Turquoise Trail

This, for me, was one of the most unreal experiences of the trip. I mentioned in my last post that I had very little expectations going into Santa Fe – I was excited to go but didn't research much about it. I did, however, read about a place called the Turquoise trail that connects Santa Fe and Albuquerque. About 40 miles long, the road weaves through a few unique villages and landscapes, including an option to end the trail with a slight detour to the top of a mountain. We figured it would be the perfect way to end our day in Santa Fe. So we went for it, and the 40 mile drive ended up taking us OVER 5 HOURS. Every 2 or 3 miles we had to get out of the car and take pictures. There were some pull overs that had designated scenic view spots and I am pretty sure we stopped at every single one. There are also these tiny tiny towns along the road so we of course got out and did some window shopping. To say I was blown away is an understatement. It was such a gorgeous trip and took me so far out of my element.

Before this trip, I had been stressing and worrying and getting slightly depressed about the direction my life was heading. I have so many goals and dreams... and at one point I looked at my life and somehow I was working 12 hour days 5 or 6 days a week instead of traveling and exploring the world like I said I always wanted to.  This trip had me leaving my job for a month, traveling in a car with my boyfriend and our dog – something I thought I had always wanted. But all of a sudden I was so scared to do it. I kept stressing that I was making the wrong decision to travel and instead I should just grow up, be an adult, and further my career like everyone my age is doing.  Sometimes I get in my own head about what life is suppose to be. I have always lived (and danced) to the beat of my own drum, but sometimes seeing all of my friends live normal lives with typical 9-5 jobs and having my (wonderful) parents push me to develop my career and stop dreaming honestly causes me think twice.  I know what I want but should sometimes I question SHOULD I want this?  I want to travel and live.  To me, working in an office 8 hours a day with 10 days off a year is not living.  I understand the vast majority of people do that (and are happy), but I don't want to do that. Yet, hanging over my dreams of travel remains the thought: am I crazy for thinking I could or should be different? 

Then this day happened, and all of that fell away. The stress, the worries, the anxiety, gone. I stood at the top of the Sandia Crest mountain, watching the sun go down as my dog ran around in snow that was so deep she could barely walk in it, and I couldn't help but feel perfectly content in my choices.  I had a moment of clarity while up there, and realized that I needed to stop worrying and stressing about what people thought of me and my grand plans to see the world.  I was going to do what I wanted and if they think I'm crazy, so be it.  I realized how unbelievably lucky I am to have Matt by my side, who never scoffs at my dreams or plans.  He wants to be there with me as much as he can but that he also wants to focus on his career over the next few years in ways that I don't. While we have different ideas in how life will play out and what we each want from life, we unconditionally support each others dreams no matter what, which is incredible.  The Turquoise Trail began a series of realizations throughout the entire trip that proved to be reassuring in a cathartic way: I got to show myself that I could live out these crazy dreams I have.

How to get to the turquoise trail from Santa Fe:  
Take Cerrillos Road (NM State Highway 14) south from Santa Fe. As soon as you go under Interstate 25 you are on the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway!

The route we followed went through the Turqouise Trail and right before the end we reached an area called Sandia Park. There is one gas station across from the road before we drove up to the top of the mountain called Sandia Crest.  The road to the top is about 14 miles long. There are view points along the way to stop at and a visitor center at the very top.

Other Road Trip Posts: Our Route // Arkansas // Dallas // Santa Fe // Grand Canyon // Vegas // Death Valley // Tahoe // San Fran // Costanoa Lodge // Big Sur // Playoff game in Pasadena.