Camping and I go way back. In 1998 my family flew from Hawaii to California and hit the road in our Ford Club Wagon van. It was jam-packed with my mom, dad, five siblings, all of our earthly processions (including a very heavy box containing my mom’s precious rock collection – THEY WERE A NECESSITY), and a little hamster named Lucky, whom I snuck onto the plane in my hoodie pocket.  We drove from state to state, setting up camps along the way.  We encountered many firsts, including poison ivy (mistakenly used as toilet paper), chicken pox, SNOW (jumped in the first—albeit dirty—snow bank we saw in nothing but shorts and t-shirts…brrrr), bloodsuckers (uwww those were fun!), and chipmunks…SO MANY CHUBBY CHIPMUNKS. But seriously, the Redwoods, Black Hills, endless rivers and moose encounters are what really stayed with me. This adventure was extremely influential in who I am today and formed a deep love for nature, travel and camping during my formidable years.

Now fast-forward to White Sands, New Mexico. This was my boyfriend and I’s first camping trip together. I was v excited, he was not. The most nerve-wracking part of this trip was landing a camping spot. There are only ten spots available with no reservations accepted. So we risked it…flew to El Paso, rented a car, and drove about an hour to White Sands. Arrived an hour after the visitors office opened and scored the third spot! Woot woot. Granted, it was a weekday during off-season…so I’m sure that helped.

I’m not going to lie, White Sands is truly, hands down, without a doubt, unarguably, SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO BE one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. Nothing but rolling white hills as far as the eye can see with the most expressive, colorful sky. I was in heaven, literally and figuratively. I could not WAIT to get naked and run around like a crazy person!!! (My boyfriend, Ronald, opted for a comfortable pair of shorts and a linen shirt…pfffttt weirdo). For those wondering, the camping spots are very spread out (and about a mile hike into the desert), so don’t worry about that. Run free my friends, run free! Unless you’re like Ronald…then just walk at a casual pace and dig a hole in the ground for your beer stash (v clever makeshift fridge—some serious Bear Grylls shit).

All in all it was a magical weekend. Out of this world sunsets, miles and miles of gypsum sand, utter freedom…and some bomb ass photos (if I do say so myself).