Looking for America

Vacation / All I Ever Wanted

Great Salt Lake
Sunset Over the Great Salt Lake, Utah, September 2016

You should probably listen to this song while you read this post. And no, don’t worry, it’s not The Go Go’s.

In September, E and I took a vacation to Utah. As it turned out, I hadn’t taken a vacation in a long time, and I really, really needed one. Yes, I’ve traveled a lot, but until recently I hadn’t done the sort of work that necessitates vacationing. I interned and worked part-time positions with clear end-dates. Taking a year-long fellowship felt like a big commitment.

In February, I started a new job — full-time, permanent — with more responsibility, challenges, and stress. And then I proceeded to work 9-5, Tuesday through Saturday (oh the joys of museum work), in a role that requires me to be “on” and high energy at least half the time, for several months straight without taking any days off. I was feeling depressed and anxious and desperate for some fresh air — preferably in the form of a hermitage in the woods, maybe on a nice lake.

Finally, work slowed down a bit and E and I went away for a week. We visited a place neither of us had ever been before (Utah!), admired beautiful scenery (hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, red rock against blue skies, the shear scale of Zion!), ate delicious food (Trestle Tavern and Red Rock Brewery in Salt Lake City spring to mind), and enjoyed spending time together (road trips and hiking are great for conversation). It was relaxing and inspiring and rejuvenating and this shouldn’t be revelatory at all, but I needed that. And needing that is new.

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


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