Snow Flower (Sarcodes Sanguinea), Sequoia National Park, California, 2009 California Highway 1, Near Carmel, 2009 Sunset on the Pacific Coast Highway, California, 2009 California, GalleryCalifornia If you ask me where my home is, I’ll tell you that it’s Bern. But if you ask me where I’m from, I’ll tell you California. It’s not where my heart is anymore but it’s where my roots remain firmly planted. My soul might resonate more to the desert southwest, but I was a California girl, through and through. Californians learn to drive as a form of insurance against being housebound in a state where public transportation, especially between cities, is primarily committed by freeway. In my crowd of teenagers, it was common to take off in the car and be 500 miles away 12 hours later. “Hey, let’s drive to San Francisco for breakfast!” (Spoken in the evening in Los Angeles.) By my twenties, I had driven most of the numbered roads in the state because being in my car was preferable to being home. But I never took photos and instead had to revisit many of those places with a camera when I was older. So these are photos from those journeys of reclamation, during which I visited places I’d been before and needed to see again. Often I took photos while driving alone, because driving in the west is, for me, a form of deep meditation and utterly peaceful and I didn’t have to explain my stops (or failure to stop) to anyone else. These photos are all of places it was necessary to reach by car. Despite the horror it wreaks on the environment, my memories of driving are all positive (with the exception of trips punctuated by natural disasters, which were terrifying but quite funny in retrospect). The car has always been my refuge, perhaps explained by the fact that after driving almost three-quarters of a million miles, I have failed to get into even one traffic accident. Statistically I understand it is not so, but there is no convincing my brain and heart that a car on a solo trip is not the safest place in the world to be.