Travel Tuesday: Death Valley x Joshua Tree

“Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” ― Anaïs Nin

This post comes from our friend and talented photographer/videographer, Michael James Murray.


Escape. A word that means to break free from confinement or control, or a form of temporary distraction from reality or routine. It’s very important to have these escapes in your life, whether it be a weekend getaway or a full-on holiday to an inspirational place…that place possibly being Death Valley and Joshua Tree.

I find myself visiting Joshua Tree every year since I first went several years back. It has an allure and a refreshing sensibility about it that I’ve only found in a few places, some of which I’ve detailed via Yosemite and Iceland.


This time around I roadtripped from San Francisco through Yosemite, with the ultimate destination of Joshua Tree in mind. However, after an amazing experience in Yosemite, we decided that we should check out Death Valley as it would only be a small detour to Joshua Tree, and it seemed like a place that would also possess the inspiration we were seeking.

Death Valley is a massive national park located east of the Sierra Nevada. Within the park, a diverse set of environmental salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons and mountains occupy the landscape. It is also the hottest and driest national park in the US.  That said, its textures within the desert are absolutely breathtaking, as if hand-carved by a sculptor.


Making our way through the valley we stopped along the way, taking photos of the surrounding landscape and taking advantage of the brilliant muted color palette the desert floor and mountains offered.

After Death Valley, we made our way to Joshua Tree, arriving late in the night at a beautiful guest home in the desert. I took several photos of the stars that evening, one of the perks of staying in a place far from all the city lights.


After enjoying a beautiful cotton candy sunrise the following morning, we had wonderful brunch at a restaurant from some Philadelphia natives called La Copine. It was the perfect way to start our day before heading to our sound bath experience at the Integratron, a 38-foot high, 55-foot diameter, all wood dome, designed to be an ‘electrostatic generator for the purpose of rejuvenation and time travel.’ I wouldn’t say I necessarily time traveled per se, but it was one of the more interesting things I’ve ever experienced.

Needless to say, we sorted our minds and body before escaping into the desert for the afternoon. As I mentioned, it’s one of my favorite places in the world, if nothing but simply for its vastness and natural beauty. We wandered for a few hours, meandering through the joshua trees, taking photos and basking in the afternoon desert sun.


Everyone has their own way of escaping. And everyone has their own reasons for why they want to escape. As we enter the new year it’s good to keep this in mind, so not to let the ordinary become your shackles, your walls and escape for the ecstasy that the world can offer.

+ What is your great escape?
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5 years ago

What a stunning place, and which beautiful photographs! Makes me want to explore this area very much!

5 years ago

Just got back from a week long trip in Joshua Tree! That place is so magical, I already can’t wait to go back!!

5 years ago

So beautiful and amazing! I’ve passed by there but never stopped by. Must visit soon! <3