You know that moment when you realise you are in that destination?
It’s that iconic moment.
Here are a few examples:
- Cambodia: The Sunrise at Angkor Wat
- Italy: The Sassi in Matera
- And more.
But what about my recent trip to USA?
I was asked by Alastair from Traveldudes before my trip there what would be my iconic American moment.
I confess there was a multitude to choose from in this grand inter-continental country but I would only be focussing on the three states of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.
So, I plumped for walking on Route 66 at sunset with my sunglasses on, tousled hair and a camera slung round my shoulder.
That sounds cool, right? I would be a lean, mean and handsome machine.
Yet, when I completed the epic 10 day #iTrekHere trip with Trek America, I would find that my iconic moment would be something completely different yet so near to the truth.
It wasn’t being under the flashing ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign after taking a ride on the limo.
It wasn’t staring down the entire length of Zion National Canyon and being reminded of Jurassic Park.
It wasn’t facing my death down a thousand feet drop over the side in Bryce Canyon Park whilst riding a Lone Ranger style horse.
It even wasn’t bouncing around in an off-road hummer on the sand flats near the adventure capital of the South West USA: Moab.
Very closely, it wasn’t the first view of the Grand Canyon, let alone hiking the 12 mile route in and out of this natural wonder.
Or even it wasn’t the rooftop pool party at Vegas, although I’d struggle to remember what exactly happened!
What about Route 66? Did it promise me that iconic American moment? No, it didn’t. I was still hobbling after my Grand Canyon 12 mile hike the day before and it was the middle of the day with the sun beating hard on my head. I didn’t get that ‘wow’ feeling.
But it didn’t matter. I already had my iconic American moment days earlier. I already had my relevation that I was in the United States of America, let alone my sixth continent I now have travelled in.
For me, my iconic American moment has to be Monument Valley:
Set in the distance, we came to the ‘Forrest Gump’ point, where the character suddenly decides to stop running across the length of America.
I could see why. Facing this view, you can’t help but feel you’ve seen the best of USA here.
The open road stretches towards Monument Valley, deserts on either side of it. This is where the Navajo lands are, a sacred and spiritual place.
Walking on the road to it, I lifted my eyes to stare in the distance behind my aviator sunglasses. That’s when I had that thunderbolt moment. I was in America, this view replicated in many tv screens full of westerns, epic journeys and more.
You could say that I almost skipped with delight. But I ended up swaggering, full of American bravado, towards the camera lens and saying to you:
‘This is my iconic American moment.’