The middle of nowhere, Phoenix, Arizona
I collect old photos of Phoenix, and most them on the web, and I often get comments about how nice Phoenix was before it was developed. Or before the sprawl. When most of it looked as if it were in "the middle of nowhere". I like those old photos, and I also like going to the middle of nowhere as often as I can, in real life.
I've always been an explorer. And when I get back from my explorations, people often ask where I went. It started when I was a little kid in my grandma's neighborhood. I would go out and walk for hours. When I got back the grownups wanted to know what I had seen. I could have said, "rocks and weeds" but grownups don't like to hear that. They need more structure than that. So I would say that I went to the tennis courts, or down by the railroad tracks. Grownups like that.
I never became a grownup I guess. I still like to look at rocks and weeds. For many years of my life my excuse was that I was an artist, and I used to always take a sketchpad with me. Grownups love that. Nowadays I have my camera, which comes along with me when I take my phone, but I rarely use it. When I do, I know that it pleases the grownups.
When I've come back from places I've had well-meaning friends ask "why would you go where there's nothing?" But I like to go where there's no Starbucks, no Big Game to watch, no trails to follow, nothing. For me, I'd put a sign that said "scenic overview" in just about the most "nowhere" places that you can imagine.
I love living in Phoenix, and there's a lot of the "middle of nowhere" there, and there always has been. It's true everywhere. There's a lot of the middle of nowhere in Los Angeles, too. But grownups can't seem to find these places. They're looking at freeways, and parking lots, and stadiums, and Starbucks.
I understand. If everyone went out to the middle of nowhere, it wouldn't be the middle of nowhere anymore. And that does happen. One day an area is out in the middle of nowhere, the next day there are parking meters because the traffic is so congested. So people like me keep moving. I'll always be exploring in the middle of nowhere. If you ask me where I'm going, I'll say "right back here". This isn't about a destination, this is about adventuring.
Image at the top of this post: South Mountain when it was the middle of nowhere.
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Posted by Brad Hall