For the Summer 2017 edition of East Kern Visions, I wrote a travel piece on a different part of California. People associate the state with beaches and Hollywood, but these ghost towns of the state’s Mojave Desert are the foundation of California’s modern history. The people This piece focuses on the people who lived in these wild places, and those few who choose to continue living in them.
“South Korea’s population is fifteen times denser than that of the US. Waste is not an option for this country. Korea imposes fines on people who disobey mandatory recycling laws and even rewards those who report non-recyclers. The country lives on the edge of sustainability.”
There are expected things you encounter when traveling, like different languages and food. Then there are unexpected things you encounter, like how South Korea has a radically different waste management system than most Western countries.
Every Westerner I met through my three years in South Korea had a story about how difficult it was to learn how to throw things away, and there were very few resources available to learn how it works. This piece aims, and succeeds, at resolving that problems.
“The most intense heat I felt was during my trip to the ghost town of Darwin for my story “Ghosts in the Dust.” When people talk about the middle of nowhere, they may not know it, but they’re talking about Darwin. The place is at least a two-hour drive from anything resembling civilization, and you have to drive through part of Death Valley to reach it.”
Ridgecrest, California is a town built around a military base, isolated in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The government built the base here specifically because of how isolated the area is, and the area is isolated because of how inhospitably hot it is. For reference, this town is an hour and ah half drive from Death Valley.
After surviving (barely), my first summer in Ridgecrest, I wrote this piece to remind local residents that the area they call home is unique.