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 — 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 🍂

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

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!

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. ❤️

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

After leaving Knoxville, I was in Chattanooga. Driving through, there were tons of signs for Ruby Falls, which is 1,000 foot underground waterfall — 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!

carlbad caverns

carlsbad 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! 👽

arizona desert arizona teepee arizona state sign nevada desert

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 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 ❤️

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 eugene oregon homes autumn in oregon

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 — 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 😉

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. ❤️

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

Tennessee | Exploring Franklin, Natchez Trace & the great outdoors! (Part 1)

For months, I have been dreaming about Tennessee. There’s something about it that holds part of my heart, so when it was time for me to step foot into the great state, I was over the moon. I’m a huge country music fan, there’s nothing better than sweet southern folk, and the thought of orange sunsets makes my heart sing. Here are some photos from my trip to central Tennessee – Franklin, Natchez Trace and the great southern outdoors.

tennessee rain

Chattanooga tennessee

So far, it’s stormed in every state I’ve been in. I love the rain, and I especially love that each rain feels different – granted, that’s probably all in my head, but I love it nonetheless.

natchez trace tennessee natchez trace tennessee natchez trace tennessee

Tennessee forests are gorgeous, green, and strangely familiar. I loved exploring the Natchez Trace, just south of Nashville – if you’re in the area, you have to visit!

biscuit love franklin biscuit love franklin biscuit love franklin

If you’re in Franklin, you need to go to Biscuit Love. I’ve never heard of it before, but as I was driving down the streets of Franklin, saw a mile-long line out front and decided to stop for lunch. Best. Idea. Ever. It was so good! I ordered the “Princess,” which is a spicy chicken sandwich on one of their famous biscuits (and of course, I got sweet tea to wash it down 😎)

franklin tennessee

franklin tennessee franklin tennessee franklin tennessee

Downtown Franklin was everything I dreamt of and more. I can easily see why it’s named “America’s Favorite Small Town”! I only spent a few hours here, but I wouldn’t mind staying forever.

tennessee road trip tennessee road trip

The long drives have been healing, seeing towns appear and disappear from view, watching hills turn into dirt, into forests and back into cities, tracing corn crops and creating stories for the clouds hung in the sky.

natchez trace tennessee tennessee outdoors natchez trace tennessee natchez trace tennessee natchez trace tennessee

The weather cleared up enough to take the boat out, which was beautiful. I always feel so free out on the water. Anyone else?

tennessee sunset georgia peaches

On the last night, I soaked in this beautiful Tennessee sunset. I see now why Tennessee’s color is orange – just look at this bright sky! I’ve fallen in love with Tennessee, and I can’t wait to be back!

Keep an eye out for Part 2 of my Tennessee trip soon! 😉

Tennessee | Exploring Franklin, Natchez Trace & the great outdoors! (Part 1)