The red rock of Moab, UT calls me home. I never seis to be amazed by its majesty and I immediately feel at peace when I’m surrounded by it. I regain a childlike excitement and curiosity; I’m ready to climb it, touch it, and inspect every plant, animal, and insect I come across. The tall, vibrant layers of earth reflect thousands of years of slow change. I feel small in my body, but my spirit is larger than life as I connect to my primordial roots. We had a wonderful week getaway in Utah, some minor hiccups to due to Coronavirus put us behind schedule but it turned out alright.
For Johnny, it was a “work-cation”. He was busy installing a turn signal kit on the Roxor for Adventure Vet and getting out trip bike ready. He’s still there in fact, waiting on paperwork to go through so we can bring our trip bike home to Cali. Still, he found time for some excursions with me. We hiked Castleton Tower; we took the Ural sidecar off-road where I smashed my phone screen on a bump. We took a Roxor up a random dirt road that ended up at Minor’s Basin, where we walked around a tranquil pond of snowmelt. I did some solo hikes, read, and ate well thanks to our host Sue Frey. It was a true vacation. The day I left was Arch’s National Park’s re-opening. I got a 7am start and did a steep 3-mile hike to see the Delicate Arch and drive around the park before a 14-hour marathon drive home.
Driving through Oakland, I felt a wave of tension come over me. It was 11:30pm and the sky was lit up by a protest downtown. Police cars rushed past in herds and blocked off exit ramps. I turned on the radio and listened to news about George Floyd’s murder and the local public response. I’m home now, home means Oakland. That means back to an ugly, messy reality. My privilege allows me to take a week’s vacation in Moab, UT, and forget about the pervasive racism that affects POC daily. The world will never be perfectly fair, to live in equality is a concept unique to humans. A concept most people feel drawn to, yet there remains massive injustice in the world.
I watch humanity sway in flux from the street corner. Protestors shout, “I can’t breathe” as our society tries to understand what its predominating values are. How do we stand up for our values when the power structure stomps on them? In the case of George Floyd’s death, a police officer’s pride and hate resulted in the tragic murder. My heart hurts for my neighbors, my friends, and my country. Fear and anger can be powerful tools, and I support the radical restructuring of systems so that our world is not an inherently racist or discriminatory place. It is my value to be honest and compassionate as I explore the complexities of life. Addressing protests, racism, and all types of discrimination I encounter throughout my travels and at home is one way I will continue to present my experience authentically.