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Heading West | Visiting Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns and My New Home

Just like that, My Great American Road Trip is headed back west. If you read my post when I started traveling back east, you’re probably very confused โ€” honestly, so am I. Over the course of 4.5 months, I crossed the entire United States from coast-to-coast THREE times. It’s a really long and complicated story, but basically I got to Tennessee and then decided to turn around and go all the way back to Oregon to stay for good. After all these months of traveling, I’m finally calling Oregon my new home, and that feels so, so, so good. Here are my photos from my trip heading west, where I visited Roswell, the Carlsbad Caverns, and experienced all the changing autumn leaves ๐Ÿ‚

missouri highway sunset

When I left Oregon a month ago, I headed straight for Missouri where I stayed for a week. Then, continued on to Tennessee. This sunset in Missouri knocked me off my feet, but it was also a turning point. While I was in Missouri, I started to miss Oregon more and more. My heart was being pulled into 100 different directions, but at the end of every scenario I played out in my head, I was led back to Oregon. Of course, I didn’t know I’d actually go all the way back west, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. Crazy how life works itself out, isn’t it?

nashville honky tonk central

whiskey row nashville

whiskey row nashville

nashville broadway

johnny cash museum nashville

mcfaddens nashville

Nashville was every dream I’ve ever had. This city is bustling with people, music and culture and it made me so happy. It was as if a country radio station came to life. Every corner had something fun going on, and I could have spent a full week there and still wouldn’t have seen everything Nashville had to offer. I can’t wait to go back one day!

gatlinburg tennessee

knoxville tennessee

greetings from knoxville tennessee

After staying in Nashville, we made our way to Knoxville to visit some friends! It was so much fun meeting new people and hanging out in a hip little city. If you’re ever in Knoxville, look up Da Hula Bowl! It’s a Hawaiian food truck and they’re really good friends! The food is awesome, but the couple who run it are even better. โค๏ธ

While in Knoxville is when we decided Oregon is home. So after spending a few nights in Knoxville, I made my way back across the country toward Oregon. Toward HOME.

ruby falls chattanooga tennessee

ruby falls chattanooga tennessee

ruby falls chattanooga tennessee

After leaving Knoxville, I was in Chattanooga. Driving through, there were tons of signs for Ruby Falls, which is 1,000 foot underground waterfall โ€” yes, really. It was incredible!

rainy day in knoxville tennessee

The next few days were a blur, and then I found myself in New Mexico!

carlsbad caverns

carlbad caverns

carlbad caverns

carlbad caverns

carlbad caverns

While in New Mexico, I went to Carlsbad Caverns! This was on my list for a long time, so I’m really happy I was able to go! It was AMAZING. If you ever have the chance to visit the caverns, I can’t recommend it enough!

Tip: Go early in the morning when they first open, and you’ll have the place to yourself!

roswell new mexico

roswell new mexico

roswell new mexico

Then I did another Bucket List item: Roswell. If you aren’t familiar with Roswell, it’s basically Alien Town, U.S.A. There were aliens everywhere, and it was awesome! ๐Ÿ‘ฝ

arizona desert

arizona state sign

arizona teepee

arizona highway

Driving through Arizona for the third time this year was amazing. The first time I was in Arizona this year, I experienced some major healing, and being back there again a few weeks ago felt so great!

nevada desert

nevada lake

Nevada was beautiful. It was a long and tiring drive through the desert from Las Vegas to Reno, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Some say the desert is boring with its 100 shades of brown, but there’s something so unique about it, it makes me really happy.

california state sign

Crossing the border into California felt special. I was born here in California, and being in the state always feels good โค๏ธ

california lake tahoe

full moon in autumn

mount shasta sunrise

mount shasta sunrise

When I woke up at 4am and left California, Mount Shasta came out to say hello. This was the most beautiful, golden autumn morning!

eugene oregon mckenzie river

eugene oregon armitage

eugene oregon neighborhood

autumn in oregon

desert sky

And finally, I made it to Oregon. I made it HOME.

The last week has been full of applying for jobs here in Oregon, house hunting, car shopping, and stocking up on warmer clothes. It’s been busy, stressful, overwhelming and full of unknowns โ€” but the best things in life are that way. I know life will slow down, and everything will figure itself out. But until then, I’ll keep working hard and praying harder. Nothing new there ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope life has been treating you well. I hope you’ve been embracing this autumn with your loved ones. And I hope any stressful situations you’ve been facing dwindle and make you stronger. โค๏ธ


traveling across country in one week

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4 Comments

  1. Sometimes when you have a decision to make and don’t know what the right choice is, things just happen the way they are supposed to. Glad things worked out for you.

  2. jasonlikestotravel says

    Looks like an incredible trip, even if it was only to get home haha. I’ve never had any interest in country music but a trip to Nashville helped me begin to appreciate it – such an incredible city that I’d love to go back to! Hope the start to life in Oregon is going well!

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