I close my eyes and shut off my brain’s internal GPS system; when I re-open them I see a foreign land. Surrounding me is barren, red landscape stretching out as far as my eyes can scan; random alien-like rock formations are peppered throughout and clay colored mountains are in the distance. There are no trees, instead green bushes pop up and vie for my attention as if they are begging for liquid attention among this dry landscape. It looks like no one lives here…nature is king of this land. I look at the asphalt road ahead of us stretching into horizon and wonder how this land remained so untouched. Mongolia, Morocco, Egypt???
No…the American Southwest.
Ever since I’ve been traveling, I play this game with myself; I try to look at America through a foreigner’s eyes. The same way I look at Morocco or Mongolia; in awe. I wonder how people live here and what they do to survive. Are they bored, or a little crazy? I conclude the people who live here must love seclusion and beautiful landscapes. Then abruptly among all of this natural beauty comes an alarming digitally produced voice breaking the silence, “In 1.5 miles turn right.”
That was ‘Penelope’. She was our hi-tech guide leading us to one of the most popular destinations in the world; the Grand Canyon. When Steve and I left Vegas on our road trip into Arizona and Utah, we decided it wasn’t just 2 of us in the car for a week…our car’s trusty GPS unit was also there with her shrill bit/byte voice. I decided to name her Penelope; after all, we might as well all be friends if we were going to spend a week together.
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