I never thought I would say I felt most out of my comfort zone in my travels while still in the United States. Slab City did just that to me. I say "out of my comfort zone" as a positive thing; a learning experience. I didn't feel unsafe or in danger. I don't think that is what being outside of your comfort zone means, but it can mean feeling just a little uncomfortable. I felt like I was somewhere unlike anywhere I have ever been or might be again.
After spending a fun weekend in Palm Springs, CA for a friend's birthday my sister and I decided to take a day to road trip the desert. I have wanted to visit Salvation Mountain for a while now because, well, Instagram. Not going to lie to you, my two dozen faithful readers, I thought I could get a few cool pictures. Plus it is art, which I am always down to check out. My sister agreed to drive the 90 miles out into the desert with me. Once we got to the small town that is just before Salvation Mountain we were in awe. It is such a little place and truly have never felt like I was more in the middle of nowhere. There were a few streets with houses, a gas station, and a grocery store and then we were off to the last mile until reaching Salvation Mountain. About 800 meters until pulling up we saw a sign that said "Welcome to Slab City, the last free place in the US." After walking through Salvation Mountain (see the pics, it was pretty great) we started talking to a volunteer that told us to check out East Jesus, another art exhibit a mile down the road. Deeper into Slab City.
Since we had made the drive we decided we might as well check out some more art. This is when my Mad Max experience kicks in (seriously, check out this art). Slab City is basically a squatters community. The land is free so it is essentially free to live there. Most people have RVs or tents, but compared to the cushy life I have been lucky enough to live it is an alternative way of living. Once we got to East Jesus we were met with art that fought against the notion that anything is trash and a famous "TV Wall" that you might notice from Kesha's video "Praying." The art was large in scale and pretty impressive, but different than walking into the Louvre. But that is the joy of art.
While walking around, not saying much, I asked my sister "So, what do you think?"
"What do I think? I think it makes me a little uncomfortable, " she said " but I think that is what the artists intended. And that is ok."