banana peel

Lauren Neal

The Joy (and Lauren) of Camping: Marfa Edition


When Joy and I first mentioned to those close to us that we were going to be camping in the desert for a weekend, we both received the same response, usually followed by nervous laughter, "I just can't picture you guys camping!" I don't know if this just added fuel to the fire but come August 16 at 5:30 AM the car was packed floor to ceiling and we were set to hit the road. We made sure to pack the essentials (we were only staying for two nights) so the contents of our SUV included just the bare necessities:

Sleeping bags
A headlamp
Bug spray
A backpack
Portable charger
3 straw hats
4 blazers
5 pairs of pointed toe kitten heels
2 tote bags of cosmetics and skin care
1 gold silk slip dress
Too many variations of the same gold hoop earrings
3 small handbags
3 film cameras
And 2 REALLY excited girls

It's safe to say that the first two hours of our 6-hour drive went by super fast. We were so excited and in the midst of such devoted conversation that we didn't realize that we'd veered off course and lost cell phone signal. When we stopped at a gas station thinking we only had about an hour and a half left til Marfa, we were in great shock to realize that we had been driving in the completely wrong direction for over an hour and now just added almost 3 more hours onto our trip. Insert face-palm emoji, insert banana peel emoji, insert- YES THIS WAS MY FAULT, I was obviously the one driving! Thankfully we chalked it up to great conversation, laughed it off and headed back on the road. Between that pit stop and Marfa, we would almost rear-end a speeding dump truck, reach over 105 MPH (all Joy- def not me) and when just seven miles away from our destination, Joy was pulled over by a very polite policeman who let her off with just a warning. By the time we made it to Marfa we were ready to be out of the car and into a shower and something more comfortable. Which is exactly what happened after setting up camp under a tree. I'm sorry did you think we were going to pull up to El Cosmico and stroll into the airstream that Beyonce stayed in? Or possibly one of the little yurts or canvas tents with cots inside? No friend, Joy is a mom and I went to art school, between the two of us we were on a BUDGET so we checked in and began to set up camp which included the previously mentioned tent and a camo tarp Joy's husband, Ryan bought the night before. Between the efforts of the two of us combined, a borrowed hammer, and Ryan's living room crash course in tent building, we pitched that tent like two professionals! After lots of laughter and trying to use a rock to pound the metal poles into the ground of course. 

Aside from the delayed start, the weekend that ensued was one that I will absolutely never forget. We jam-packed those three days and two nights full of adventuring, museums, yoga in the desert and lots and lots of toast. Our original reason for visiting was for the women's retreat, Cherry On Top which was a great event filled with workshops, short films, music, local vendors and lots of fun! We decided to pick and choose what we did from the event and went off on our own most of the time as Joy was a tenured tourist of Marfa so she gave me the experienced tour. We even had a chance to visit the Davis Mountains State Park and Indian Lodge where we took pictures with the adobe buildings (all those outfits actually came in handy) and snuck into the pool before a rainy drive further into rocky terrain. I know, sounds like a dream right? Am I Marfa fangirling too hard? Too late, I already have so much on social media prior to this post but I really do finally understand all the hype that everyone gives to this tiny artsy desert town. I don't know if it was the camping under the stars, the devotionals at sunrise, consuming an entire load of fluffy mesquite bread or D. all of the above but this weekend was more than just magical. 

I left with a splinter in my thumb and an even bigger smile on my face than when I arrived, but this trip is one that I will always be thankful for! Joy is such a kind and bold spirit and I am so happy to be able to call her a close friend. We are already discussing going back, and I can't help but say I hope it is sooner than later! This time for a longer weekend and maybe we splurge on the yurt. If you ever have the chance (or for most of you, have been many times, I know I'm late to the party) I recommend making the drive for sure. 

I hope you enjoyed this recap of our girls camping trip! As always, thank you for reading.



Sister Act: A Conversation + Collab with Esperanza Heritage

Summer Lovin' x UO