October has been really active and exciting for me! From October 6th to October 14th I stayed with my best friend Rachel at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was my first experience traveling alone; I'd never even been through an airport before! I was really freaked out on my first flight out of Lafayette (the plane felt tiny to me), but I got myself through it. This trip was a big deal to me as it was gift to myself for working hard throughout college and graduating, so I made sure to make the most of it.
I had never been to anywhere in the West before other than Texas, if that even counts. New Mexico looks quite different from Louisiana. The land is dry, the plants are desert plants, and at all times, you can see mountains in the distance.
On my first day in ABQ, some of Rachel's friends drove us up to the crest of one of the Sandia mountains. Rachel told me the name "Sandia" means "watermelon" in Spanish, and the mountains were named this because they turn a pretty pink color at sunrise and sunset. The ride up was very scary for me in the backseat, especially since the road was so curvy and I was looking over the edge of the road/cliff and straight down the mountain for most of it, but I survived! When we reached the crest, it was chilly and somewhat difficult to breathe because of the altitude, but we still took advantage of the moment, changed into dresses, and did a photoshoot.
About half-way through my stay, we attended the Balloon Fiesta with Rachel's good friend Emily. We stayed the night before at her apartment, woke up at 4 AM, and then drove over to the Balloon Fiesta Park. That morning the wind was still and the air was cold. Food and merchandise vendors set up like we were at a fair. We ate donuts and drank coffee while waiting, and I bought an adorable balloon pin that Rachel picked out. In the Balloon Fiesta Park we stood right next to balloons as they were inflating. I was really surprised that we were able to be so close to them! At sunrise they started going up one-by-one around us. It was amazing! Some of my favorite balloons were special shapes like two penguins, an owl, and spider-pig. It was truly the experience of a lifetime to see in person, especially with such good friends.
Another day, we took a train from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. This was my first train ride, and I really enjoyed it. The train we took was called the "Rail Runner", and every time the doors opened or closed we heard "beep beep!" just like the sound roadrunner from Looney-Toons makes. The ride gave me a nice preview of New Mexico's unique landscapes. Upon our arrival, we took a shuttle straight to Santa Fe's plaza. We mainly explored different art museums and galleries around Santa Fe, and I went to look inside of a few historic churches. We saw a Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at the New Mexico Museum of Art. Santa Fe was felt historic and charming; I loved it!
While in Albuquerque, Rachel and I took advantage of our time together to try out some new activities we'd been interested in: we went salsa dancing, visited more art museums, and tried out a pole fitness class. I tried red and green chili (though I never tried it "christmas"-style) and explored a picturesque, historic area in ABQ called Old Town.
One of my last days in ABQ, we hiked into the mountains to take a boudoir shoot with Rachel's friend Tia. It was cold again that day, but we still went for it!
I had an amazing time in New Mexico, and I'm really proud of myself for taking time for myself going out there. Here's to more travel in my future!
The rest of my photos from this trip will be up in my portfolio soon! Thanks for reading. :)