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by | 2017 | The Lills, Travel

After visiting Dallas, Texas, we stopped in Roswell, New Mexico and went to their annual UFO festival. At the very end of the event a person told us a big storm was coming, so we got in our VW bus and waited for it to pass.

Early in the morning, before the sun came up, we got back on the road and made it all the way to downtown Santa Fe for a treat day lunch. We loved our drive through the skinny streets. The architecture was spectacular, the energy was cool and everyone looked happy walking about the historic city.

The Lills | Santa Fe New Mexico | Travel VW Bus Road Trip | Sticker

We looked for a pet-friendly restaurant and found La Casa Sena, a stunning place to dine outdoors. It was tucked away and it had an incredible patio covered in greenery. Our kitten, Scotia, enjoyed walking the little path while our food was being prepared. He and our dog, Sunday, even got to sit with us while we ate. Our salad was massive, our soup was stunning and we were so glad we chose La Casa Sena as our first treat day meal in Santa Fe.

Although downtown was relatively small, it sure packed in a lot of energy, people and commotion. Like moths to light, we were drawn to the live music filling the air. When we made it to the square, people of all ages were dancing and clapping along in a very sixties kind of way. We felt like we had time traveled and all of a sudden, we were surrounded by peaceful hippies.

The Band Stand event was very different from other gatherings we’ve joined in other towns and cities, where alcohol usually sets the tone. Everything about the ambiance was loose and there were clearly more pot smokers than drinkers in this crowd. It gave us a glimpse at what it can look like to have a group of people together, vibing in a positive, loving and innocent way…Woodstock came to mind.

Santa Fe is a very energetic place and that was made clear to us the moment we arrived. We got very lucky and were invited to stay at a beautiful adobe home, where we enjoyed peace and quiet for a few nights. The two of us, our pup and kitten made ourselves at home, cooked delicious meals, fell in love with the views and serenity. The universe had once again taken care of us and proved we could get so far with so little.

The location of the property was off the beaten path and out in the desert. It was amazing. The moon lit up the whole place at night and we slept like babies. One morning, our kitten, Scotia, surprised us by jumping into the shower with us. He let us pick him up, rock him like a baby and let the shower run water over him. We made some wonderful memories at the adobe home and later on, revisited downtown Santa Fe. Enjoy the video we put together of the adobe desert home below.

We spent the next few nights at another adobe styled home, where we enjoyed Fourth of July fireworks from the upstairs patio. We spent a few nights in our VW bus after our glorious stays. Later on we enjoyed a quick treat stay at a cheap hotel.

Traveling Dog - Santa Fe - The Lills
Sleeping Kitten - Cat Sleeping On Dog - The Lills
Traveling Cat - Santa Fe - The Lills
We met a very cool guy there, who told us to go check out the petroglyphs on a mountain top nearby. We parked our VW bus and hiked with our dog, Sunday, and our kitten, Scotia. Once we made it to the top, we were amazed by how many stone drawings there were. It was a very special and peaceful spot to spend an afternoon. We spent another three nights parked in our VW bus and we were running low on funds and found a local coffee shop who had free WiFi, so we sat in the bus and worked diligently on finishing design jobs.

The days we spent working from our bus at the coffee shop, we were approached by so many people that were homeless and/or struggling. We gave out food and water and talked with each person that looked to us for aid. Some were working the system, but many were in honest need and had no place to go. We couldn’t see why the town didn’t have something in place to clean up, educate and motivate the homeless.

Many people have never experienced a day without food, water or shelter. It is a truly humbling experience that teaches appreciation for the little things in life. During our visit to Santa Fe, we had a moment where we had to get really creative to get by. The most ironic moment was when we were kindly asked for money from someone in need when we were down to twenty bucks. It was tough to not be able to help in the moment and surviving on so little was certainly an experience.

To go from staying at beautiful homes, to living in the bus and penny-pinching was a pretty intense shift. We were relieved to come across Baja Tacos, a local taco joint that offers 4 tacos for $5. They filled our tummies and got us through the hardest part of our Santa Fe visit. We even had to cash-in our change at a local CoinStar to get by.

The days we had nothing we filled our time by working on the computer around the clock. We moved from the coffee shop over to one of the community parks and found a cozy spot in the grass. We opened up our computer, got to work and let our dog and kitten frolic around us. We met so many welcoming, open and friendly people there.

By letting go, being proactive, accomplishing our design tasks and enjoying our days with almost nothing, we woke up one morning to a paycheck and a surprise. We were invited to stay on top of a healing crystal quartz mountain that sits next to a national forest. We drove up and up and up, parked our VW bus and walked into the beautiful casita.

After days without much, we couldn’t believe where we now were. The casita was private, relaxing and exactly what we needed. The outdoor patio area overlooked stunning mountains and we enjoyed glorious meals made of healthy ingredients. We spent a week in the beautiful home and a few nights in the guest home on the top of the mountain. It was paradise, the experience was rejuvenating and more than we could have asked for.

The Lills Photo | Hearts Way Ranch | Santa Fe | New Mexico

While we were at Heart’s Way Ranch, we casually hiked one of the paths through the forest and were drawn and pulled toward the beautiful quartz and rocks. So much so that we got terribly lost and had to use our cell phone to locate the property where we were staying. As we made our way back, cleansing rain began to come down.

We enjoyed stretching, breathing, relaxing and sleeping over at a building on the property called The Sanctuary. We were visited by a bear and a coyote that night. Neither of them were bothered by our presence. They were more interested in the trash that a previous guest had been put in the wrong bin. In any case, it was very cool to see them up close and even our dog, Sunday, got to watch them from the window.

We coined the property “crystal mountain” and enjoyed a few more nights in the guesthouse at the very top. We enjoyed a relaxing hot tub experience and continued to be in awe by the views. The whole experience was healing and we made some very cool new friends who inspired us with their big hearts. They even had us over to their home on the property for a wonderful dinner and evening.

The Lills | Santa Fe New Mexico Mountains | Travel Journal

By their suggestion, we headed over to the International Folk Festival, where tons of incredible craftsmen and artists displayed and sold their work. There was so much to look at and there were tons of different musicians scattered around the event. It made for a lovely afternoon.

If there is one restaurant we could suggest going to in the area it would have to be Harry’s Roadhouse. Their food was so fresh, they had tons of veggie options and their parking lot was always full. We shared a few really healthy bites there and had one fabulous treat day meal we will never forget.

Although we had been in Santa Fe for over two weeks, we couldn’t leave without checking out Meow Wolf. It seemed as though we heard about it every other day while in town and when we finally visited, we realized why there was so much buzz about it.

Meow Wolf was put together by a group of artists who filled a warehouse full of experiential art for people to enjoy. We ran up and down and through different interactive exhibits. It was so exciting to be stimulated by such creativity.

That evening we said goodbye to crystal mountain and Santa Fe. The two of us, our dog and kitten piled back into the bus and headed on to our seventh destination. As usual, we had no plan as to where to go next, but we ended up exactly where we were meant be. See what happens next on our cross-country adventure here!


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