California: Slab City + Salvation Mountain

Playing at Salvation Mountain.

Playing at Salvation Mountain.

I remember making a long and never-ending ‘things to see’ list before I came to America. I would sit and daydream about these things I wanted to do in real life, things I've only ever seen in movies. The feeling of driving for hours and ultimately getting closer and closer to something you have imagined about over and over in your head is hard for me to grasp. It’s like no other feeling really. On top of that ‘things to see’ list was Slab City and Salvation Mountain. And so during our last full day in America, I was able to finally tick this one of my list.

I truly believe we had managed to save the best till last. To describe this place for what it's worth and the magic I felt when I was there, I feel would still not do it justice. But I will give it my best.

Slab City takes its name from the concrete slabs and pylons that remain from the abandoned World War II Marine barracks. Once the original purpose for the scene passed, a bunch of squatters and hippies moved in and became 'slobbers'; the now locals of this strange and fascinating place. Salvation Mountain is an art installation by Leonard Knight, covering a hill next door to Slab City. It is made from adobe, straw and thousands of gallons of colourful paint. Leonard Knight lives in Slab City and spends all his time in loving and caring for Salvation Mountain. It is said he created this dreamlike place for his love of God and people.

Kieran and I had bought a handful of fireworks whilst we were in New Mexico with the hope of setting them off somewhere in the middle of Nevada. But because we were not able to see this through, we brought them with us and gave them to the slabbers in Slab City who were very thankful and kind. Within Slab City, the locals had built an outdoor open-mic range where they play acoustic guitars and sing songs all night long every Saturday night. The slabbers told us they would set off the fireworks we gave them during the following Saturday night at the range and invited Kieran and I to join them. We were saddened that we had to leave the very next day and was not able to take them up on the invite, however promised them that we would be back for a longer stay next time we are passing by — whenever that may be.

It was hard to drive away from such a place and it was even harder to swallow that it was all over. I started to reminisce about the last three months in my head and how different these travels had been to any other I have been on before. I realised that every single time I soar off to see the world, it had been for different reasons. To learn different lessons. To find and gain different wisdom. In the past I have travelled to sightsee, to lay by a beach every single day or to visit family. But it had become apparent to me now more than ever what I had found, gained and learned in chasing my wanderlust this time around.

I have found that I am but a mere girl looking for more brain to grow older and wiser, more heart to love even harder, more courage to follow my dreams and more wisdom to make myself a home wherever I may be in the world. And so I'm off to keep following the yellow brick road... all the way to London.