TRAVEL | Joshua Tree by Alexis McDonald

photo courtesy of Dendology

photo courtesy of Dendology

This past weekend I visited Joshua Tree, California. Located 2 hours outside of LA, Joshua Tree was a sweet escape from the hustle, bustle, and smog of the city. Joshua Tree was hot and beautiful, quiet and majestic. There’s something about being out in nature amongst the sun, the moon, the dirt, and the rocks that just put things into perspective for me.

photo courtesy of Dendology

photo courtesy of Dendology

For the past year, I’ve been put through the ringer not physically but mentally and spiritually. Last July, I moved to Los Angeles to start a new job and graduate school at the University of Southern California (USC). I’ll never forget when I got the call offering me job, it felt like divine intervention. For months, I had been worrying if I had gotten the job and began strategizing how I was going to afford to move across the country if I didn’t get it. But the sound of my soon-to-be supervisor’s voice saying, “Would you like to accept the position” was the final piece of the LA puzzle. Blessed is the only word I can use to describe that moment. Two weeks after that phone call, I landed in LA ready to conquer the City of Angels. Little did I know conquering this city means conquering yourself first.    

photo courtesy of Dendology

photo courtesy of Dendology

For as long as I could remember being a creative was something I wanted to do whether that would be through journalism or filmmaking, both of which I studied in undergrad, I wasn’t certain of but I knew that telling stories of Black people was important to me.

Growing up, I constantly asked for cameras so that I could capture moments of myself, my friends and family. I was a bonafided Internet girl, I had a MySpace, Bebo, Tumblr, and Facebook. I would use those platforms as an archive, organizing all the pictures I’d take into different albums. Naturally, when I got to college I finally took my first photography class. Of course, I loved it. I enjoyed being behind the camera so much that, I applied for a scholarship at my school to stay an extra year to study photography. I got it! Clearly, all the signs were pointing at me to give this photography thing a go so, at the top of the new year, 2018, I applied to USC. USC was the only photography program I applied to 1) all the other university deadlines had passed 2) I knew I qualified for the job I currently have 3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Hello it’s LA - which is another story click here to hear what I have to say about LA. Anywho, I applied and needless to say I got in. Everything aligned so divinely that there was no way I was not bring my ass to the West Coast.

photo courtesy of Dendology

photo courtesy of Dendology

Fast forward nearly a year later, I can honestly say that LA has been conquering me more than I’ve been conquering her. She has been beating me up, she has made me look at myself in the mirror and realize that I’ve been straight up sleeping on MYSELF. I’ve let self-doubt and fear scare me so far away from my dream that even when the opportunity for me to really let myself be as creative as I wanna be knocks on the door I pretend I don’t hear it. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you recognize that the only person in your way is you. For days leading up to my trip to Joshua Tree the universe was giving me signs that everything I desire is at my fingertips. The full moon at Joshua Tree was just the cherry on top or should I say strawberry.

The June 17th moon was called the Strawberry Full Moon and was in the Sagittarius constellation. According to The Hood Witch, this moon offers us a time to connect to our inner truths on a deep level. I had no service in the desert so I didn’t learn about the significance of this full moon until I returned home but, when I looked at the moon on the horizon, I just knew that was the ultimate sign from the universe for me to trust my instincts and go for it all. Throw away self-doubt and start taking the steps to cultivate the life I desire.  

Peace, Love & Light,

- Alexis

photo courtesy of Dendology

photo courtesy of Dendology