Friday, March 4, 2022

flying solo // marfa, tx

I'm done waiting for someone to go places with. Time to get out and fly solo.

Another four hours on the road from White Sands National Monument to Marfa. I put on my favorite tunes, roll down the window and relish the view. This trip I’ve decided to keep my phone on do not disturb. It has been the best decision. I enjoy the road, am relaxed and have no anxiety around answering messages. Which is what being on the road is all about.

30 minutes outside of Marfa is the famous Prada store. I decided to scope it out for my birthday photo shoot on my way into town. The light is perfect at 6:30PM (now central time) and I make a note to return the following day at the same time. There is no one there, just me. The sun is warm and low. I snap that mandatory selfie before finishing the day’s voyage. Today felt like a long one (6 hours and 45 minutes total). So long I’m not sure I even want to come back tomorrow. I don’t want to go see the Marfa Lights as I had planned. All I want to do is heat up my Trader Joe’s mac n cheese (trying to save a bit of money) and fall into bed.

And that is what I do. I don’t worry about tomorrow. I worry about how I am feeling in this moment. In this moment I am exhausted. I’ve found on this road trip, not doing it all is ok. It is about the journey. The Lights will be there tomorrow. I set my alarm for 7AM birthday morning. I want to watch the sunrise and walk through town before my facial at noon. 

7AM March 2nd (now 39 years old) I pull back the curtains and watch the sunrise reflecting off the Marfa tower. I get dressed, grab my camera and I’m off. I’m staying at the Saint George. Good bed, nice carpet, LOVE the Aesop amenities. Obsessed with the body cream!! Plus I am close enough to walk straight down to the street city hall. The building is sherbet in color. Not quite pink, not quite peach. Unique like the town it resides in. The water tower to the right, sparkles from the morning sun.

It seems that the entire town of Marfa is on the same page about how to present itself. Simple yet bold. Unique and intelligent. And everyone is kind. I find myself wishing all American small towns were this particular and well thought out. But then that wouldn’t make Marfa so extraordinary.

After my photo safari of the town, I head to breakfast at The Sentinel. The local newspaper, coffee house and shop all in one. I couldn’t ask for more. I bought a coffee, a breakfast taco and a local paper. I sat down to read it on the back patio. The feel of it in my hands brings me back to high school, college and the year after when I worked on newspapers. To have a physical copy of your work in your own hands, that feeling of pride never goes away. I find that this small town and slow life is becoming of me.

I found Mira Marfa, like many things, on Instagram. When it comes to gifts, if you need to get me anything, I prefer experiences. I saw Jackie on Instagram, loved her energy and had my mom book me a facial as my birthday gift. I was excited to support a local woman owned business. Over the course of my hour and a half facial, Jackie talked to me about skin care and living in a small town. But she always knew the perfect time to let us hold space for silence. She sent me away with a fresh face, gifts and the desire to stay in this town forever.

I’m feeling so relaxed I take a nap. I wake up refreshed and NOW I’m excited for my birthday portrait session at Prada. I put on my sequin dress, which has never seen the light of day. My hair is perfect on this, day 3. I hop on the road, happy to be in the car again. 

At Prada, I have to wait a bit to have the store to myself. That is perfect because the light just keeps improving. I set up my trusty travel tripod, use the camera’s app on my phone to line up my shot and start firing away. I get the shot, take a few more for good measure and download them to my phone. As I start driving back to Marfa, the sunset moves from bright orange and yellow, to a soft pink and purple. I pull over for one last birthday photo. Marfa you have won my heart in every way. 

Stay: Saint George (there were things I liked and disliked but overall it was great)

To Do: Mira Marfa Facial with Jackie (book a month in advance she is popular)

Eat: The Sentinel (grab a paper, a coffee and enjoy the sunshine on the back patio)

Shop: There are so many cute shops in town. I avoided them all. This trip, my photography will be my souvenir.


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