I never got island fever living on Maui. Maybe growing up there prevented me it. After moving to Southern California and driving up in the San Bernardino National Forrest I realized that if I ever went back to Maui I would grow anxious with little places to travel.
In 2003 I drove solo up to Santa Cruz for a writer’s conference. It was my first and biggest sabbatical in years. A few years later I went camping at Joshua Tree. I set up at Hidden Valley and spent the evening reading a book by lantern light.
For most of my life I’ve been fascinated by the desert. It is not the heat or the wildlife or flora. It’s the vast emptiness and apparent desolation. Death Valley in particular enthralled me to the point that I wrote stories about it as a kid with secret science fiction bases hidden there.
So last year I went to Death Valley. I loved my weekend away there from the road trip there and back. I camped at Mahogany Flats at about 8 thousand feet above sea level. The highlight may have been seeing the stars that night.
This weekend I still plan to go out to the Mojave National Preserve. I may camp out on the desert floor if it’s cool enough or 5 thousand something feet at Hole in the Wall. It’s another road trip out there and another sabbatical for me to slake my desire for solitude.