DAY I • TAKING FLIGHT

Friday, September 13th 

Roadside Reflections - Journal Entry No. 1   

6:36 pm - JFK International Airport • New York, NY // 11:57 pm - Microtel Inn • Salt Lake City, Utah

As I’m waiting for my flight to Salt Lake City, I decided it would be the best time to start writing my Land Art journal. I’m always incredibly cautious when writing in a blank notebook. It’s a weird habit. I spend a good amount of time thinking about what I’m going to write and then very carefully outline the words on the page as neatly as I can. When I complete a sentence, I reread it; if it’s not to my liking, it gets erased and rewritten. Most of the time, the eraser marks bother me, so I end up ripping out the page and start the process all over again. It’s an odd sort of pressure I put on myself to start things as perfectly as I can. This weird stress is even more apparent in this journal I’m keeping to narrate my experiences on Gerson Zevi’s Land Art Road Trip. I’ve already ripped out the first two pages. Writing on the first page of a new notebook is like making a first impression. Although, unlike a journal, physical interactions can’t be ripped out and rewritten; You only get one opportunity to introduce yourself. Tomorrow, I’ll be introducing myself to 18 strangers in a completely unfamiliar place. That thought is somewhat nerve-wracking, so this is a way for me to channel all of that energy into this notebook. Moleskine was kind enough to provide me with three lined notebooks, each one a different color. Of the three, I chose to start this adventure in the one colored green. Green is a color that symbolizes many things, one of them being nature, which this trip will definitely have an abundance of.

The project itself is called Land Art, which implies that art is one with nature. We’ll also be camping for more than half of our journey, which should be interesting considering that I’ve never camped in my life.  Green also stands for growth, which I hope to experience on this new adventure in my life. And finally, green symbolizes freshness and prosperity. In addition to being a month of growth, this is a fresh start. This is the first step I’m taking into my post-graduate life. It’s an opportunity that I have never experienced anything like. So it’s fresh, just like this Moleskine notebook. And to tie it all together, these were my initial thoughts sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Salt Lake City, Utah. The plane ride to Utah was a bit strange. I felt so unprepared for the destination I was headed to and so unsure of what I should be expecting when I arrive. I tried to look at it in a positive perspective and quickly my excitement overrode all of my nervous feelings. I spent the majority of my flight fixated on a series of Friends episodes. It put me at ease and entertained me for the entire five hours I was in the air. I audibly laughed a few times, which caused the girl sitting next to me to give me a few stares. She had a sweet face, pretty blue eyes and full lips, but her head full of colorful dreadlocks seemed to take away from her dainty facial characteristics. She seemed to be interested in me, while also judging me at the same time. We didn’t exchange any words until the plane landed. I turned on my phone and suddenly it beeped like crazy, warning me of missed messages and emails. She spoke, "Wow. Someone’s popular.” I responded, “No, I just forgot to mention to many of my friends that I was flying to Utah tonight.” She gave me another one of her judgmental stares, “How do you forget to tell people you’re going to Utah?”

She asked that question as if I told her I couldn’t remember my first name. So, I responded honestly, “Well, I was really preoccupied with New York Fashion Week this season so that had a role in my poor planning.” “What were you doing at fashion week?” she asked. “Um, I was writing, covering the shows, you know.” She took my answer, but instead of digesting it decided to further implore. “So, what are you doing going to Utah if you’re a fashion writer?” Great question, I thought, although I was surprised this woman thought she already knew so much about me that she could assume my interests couldn’t extend past fashion. I told her a bit about the road trip ahead of me. Her reaction implied that she thought I was expressing some sort of betterment over her, which I was trying very hard not to do, but her judgmental stares kept pushing me to verbally prove myself. So, I took it with a grain of salt and as soon as the doors to the plane opened I made a swift getaway from her presumptuous looks. When I exited the airport, a shuttle bus came to greet me along with a text from Alex Gerson making sure I arrived alright. He informed me that I would be sharing a room with a girl named Sheenagh (pronounced She-nah) whose flight from Ireland should have also just landed. A cute girl with strawberry blonde hair sat beside me on the van. I assumed it was Sheenagh, but said nothing to her until we reached the hotel verifying it was the girl Alex had texted me about. Between delays and layovers, Sheenagh had been traveling for nearly 24 hours to get to Salt Lake City. She seemed incredibly hazy, but she managed to get a small conversation out. She told me that she is an artist, but didn’t inform me of much else. As soon as we got to the motel, she got ready for bed. While she did, I nervously called my mentor to hear a familiar voice. It would calm my nerves before going to bed in a shared room with a stranger at the Microtel Inn in Utah.

Originally published on Promote & Preserve.