Joshua Tree… or Jakku?

– by ChiChai@Empire –

What’s great about living in California is that you don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away in order to explore. California alone has nine National Parks.

Christopher and I  have a goal to see them all. Already in the first week of 2018, we pursued that goal by visiting our second Californian National Park: Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree is unlike any other place I have ever seen before. The horizon, in all its directions, stretches over a wide array of landscapes. And because of its flatland, your eyes can easily wander and wonder through it all.

The plants themselves seemed out-of-this-world.  For instance, these Dr. Seuss-like cacti here are from the Cholla Garden.

This prickly-armed tree is one of the famous Joshua Trees of Joshua Tree National Park.

I read that the Mormons who first migrated towards the area compared the trees’ reaching arms to the arms of a Biblical character named Joshua who reached his hands towards the sky to pray. Hence the name.

Who’s more photogenic, Chris or Joshua?

Not one part of the park looked like another. On top of having a wide array of plants, the rock formations were incredibly unique as well.

Some were puzzling…
(We stared at this rock combination for a while, wondering if aliens tried striking through it diagonally)

And others gave you the urge to climb

Some of the mountains even looked like a myriad of rocks clumped together


Prior to this trip, I researched about the park and couldn’t help but think of Jakku when seeing photos of it. Jakku is a desert world in the Star Wars universe in which the protagonist Rey’s story began.

From film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Luke Skywalker: Where are you from?
Rey: Nowhere.
Luke Skywalker: Nobody is from nowhere.
Rey: Jakku.
Luke Skywalker: Yeah, that’s pretty much nowhere.

Because of Joshua Tree’s similarities to Jakku’s tones, Chris and I decided to have a little Star Wars inspired photo-shoot.

By commemorating Star Wars’ relevant revolutionary spirit and its growth of  women and POC leading characters, I revamped a pair of my shoes that already has the force in them.

Inspired by Nike’s Air Force One campaign The Force is Female as well, I used my Air Force One’s as my props to show that:

I am one with the force. The force is with me.

–  Chirrut Îmwe

Luke Skywalker: What do you know about the force?
Rey: It’s a power that Jedi have that lets them control people and… make things float.
Luke Skywalker: Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.

Luke Skywalker: What do you see?
Rey: The island. Life. Death and decay, that feeds new life. Warmth. Cold. Peace. Violence.
Luke Skywalker: And between it all?
Rey: Balance and energy. A force.
Luke Skywalker: And inside you?
Rey: Inside me, that same force.


As I said in the beginning, you do not have to travel to a galaxy far, far away in order to explore. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is already stunning.

To complete our day in Joshua Tree, we waited patiently for nightfall to further revel in the vastness of this National Park. Once the sun completely submerged below the horizon, nothing illuminated our surroundings but the infinite stars above us.

The Light — It’s Always Been There. It’ll Guide You.

–  Maz Kanata

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