One of my best friends, Jennifer, lives in Portland, and we’ve been camping buddies for several years now. Our ultimate goal is to visit every single National Park in the United States. The camping trips we take always seem to frame important life events—graduations, getting sick, receiving life-altering news, getting well, and, finally, my trip to India. When Jen told me she planned to visit Utah before I left, I thought it would be too hectic to arrange a camping trip so close to my departure date (she planned to visit June 24th-26th, and I left the U.S. on June 27th). But I make not-so-great life decisions sometimes. Especially when camping is involved. So on a whim, we decided to pack my car and head down to southern Utah on the eve of my year in Jaipur.
And what a trip! We got in a good 15 miles of hiking, and I managed not to drive us to our deaths off the edge of a rather scary cliffside road in Escalante National Monument. We also checked off one more National Park from our list—Capitol Reef. From scrambling up slot canyons to wading in gorgeous waterfalls, it was a trip to be remembered. Jen is one of my few close friends with medical school aspirations, and I love how we can talk for hours about what medicine means to us and how realizing this dream of being doctors will fulfill us in essential ways.
Here are some photos of us exploring, feat. the My Little Pony bandaid they gave me at the Department of Health when I got the aforementioned typhoid fever shot (refer to previous post).
Camping is probably my favorite escape from the stress and pressures of everyday life. When you’re exploring the red rocks or stargazing in Joshua Tree or taking inappropriately long hikes through the Tetons, the outside world seems so far away. I don’t know what to expect in India—there are so many unknowns. But I’m glad I’ll still have camping with good friends to return to once I’m back in the states.
So now I’m off! I’ll check back in soon, assuming I haven’t melted in Delhi’s summer heat.