A Retreat to Joshua Tree

[The catch to publicizing anything over and over again is that your sincerity often gets lost and diluted in a sea of flashy flyers and “APPLY HERE”s. This post is dedicated to showing my favorite candid moments of Visions interns, stripped of any publicizing agenda.]

For the longest time, Joshua Tree has been the go-to place I think of in response to “Man, I really want to go on a road trip” – even though I know I have way too much homework and way less energy/resources/parental permission/friends/car to actually make that road trip happen. Needless to say, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to visit the area, until it became the surprise destination for our commission retreat (October 13 – October 14). 24ish hours, 13 people, 1 yellow house.

I wasn’t able to appreciate the experience then because the ticking reminder of my upcoming midterms and deadlines preoccupied my mind too much, but I’m good now! A stressful week has passed! And in turn, I can genuinely write and post about the most tender moments of that weekend.

Our yellow airbnb! [Photo by Cyrille Bautista]

Inside our yellow airbnb

Outside our yellow airbnb

What looks like a typical photostock image when you Google “Joshua Tree”

Backstory: We took 3 cars there. One group had complications with navigation and ended up pulling into a hotel 100 miles away from the actual destination (isn’t that crazy!!) so instead of arriving at 7, they arrived at 9 and since the roads were pitch black, we stood outside and waved our phone flashlights around so they could see where to turn in. Here’s us being excited and relieved that they finally arrived safely.

With everyone there, the festivities began. Naturally, we roasted marshmallows first. I’d say half the time we were out there, we were just watching the flames simmer into weak orange wisps and throwing whatever spare paper and tumbleweed we could find into the pit. But it was still fun! It slipped into that kind of atmosphere where everyone was talking at the same time but it didn’t feel overwhelmingly chaotic. A silent compromise of scooting half your butt off the bench to make room for more people, Daniel Caesar playing in the background, pre-made chocolate/graham cracker sandwiches, thinking you’re the best marshmallow roaster and then actually biting into a completely charred blob of sugar – all fun things.

Oooh, gotta tell you…there are lots of bugs there. I got bit by a huge black ant on my ankle and the swelling and itching still hasn’t gone down. Anyway, here’s Caitlin reluctantly killing a moth on the wall.

Later in the night, someone had the idea of FaceTiming our former commissioners from last year (Christina and Peter!!!!) and this was their immediate reaction when they picked up.

This is probably one of my favorite photos because it was taken in the morning, 3 hours after everyone slept past their 6 AM alarm. The warmth, the grogginess, the sunlight, the comfort – it’s all there. The strawberries and blueberries from Walmart were apparently not the best, but the presentation (courtesy of Chloe on the bottom left) looks nice, no?

Here’s some not-so-candid photos of us

With Love,

Your 2018-2019 Visions Leadership Commission


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