When the dull hum of everyday life begins to turn into chaos, the only thing left to do is to go. Often in chaos I find myself in desperate need to disconnect. The more I am inundated with information, the more my emails pile up and the more my phone buzzes with texts and notifications, the less I want to answer it all. I become a recluse. I hide from the influx of information. The center of my soul yearns for the the urge to escape.
My friend Alyx is a visual / creative tour guide at her own travel start up called Shoestring Adventures. She organizes creative meet ups, leading small groups on exhilarating hikes around California, fostering new friendships and encouraging people to get outdoors. I love being her beta tester, researching new hikes and exploring new terrain.
So the stars aligned – I found myself in desperate need of escape, and here she was, handing it to me on an allegorical platter. We embarked on our journey to Deep Creek Hot Springs in Apple Valley, CA for a day of geothermal hot spring therapy. A long, dusty dirt road and mild two mile declining hike led us to paradise – six geothermal hot springs surrounded a secluded coldwater lagoon, complete with tire swing and slackline. Ambitious, weathered hikers from the Pacific Northwest Trail took breaks from their two thousand mile journey to soak their sore muscles in the magical water – children splashed and jumped from the coldwater rocks, while their parents watched from the comfort of the springs.
We hesitantly crawled into the first hot bath. At first it was far outside my comfort zone – a hot soak with strangers in an intimate, exposed setting. But come the end of the day, I was humbled by these stranger’s kindness. The hot springs seem to possess a metaphorical no judgement zone – no one asked why I was there, what I did for a living or where I was from. We spoke only of the present – the very moment we were enjoying. Small talk about the algae floating across the water. Laughing as hikers took a shot a slack lining. Staring at the clouds passing overhead.
For me, this was a much-needed lesson in being present, ignoring chaos, and trading complexities for priorities. In that moment, buried beneath the geothermal hot spring water, algae floating over my bellybutton, all I was left to do was to just simply be. There was nothing more to it – just be – enjoy the way the warmth hugged my body, feel the way the slippery rocks felt beneath my feet, smell the juniper in the mountain air, let my mind wander, let my chaos go, and just simply be.