In November, our intrepid photographer and designer, Julia Cooper, went on two road trips with her dog, Toki.
From a brief stint in Marfa, TX to a snow-bound trip to Colorado, Julia captured some striking images of the American landscape. And, as a bonus, she brought along some of her favorite Winter-friendly Rye 51, Moore & Giles, and Drakes of London products.
"Why did I go? There are several reasons. One was a sense of urgency that I'm in my late 20's and still haven't traveled much. I've somehow made it this far without having seen Colorado and not visited one of the most iconic Texan art installations.
As another, I am quite literally running away from my problems, seeking solace and some sort of peace. While I'm doubtful as to whether or not I've achieved that, it's nice to get away from the city and recalibrate my mind by going on an adventure.
Thirdly, everyone should go on a truly solo vacation at some point in their lives. By striking out independently, you're at the will of only your own, free to explore new restaurants, hiking trails, and adventures.
There is a lot you can learn about yourself. (For example, I like to waste time by taking too many funny face selfies the world will never see, and I'm not afraid to spend Thanksgiving alone.) I can enjoy my own company and I learned that it's okay to be selfish at times because I deserve it. I also thoroughly enjoyed that random free steak I got at the Cooper Lounge inside Union Station.
Still trying to figure that one out.
Though maybe I wasn't entirely alone; I had my buddy, Toki.
He's a lot like George Clooney (i.e, a handsome lady's man with a bit of sophistication). Everywhere I take him, people stop to inquire.
In fact, he's literally stopped traffic in Deep Ellum and drawn crowds at Neiman Marcus. He is assertive, opinionated, confident, classic, protective, bold.
He makes me want to be a better human being. He is my doggy.
Being a Japanese Akita, his loyalty to me is second to none. He has been through my heartbreaks and life-changing decisions.
So, it was about time I repaid him for his patience and loyalty by taking him to Colorado to play in the snowy mountains and climb up to the top of a glacier.
He absolutely loved being in snow up to his chest; it was like he was a puppy again. (I met him when he was 3 weeks old. He was such a sweet little Akita potato.)
It would take a human lifetime to repay Toki for every smile, lesson, and moment of love I've received. Unfortunately, I only have twelve-ish years with him, so I wanted to make the absolute best of it by paying him back for his unconditional love by taking him to Marfa and Colorado.
In the end, I accomplished every bucket-list item I set out to pursue, which was extremely satisfying. (And I did it entirely on my own).
I admired Prada, witnessed the Marfa Lights, spent the night in a vintage Airstream, climbed a mountain, visited Vail, played in the snow, and explored Denver.
I went with no companion but my dog. I may not have found all of the inner-peace and healing I so desperately sought, but I am so glad I went.
A piece of Marfa and Colorado will always live on in my soul whenever I smell cedar and sagewood or see the snow flurries fall from the sky.