Ayla’s Life Advice: Deserts and Ubers


Photo Credit: Ayla DeBord

What not to do when going on a desert adventure.

Ayla DeBord, Reporter

This year’s spring break was a much needed time away from school and stress. I took my break in Tucson, Arizona. I went to visit my friend Daisy and to soak up the warm weather. Recently, I’ve been really into photography, so I suggested we take a day to go to a national park. The Friday of my visit we made plans to go to Saguaro National Park, which is part of the Sonoran Desert. Two teenage girls going out into the desert alone, what could possibly happen?

We were in downtown Tucson, we ordered an Uber to get out to the desert. Our Uber driver seemed normal at first, but for the next 36 minutes and 11 seconds of my life, I had the weirdest conversation of my life. Besides the uncomfortable comments he made about ‘pretty girls’, on the way to our destination our driver got a text from his wife revealing she had an affair, and if that wasn’t weird enough, he read us the texts and asked us for marital advice. Obviously, I whipped out my phone and started voice recording the whole conversation. “I thought she was just hanging out with her friends,” our driver said with frustration. After he made us his temporary therapists against our will, he began to talk about how he interrogated Sadam Hussain for 18 hours straight when he was in the military. 

Once the Uber drama settled, he dropped us off 9 miles away from our actual destination and my friend Daisy left her bottle of Powerade in his car which was 75% of our water/liquid supply. Dehydrated and poorly prepared, we were out in the middle of the desert ready to explore. We saw lizards and many cactuses. Daisy was wearing Birkenstocks, we stopped walking a lot to pull the spines out of her ankles. As the sun began to set, we walked back to some picnic tables and took a bunch of photos. But once the sun was gone we realized that there was no cell service. Daisy tried ordering an Uber but no one wanted to come out to the desert to get us. 

Mistakes were made and now we would have to hitchhike. I was freaking out and I swear I saw a baby coyote run across the street in our direction. Underage girls hitchhiking in the desert at night seems like a recipe for disaster. But the odds were in our favor, and two girls pulled over. They were super nice and took us all the way past their destination to drop us off. If those girls didn’t stop for us we probably would’ve been stuck out there. 

My vacation was eventful to say the least. If a desert is where your future adventures take you, remember to use your common sense. Bring water, don’t talk to your uber driver if they’re creepy, and use common sense and schedule an uber ride hours beforehand.