to the colorful journal of Marissa Berrini, creative director, artist and curator living in Los Angeles. Launched in 2010, Marissa's online journal tells of adventures with her husband Sam, their fur kids, the occasional cocktail creation and lots of conversations with inspiring people. This blog serves to celebrate tiny victories, inspiration for those times you're stuck in a rut and bring together a community that wants more than a perfectly curated feed of eye candy. Sometimes you just got to throw it out there and see where it goes!

Town Talk: Salvation Mountain

Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose For the last month I've been forging ahead on getting everything together for the studio. It's been a year of taking risks and somehow I landed with the dreadful flu to top it all off this already nullifying month. While I was sitting in bed sneezing my head off, I reflected upon all the adventures I had during the last half of 2013. I traded my musical journey of 2012 for self-exploration. I managed to attend Unique Camp, fly to San Francisco for Alt Summit, go off the grid for Burning Man and then end the year with Camp Mighty in Palm Springs. My intention was to share these pivotal trips but honestly the timing wasn't right. I had just left an energy sucking job and needed time to just breathe. No explanation on why I chose to do all the camps, excursions and side trips was needed and when people asked I simply explained by saying I was on a sabbatical. Now I'm not saying that it was all Zen-like and blissful. There were some low moments but most of the time that was caused from losing faith in myself. I was on a journey to discover who I was again after a few years of creative stifling. Like all of these stories, the answer was right there the whole time but I didn't realize it until I had left my comfort zone. One of these places that tested my faith was Salvation Mountain. I had been dying to go there for years and every time I saw photos of this coloful mountain gracing my instagram feed I'd feel a ping in my heart knowing I HAD to go there. Well, easier said than done. Let me explain why...

My goal of getting to Salvation Mountain was hinging on doing it with everyone else. You know this story. I told my friends about it and even tried to entice them with ideas of doing some photo shoots but it didn't happen. The enthusiasm was there but everyone was super busy. Regardless, it's a miracle to get anyone together for drinks let alone driving out past Palm Springs. I also tried to get Sam to go with me. I was convinced that my strategy of suggesting a camping trip would be an easy win to getting me to my destination. But again, no luck. Sam prefers the mountains or beach for camping—not desert camping. Feeling hopeless I decided to table this NEED. I would get there at some point. Fast forward to Camp Mighty.

Now I haven't written about my trip to Camp Mighty yet but what you need to know is that when you go, they ask you to bring your life lists with you. These "life lists" are goals you would like to attain and when you're at camp, you share your top 5 in hopes that people will give advice, show support, collaborate or help you find the missing link in what you are looking for. For me I put Salvation Mountain down. I figured this would be the perfect moment to do so. The weekend went by fast and my list of 5 wasn't getting any love so during lunch I sat with my friends and just blurted out: I'm going to Salvation Mountain! Who's down to go with me? {CRICKETS} Yup, pure silence. Well, reality check: if you want something done, you've got to do it your motherfucking self. So, I told my lovely roommate my plan and she supported me with text messages checking in to make sure I was alive. (Yes, Mom...I know you aren't going to be happy with this story.)

Fifteen minutes later, and filled with nerves and excitement, I jumped into my car and headed out towards Salvation Mountain. I called Sam but no answer. I called my friends but no answer. I thought about calling my mom but I knew I'd get into trouble. (Totally in my thirties and my mom still knows how to put me in my place.) It's like the Universe was saying: you wanted this and now go it. I felt so alive! I was cruising in my car, blasting LCD Soundsystem and had all the faith in the world that this was going to be a journey of a lifetime. With my trusty navigation by my side, I would be at my destination in less than 2 hours, just in time for sunset and then back in the car for closing dinner at the Ace Hotel.

Being one for distractions, I couldn't resist making a pit stop at the Salton SeaPicture this: sun is blasting and you come into a town that looks deserted and you see this gleaming sliver to your right. It looks like liquid metal as you drive past seeing just a touch of whatever it is. Well, then you see the glory. It's the damn Salton Sea! I have never seen anything like it and I grew up in a desert. There is a big body of water smack in the middle of nowhere. Damn Mother Earth, you are crazy talented. Of course I had to stop and go take a few pictures. While I was snapping a few selfies (blaming the salty air on this one) I noticed a smell of dead fish. It was intense. Then I noticed I was the only person out there and I was near an abandon gas station. Now enter FEAR. What was I doing? This scene was straight out of a Walking Dead episode. As I slowly entered into freak-out mode, I looked down and saw I was standing in a pile of dead fish—old, decaying, skeleton fish. Now my slow motion turned into sprinting back to the car, grabbing a few sticks off the ground just in case I needed a weapon while getting the hell out of Dodge. Yeah, Universe, I got your message loud and clear. Real funny.

Back on the road and calmed down just enough to not have a panic attack, my trusty nav alerts me Salvation Mountain is only 15 miles away. Hallelujah! I had only seen one other car pass me so I was itching for civilization. Well, those 15 miles went by and I was not at Salvation Mountain. Instead I was off the grid. My damn "trusty" nav didn't know shit. It just decided to drop me at the city line of Niland, Californa. Luckily, I had taken screenshots of the directions from the Salvation Mountain website. As I went forward, I headed into a residential area that was desolate. Praying I didn't have another flashback to The Walking Dead, I kept my eyes pealed for clues if I was on the right track. Finally, I saw a beacon of hope. While I thank God and my angels, my breath was taken by the most colorful and beautiful mountain I had ever seen. The moment was surreal. My journey was worth it. I spent the next couple of hours filling up my camera of all the details. The light was dreamlike. The other visitors and I shared stories and our experiences on how we discovered this hidden gem. I even shared my unicorn hood with a delightful older woman visiting her sons from England. She had to be in her late 70s and asked if she could take a photo with my crazy unicorn hat from Burning Man. Her face lit up while her husband took a photo of her donning my crazy hat. My heart was filled with joy. Simple, crazy moments that could only happen to me.

Learning about the mountain and Leonard Knight's commitment to building this legendary place reminds me that everyone has their own journey. It's ok if you aren't the next Beyoncé or Kim Kardashian. You don't have to be. All you have to be is happy and I was at that exact moment. As I headed back to Palm Springs, the Salton Sea was graced by the most gorgeous sunset filled with colors I had never seen before in real life. It is an image I will never forget and will always hold dear to my heart. Once I was back at camp, I knew I could take care of me and maybe that's all I needed—a reminder that it's ok to be alone and go after what you want. Sharing the story with friends that night over dinner, I felt invigorated and sound. It was a perfect ending to a crazy journey.

Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose Salvation Mountain / Bourbon and Goose


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