One of the greatest joys I have as a professional tour guide is showing people from other countries, the real America. The one that they seem to not really know or understand. Like today, I was out in Death Valley with a small group. The words I kept hearing were “WOW”.. “I never knew”… or “I didn’t expect this…”
Then you meet the people who made it their life quest to discover just what makes America such a wonderful country. Like this couple in the above photo. They are from Sweden. Literally. They came over first to see western Canada, then up to Alaska and now into the lower 48 States. Thier ultimate destination? Argentina. Their van is a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 that they had shipped here from Sweden for the journey.
When we were talking about what they have seen and where they are going next, they kept saying how they had mapped the entire journey but keep getting behind their original schedule because they keep seeing new and more beautiful things they did not expect to see. America has many natural wonders that it has left them awestruck.
Yes, the photos they saw online of Death Valley, Yosemite and the other parks are always wonderful and gives you wanderlust. But to stand at the brink and look into a valley filled with colorful rocks and unique rock formations is something entirely unexpected.
When you think you will only spend a few minutes here and a few minutes there, you realize that its an hour here and an hour there and soon the day is gone and you are still looking for more amazing things to see.
We also talked about how you really don’t need to take so many photos as most tourists like to do. By doing that, you are really missing out on the beauty before you. That it’s best to take a few photos to help remember it all later. The mind will lock it all in and be more beautiful than any camera can capture.
It’s best to just be in the moment. Look around, absorb it all and just enjoy whats before you. Put down the viewfinder a little more and just open up, let it all sink in. This is YOUR vacation. Enjoy it with all your senses!
My guests in Death Valley kept commenting how they really enjoyed just standing amongst the rocks and taking in the natural silence of it all. That the silence could almost be deafening, but what a wonderful and unexpected experience it was.
Talking with the Swedish couple, I asked if they post their journey online, they said they post a few pic every day or so on Instagram. But not as a business or to make money because that takes away the fun of the journey. They post to let their friends know what they are up to.
They never mentioned a website or Instagram handle and since my own guests had returned from their journey into the unknown, I never got to pursue the conversation beyond talking about Monument Valley and Mile Marker 16, their next big journey after visiting Las Vegas.
Monument Valley was their idea, I told them about Mile Marker 16 just passed Monumant Valley, where Forrest Gump stopped running and turned around to go home. They suddenly realized they needed to add yet another stop to their growing list of “must experience” moments America.
As they left, I saw they had a website printed on their back window. Unfortunately, I was only able to snap a quick smartphone pick of it and am unable to read what it is.
So if anyone knows of a couple of Swedish vagabonds traveling the Southwestern United States in a blue Mercedes 4×4 Van, please pass on their website, I would love to catch up with them!!