Roadtrip 2017 by Lisa Muller


Post Malone - I Fall Apart    press play and enjoy.


 

After living in Los Angeles for over a year, I decided I needed to change things up. I found myself severely depressed, gaining a mass amount of weight and honestly not doing what I love anymore. I accepted a job in Dallas, Texas which meant yet again... I was packing up my little jeep compass and driving back to Texas from California. Except this time... alone. I stopped at Salvation Mountain, California and slept in a Space Themed hotel room in Arizona. While in Arizona, I stumbled upon some creepy UFO shaped buildings, then saw the largest Pistachio in New Mexico and walked barefoot across White Sands National Park. Had to read a map for the first time since my data ran out on my phone gps and experienced the gas crisis in Texas due to Harvey. All in all this little solo trip was pretty cool, a little stressful but much needed for the soul.

 

While I've driven alone through multiple state, people always call me "brave". You're brave for traveling alone as a female. There are so many bad things that could happen to you, don't talk to strangers, don't get out of your car, don't do this and don't do that. Yes, there are some pretty shitty people in this world that will do pretty shitty things (like steal your car radio or license plate) but I refuse to let that stop me from experiencing life. We have one life and if fear is what is preventing you from doing something... then maybe you should reevaluate it.

 

With that being said, I hope you enjoy some of the images I created along this journey!

Ice Ice Ice, Baby by Lisa Muller

On February... something. Four Americans went to Iceland. We flew into a blizzard which left Iceland covered under 4 feet of snow. For 9 days we drove in a tiny station wagon with tiny spikes through the boonies of frozen iceland. We stayed at various BNB's, one was on a horse ranch which clearly made my life complete and we ended up getting the car stuck once on someone farm. Luckily they knew very little English and was able to dig out our car.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting some real beautiful people in Iceland. They were into punk music, had delicious beer and gave great hugs.Can't wait to go back to this beautiful country.

San Fran by Lisa Muller

Driving on the coast of California from Los Angeles to San Francisco was probably one of the prettiest drives I have endured in my 25 years of existence. 


The Doors - Summertime press play and enjoy.


Bailey and I took the Pacific Highway from Los Angeles all the way to San Fransisco making plenty of stops along the highway. In fact, on one of our stops I managed to talk our way out of trouble by playing the tourist, photography card. 

So, I only knew San Fransisco as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. BUT, back in the 60's; San Fransisco was the birth ground of new age music. Janis Joplin, Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead and a bunch of other musically talented peoples. When we first got to San Fransisco, we were staying on the out skirts of the city; right by the beach in a totally trendy town, which was easy to fall in love with. Besides our motel being super sketchy, the rest of the area was so cool. There were mom and pop shops, boutiques and a ton of cafes... and if you truly know me, you know my undying love for coffee. While San Fransisco held a lot of beauty and history, it also had a very heavy homeless epidemic. Coming from suburbia Long Island, I rarely ever seen a homeless person let alone a colony of shacks. Tents filled the park by the bay, bus stops taken over with tarps and shopping carts. Devastating to see and even more devastating that there's not much happening to relief these people. 

Our first day of being in San Fran was spent stalking beautiful surfer boys and drinking a pitcher of Margaritas, which later in the night I had the pleasure of sharing that drink with the toilet. The next day I forced Bailey into buying a tour bus ticket, from there we rode that bus for literally five plus hours, circling around San Fransisco and getting off at most of the stops to photograph. We relived our childhood by eating at the RainForest Cafe, stared at the hungry sea lions and managed to get some pretty images of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our trip we didn't have enough time to really enjoy our surroundings, or enough funds to do some cool things. Like, take a tour of Alcatraz at night or do some the studio tours in LA or stay an extra day in Marfa, Texas. But, the adventure that we did have and end up getting to experience was truly magical. I wouldn't want to share this life changing experience with anyone else honestly. We met some pretty cool people along the way. Alex the sheriff of Marfa, Texas and the Jeff the wild life guide at the Grand Canyon. We got tattoos that symbolized our love for adventure but how our friendship really started. Bailey rode her first subway, drove across her first bridge and got to see an actual beach (Sorry, Galveston isn't a real beach). For someone who recently turned twenty five, graduated from college and literally had no plans in California... I'm shocked I'm still here. Especially, without Bailey and even more shocked that it's been three months of me trying to find myself... alone in one the biggest cities in America. But, I'm doing it.

The Land of Sunshine by Lisa Muller

It's hard to top the last stop that we made in Arizona. With our expectations high, we stayed at the sketchiest of sketch motels in Phoenix and most definitely didn't stay long enough to even bother to look around. The adventure continues to Los Angeles, California; the land of sunshine, beach vibes and trash.


David Bowie - Fame (Press Play and continue on with your reading)


We're coming to the end of our road trip, finally making our way into California. The sights become redundant, the traffic starts to become more constant and the car is starting to sound a lot worse. Like... a lot worse. To the point I'm where I just know that the car is on its last tire. (lol puns) I remember distinctively not liking Phoenix but that was probably the area we were staying in and not wanting to drive anymore. We had already driven through three states and sitting in the car for another couple of days was beginning to make me stir crazy. It was hard to detach myself from the idea of not knowing what I was doing. I thought constantly about what life would be like after I dropped Bailey off at the airport and how nothing seemed real. 
 

At the prime age of 13 when NYSNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears posters, were plastered on my wall; one of my many dreams was to become a singer, an actress or to be on Animal Planet hanging out with Steve Irwin. Luckily for humanity the POP singing career died when I thought it was a good idea to sing in front of 400 people acapella style. There is footage of it and NO... you will never see it. (dear god I hope not) I grew up watching Marylin Monroe and Lucille Ball, listening to Elvis Presley and The Beatles, and idolizing the idea of "Hollywood". As a little girl growing up in middle class being poor as f#*k and dreaming of the day of seeing Hollywood, it really seemed out of reach. BUT ALL IN ALL WE MADE IT TO HOLLYWOOD.

Bailey and I were so stoked to be staying in a decent motel off of Sunset Blvd only a few blocks from the Walk of Fame and it even came with a free complimentary breakfast. The moment we arrived, we quickly explored and found ourselves a tattoo shop, in which we got tattoos because that's the rational thing to do when jumping from state to state. Bailey and I decided to get similar tattoos to commemorate our friendship and adventures together. After getting mountains tattooed, I also found another type of symbolism that was more personal. A symbol of conquering, overcoming, hard work, and willpower. Something that I'm continuing and will always strive for in life. Los Angeles was everything I did not expect it to be. It's massive, it's busy and it's very dirty; it resembled a lot like New York City. Living in Texas for two years, I got used to Austin and its lifestyle. Clean, sweet people and a little bit of traffic. Being thrown back into the NYC/LA life style, I found the vein in my neck again. 

We did the typical touristy things in Hollywood; we did a celebrity home tour, which I'm still convinced that they don't actually live in those houses... Maybe.  We walked on the Walk of Fame, pressured into buying an awful mixtape, rode the subway and ran from the homeless! Not realizing how spread out LA really was, we only stayed in Hollywood. Which was fine because we were exhausted trying to stay on our time schedule. I didn't take many photos in Hollywood. I saw a lot of things I liked but nothing enough for me to want to photograph. I didn't feel comfortable and I didn't want to take any photos. I thought Hollywood would be glamorous, but Hollywood is where dreams go to starve. What I mean by that is, if you're truly chasing after your dream in whatever you want to do with your life; you're going to have to struggle and push through the barrier of "Hollywood". 

The Journey to San Fransisco was gorgeous. We took highway 1 and drove along the coast of California. Something I've always wanted to do and now another thing has been crossed off my bucket list. 

New Mexico to Arizona by Lisa Muller

About 800 miles, around 12 hours and a constant battles with music taste; this was our largest stretch for the entire road trip. From Marfa, Texas to two states over into Flagstaff, Arizona. Did we do it? The suspense thickens, the palms become clammy, insert shortness of breath... Yea, we came, we saw and we most defiantly conquered. We made A TON of stops and I think we did pretty well for a long ass car trip.


(When reading this post listen to Florence + The Machine - St. Jude on repeat, I also recommend you to listen to this album cause its pretty great.)


This drive was probably one of the toughest drives for me. Does anyone else drive to cope? Or to analyze your life from an outside perspective? I couldn't help the perpetual thoughts that scattered the road while I drove into each and every daydream that could possibly fill the void in my mind. I thought about my past and my present. How I was literally driving into the unknown of my future. Does anyone really stop to think that each step thats taken is a step into their future? I feel my thoughts are so consumed by this feeling of being tiny. Like I'm so incredibly insignificant in this world. Don't you? There are literally 7.125 billion people in this world and here I sit thinking the world revolves around me. But, all I am is a spec on this planet. Maybe, that's why I allow my impulse to dominate my fear of living. I figured if I throw myself into the fire, I can come out burned but at least I tried. At least, I gave it my all and I can go home licking my wounds. I think we go through life thinking that things will fall into our laps because we worked hard for them. I know that's at least what I was expecting. I expected a job and a place to live, it be nice if I had a relationship and a dog but oddly enough that's not how life works. We're not sim characters; while I can calm myself down and realize the opportunity that has been placed in my hands, I can't help but feel the need to run back to safety; it's a constant debacle. 

While contemplating life and its existence, we came across a ton of abandoned small towns in New Mexico... like A TON. I'm sure that some of the towns we drove through weren't completely deserted but 96.3% most definitely felt like ghost towns. We stopped in Organ, New Mexico where we walked through multiple store fronts and odd houses. It was pretty fascinating and if you're into deserted abandoned places, well you'll love the images that we're taken here. Silence masked the loneliness of these vacant buildings that sat among the hot, blistering sun. Thanks to Google, the town was once a mining camp that was established prior to the American Civil War. Due to the Great Depression and the mines being filled with water; the town became infeasible to thrive in and soon people sought other towns to live in. Right now, New Mexico has declared this town as a historic site and the building can't be torn down. 

After a few more hours and one car inspection thanks to the border patrol douchebags; we made it to White Sands National Monument. It was funny when we were driving up to the landmark, all we saw was flat, dry, brown desert which quickly became a bright illuminated white. The transition from one textured sand to the other was astonishing and very odd. The wind was outrageously intense and with my pea sized brain, I of course thought it would be a good idea to change lenses outside. (Note: Don't ever do that. Sand gets into the tiniest of places.) White Sands was pretty but it wasn't until we leftArizona did I realize how captivating this white sand pit really was.

Among the many stop we made, I had Bailey pull over when we we're passing Valley of Fires Recreation Area, Carrizozo, New Mexico. Like if that isn't a mouthful, I really don't know what is. The place was pretty fascinating. It stretches 270 miles and is located between El Paso and Santa Rosa. The Basalt Lava was produced over 5,000 years ago and is overgrown with various green like plants. Still, it was fascinating to see and climb on. We had no idea what we were looking till after when we did some more research about the area. I feel that this road trip definitely needed to be expanded into a longer duration to properly explore our surroundings, but with a tight time schedule we did a lot for the last two days.

The sun set, the temperature dropped and traffic picked up. So,  in hopes that many of you have seen the movie Silent Hill and incase you haven't it's a pretty intense horror flick. Theres a clip in the beginning of the movie where the sky gets dark, dust begins to fall from the sky and an eeriness invokes your soul (Silent Hill Scene). Well, That is the distinct feeling I got while driving through Arizona and into Flagstaff. What we thought was originally dust hitting my windshield, we later discovered that is was snow... in Arizona. And while there were no zombie like nurses, it was cold. Luckily, since I had my life packed in the back of my car, I was able to find my awesome New York jacket. I don't think I've ever been so happy to be out of the car and crawl straight into bed. 

First adventure of 2016 by Lisa Muller

We headed to Marfa, Texas.


(When reading this blog post; listen to the band America and their album America. I feel that this album fits perfectly to the vibe of Marfa. America:America)


I have recently graduated from The Art Institute of Austin with my Bachelors in "Fine Art" (Photography) and with my recent mile stone, I've decided to go on a road trip before heading back to my hometown of Long Island, New York. I made my best friend go along with me on my journey to California and we've decided to make our first stop at Marfa, Texas. Marfa is located in the western part of Texas by Big Bend National Park. For those of you that live in Texas or have driven through Texas at some point in your life, you can understand how long its feels to drive 430 miles. With John Mayer on instant repeat, we made our destination and did a little exploring before sunset. 

While venturing around the neighborhoods, which is basically a photographers wonderland, I met a man by the name of Alex. Alex is a retired sheriff who currently owns a tiny barbershop next his home; where you can view the array of track trophies from his high school and college years. He talked about the struggles that he has faced being a Mexican and trying to become the sheriff in a white dominated corrupted town. Funny enough theres an newspaper article I found from 1992 that talks about how he had a dirty cop in his force. He seemed pretty content with being retired from the force and was glad that he didn't have to "watch his back" anymore now being a barber. He had a kind face and a beautiful soul. After our departure, Bailey said I wasn't allowed to make any more new friends. (Check out the article, its pretty fascinating; NewsPaperArticle)

We spent the night at El Cosmico where we stayed in a trailer, our trailer had a bathtub outside. I can't express to you how excited I was to be bathing under the stars with my bottle of wine. Marfa, was the coolest first stop on this trip of self discovery. I never felt so free from the world, not only did we not have cell service but the town was basically a deserted. Desolated buildings and silence filled the air; we woke up to the faint howls of coyotes in the early morning. If you ever have the chance stay a day or two but be sure its on a weekend cause you'll be forced to dine somewhere pricey and end up paying for a forty dollar steak. I mean it was a tasty steak but I just graduated... yo girl don't have that kinda cash.