Moab Meditation

Moab. The red desert of Southeast Utah.

I am here again, under the sun.

“Fuck, man,” someone says.

“The vibes in Moab are fucking immaculate.”

Half a dozen of us stand along the cliff edge. Behind us, our vehicles parked right up on the edge of the desert. Converted ambulances, ratty trucks with pop-up campers, soccer-mom minivans — all dispatched the rugged road into this spot. Resting now, covered in red Moab mud.

In front of us, three highlines criss-cross the canyon. A friend walks on each. We watch, absent-minded. The sun shines down; goes away; a cold wind makes itself known. We all wear down jackets – on, off, on again as the sun comes and goes.

Moab warms the heart.

I am heading home, now only six hours from home after 4,000 miles of solo travel across the USA and Canada. I stopped in Moab to see my friends, who have been on the road for a few months. They are trying on the moniker of #Digitalnomads. One loves it. The other, a people person, seems to have her doubts.

But it is a Sunday, and we are not thinking of work.

Indeed, no one is likely to ask you what you do in Moab. If they do, it’s much more like they mean “What adventure sports do you do?” instead of “What do you do for work?”

The first time I came to Moab was with my father. “They’ve built quite the industry of adventure out here,” he said. It was his first time, too.

But after dozens more visits to the place, I think he had it backwards. The adventure built the industry.

The industry in Moab is still small, relatively speaking. But every year, more. You can get Starlink in Indian Creek, now. Soon, the question “What do you do” may begin receiving very different answers.

But for now, on the canyon edge, the shirtless kid next to me answers with an easy laugh.

“I basically just highline everyday.”


I have to leave, and I do so without much sadness. Homeward. But I like to imagine that person there in perpetuity — highlining, climbing, biking on the edges of your awareness. The Moab vibe, forever alive.

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