their prime trait—nothingness. I don’t believe they can give consequential emptiness, especially if one aims to take it back—home, to society, to that civilized noise. It’d just be drowned out.

    I could go without everything but deserts, I believe, am ever-returning to them, but can’t say why. I go, am reset, and am simply left craving greater emptiness…

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