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America and I never really got along. For more than half of my adult life, I’ve lived in far-flung places that have shielded me from the mass consumption, packaged foods and large living that I perceived was the United States. This summer, with the help of my camera, I set out to revisit that relationship.

After my long-time partner and I broke up last fall, I found myself single, with no home base, heartbroken and lost. Ever the gypsy, I imagined the open road would give me some direction and jumpstart my creative juices. And, so, with a wink to Jack Kerouac, I hopped in a rented red GMC with my dog, Bubba, and an Adele CD I acquired at our first Starbucks stop, and began a 35-day road trip through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada, in the hopes of making peace with America — and perhaps finding some peace within myself.

As a self-portrait photographer, I planned to capture my personal struggles while cruising Route 66 into the dry, cactus-flecked fields of the Southwest, but, thankfully, things never turn out as expected. Instead, while scouting locations or setting up my tripod, I discovered empty and enchanting miles of sandstone rising from the highway, mesmerizing mountains peaking in the lonely distance, and encountered the most eclectic cast of characters – all Americans, in America. Even though the road has a past and a future, pure present tense and beauty was all that existed, as I said yes to whatever experience presented itself. It was transformational at every level. This series, peppered with iPhone and Instagram images (yet to be posted here), serves as a visual scrapbook of my wondrous discoveries.

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

the row
the move
garage dip

bestwestern dip
front desk
motel man
hill top

the road
arches self
motel lady
independence pass

detail bay
motel couple

road to arches
self portrait