I recently had the opportunity to visit some friends that live on the West Coast. As a lesson learned from my "survival handbook for living in the Midwest" that I find myself mentally penning, frequent trips to beautiful parts of the country are unparalleled in value. Finances are often tight and there is usually a far more sensible way to spend my income. However, I have never once regretted such an excursion for there is not much that packing a back back and jumping on a plane will not remedy. You'll be all the better for it.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover
— Mark Twain

Although this trip was brief, my soul feels well refreshed, like "taking a nap in the back seat of a car after a day at the beach" (Thank you Pushing Daisies for the visual).

These images are from a few treks out into the desert where we were met by breathtaking sunsets in the midst of thunderstorms, a rarity in southern California. Experiencing the ruggedness of the wilderness always has the astute ability to bring perspective and wonderment at the same time. I will never grow tired of the stars glistening above with the cool wind at my back. This is where life takes place.