I just finished the GQ Magazine article with Brad Pitt (because who wouldn’t?) about coping with his divorce, finding himself and becoming a better man. OK, Eddie Vedder. The magazine took him to multiple national parks in California for the photo shoot, where Pitt apparently frolicked with the land and talked matcha tea during his “weird” time. Well, I’m having a weird time, too. And like Brad, I'm asking question of the futile world – which I think is OK. I see why GQ chose to bring our beloved Pitt to the wilderness (The Everglades, White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns to be more specific) because America’s national parks inspire emotion.
In March I took a couple of days and did a road trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon to clear my head. I had to attend a convention in Phoenix, AZ for work, so naturally I took the opportunity to finally see a landmark I had on my bucket list.
I got a lot of questions on why I went alone – not how beautiful it was – but who was I with? No one, but I can tell you my trip wasn’t anything like the above video. If only we could be as graceful as Pitt. (#Kidding!) I don’t know why it was odd to people that I wanted to go alone, but I did and I needed it.
“For me this period has been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street.” – Brad Pitt
Nearly five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year and I was finally one of them. I drove into the park, paid my fee, and then went a few miles before I saw it from my dusty car window: the massive gorge a mile deep and spanning as far as I could see.
It was just before sunset, so I rushed to find parking and set out on the well-worn trail. Reddish rocks – carved out by 1.8 billion years of the mysterious Colorado River – looked like they were on fire during this magic hour. The air was fresh and the wind started kicking up, giving me a chill and little goose bumps. I fought the throngs of tourists to get ice cream at a sad, dusty (everything is very dusty and rundown there) shop.
I thought about taking an Instagram-worthy shot of my ice cream with the insane Canyon in the background but I ate it too fast. Instead, I found a rock ledge and camped out while I watched the sun dip below the trees and disappear. I have to be honest, the sunsets in Newport Beach over the Pacific are still my favorite but getting there and being part of this massive American monument really made me think about direction and flow.
I felt small and at the top of the world at the same time. In the GQ interview, Pitt said, “For me this period has been about looking at my weaknesses and failures and owning my side of the street.” For me this period was about strategizing and owning up to my emotions – but isn’t that what Pitt’s saying, too? Ironically, by getting away, I became more connected to my life and my surroundings.