Road Trip Recap

I’m back and I survived my road-trip!

Between moving and settling into my new apartment, writing hasn’t been a priority.

I’m attempting to restart my habit of daily writing and reflection.

I journaled this morning and will do so again later today, so that’s a start.

Moving your life possessions halfway across the country is incredibly fun and super exhausting. The process of packing was stressful, since not everything I wanted fit in my car. My mom and I made a list of things for my dad to bring when he flies in for my White Coat Ceremony later this week.

Looking back, I’m so glad my mom and I decided to take on this adventure. Of course, it would have taken only a couple hours to fly to the mid-West, but we split up a 39+ hour drive into six days, instead. This allowed me to bring my car and also see parts of the country I’ve never been to before.

Would I do it again? Definitely, if I could spread out what we did to 2 weeks. Driving 6-8 hours may not seem like a lot for some, but combine that with the heat (hello, 118 degree weather in Needles, CA), one is bound to be tired, cranky, and exhausted in a matter of days (or hours, for me.)

You can see all the cities I visited on my Instagram stories, saved under Frolicking.

Some highlights:

New Mexico

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The inside of El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico

Before we made our way to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, my mom and I stopped by El Rancho Hotel,  to stretch our legs. It was a fun hotel to walk around and explore. The 2nd floor pictures of autographed photos of (old) celebrities who have stayed in the hotel. I recognized only a few of them, but it was still pretty cool.

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Santa Fe!

I’m 79% sure this was taken in Santa Fe (but it could have been Albuquerque). I loved Albuquerque and Santa Fe. I loved it so much that I’m considering doing residency in either one of those cities after medical school. I know it’s still too early to be thinking about residency, but I think I would really love to live there in the (distant) future. If you asked me a month ago where I wanted to settle down, I would have said LA, but now, I’m not so sure.

I also met up with a dear friend from college in Santa Fe. As luck would have it, we were both in Santa Fe on the same weekend. I was thinking of visiting her when my mom and I drove to Colorado, but this worked out perfectly. Since we haven’t seen each other since we graduated a few years ago, it was really nice to spend time with her and her family.

My mom and I loved staying at the Old Santa Fe Inn. After staying in questionable (aka cheap) hotels the previous two days, it was really nice to stay in a pretty hotel that serves freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and chips and guac at 4PM. We also stopped by Kakawa Chocolate House for truffles. I sampled their drinking chocolate made of almond milk and it was delicious.

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El Santuario in Chimayo, NM

Before we left for Colorado, we stopped at Chimayo, which is about 40 minutes from Santa Fe.  My mom wanted to collect some Holy Dirt, so we came prepared with a large Ziploc bag. Inside the chapel, while my mom was busy shoveling the dirt* into her bag, I took in the surroundings. The small room was filled with crutches, symbolizing all the individuals healed by the Holy Dirt.

While I was (and still am) skeptical of the healing power of this dirt, I was touched by the discarded crutches left in the room, as well as all the photographs people left behind of their loved ones covering every available wall space.

*It was more sand than dirt. I think Holy Sand sounds better than Holy Dirt, but oh well.

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One of the shrines in Chimayo.

There’s something special about Chimayo and Santa Fe. I can’t figure it out yet, but I’m wondering if it has something to do with witnessing these cities embrace their artists and the visible signs of faith. Attending mass at the Basilica in Santa Fe brought me so much peace. All too often, I’m caught up with all the things that bother me about the Catholic Church during mass, but I didn’t feel that there.

Again, still don’t know why, but I think it’s something worth exploring later.

Colorado Springs

 

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Frolicking in the Garden of the Gods
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Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods

My mom and I fortunately found our way to Colorado, after almost getting lost in Chimayo. My friend’s mom warned me that we might lose cell service in Chimayo, yet I didn’t think to screenshot directions to Colorado.

We eventually found our way towards the right direction, but those two hours driving aimlessly through the mountains was pretty scary. It was terrifying to realize that we had no way to call anyone for help, due to the lack of service.

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Princess living for the night.

When my mom found out that about Glen Eyrie Castle, she immediately decided we were going to stay there while we were in Colorado. However, she made this discovery only a few weeks before we were scheduled to leave. Between helping me pack and taking care of last minute tasks, she kept refreshing their reservation page every few hours in hopes that a room would open up for the night we were there.

Thanks to her persistence, she snagged a room that opened up just days before we left. We weren’t able to tour the castle or have afternoon tea while we were there, but those things are on our list for next time!

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Frolicking inside the castle

 

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Got to relax in the hammock before we left for Kansas

St. Louis

I wish we had more time to spend in St. Louis, but at the same time, I was SO ready to get to my final destination. We got to STL mid-afternoon and we first went to the the Basilica. After we were done frolicking in there, we didn’t know if it was worth going to the top of the arch, since it was raining, foggy, and cloudy. Thankfully, the weather cooperated and by the time we walked over to the arch (from our hotel), it stopped raining and the fog cleared up.

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Forever frolicking in pretty Catholic churches
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(Part of) the inside

 

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The view from the top of the arch!!

 

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Stumbled upon a yummy pizza place

We ended our St. Louis adventures with pizza at Pi Pizzeria. The thin crust was perfect and the leftovers were eaten in a Trader Joe’s parking lot the next day, where I obtained the Missouri bag. I’m bummed that I couldn’t get a Kansas bag (they didn’t have it at the TJ I went to in Kansas), but I’m happy that I can cross Missouri off my list!

My med school orientation starts bright and early tomorrow morning and classes start later this week. Thankfully, orientation is done by 2 or 3PM each day and my classes end by noon on my first day.

 

2 thoughts on “Road Trip Recap

    1. Thank you! Chimayo was one of my favorite places on the trip and I’m excited to go back!

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