Alisha Moreno was nine years old when she experienced the desert for the first time. Her family moved from Orange County, CA, to a condominium in the hi-desert, owned by Alisha’s grandmother. Alisha’s father, a single dad to three children, was looking for a change and moving to the desert felt like the right move.
Alisha says driving up the Yucca grade was like taking a step back in time. The town of Yucca Valley was basically just Highway 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). But there was a big difference from how we know the highway today. There were no street signs, no traffic lights, no stop signs, no movie theatre, no Starbucks. There was a Walmart on the west end of town, as the super one hadn’t yet been built.
Alisha has lived in the Morongo Basin for over 25 years and says it’s been quite something to watch the small quiet, sleepy town expand so tremendously.
Alisha described the transition to a new school and meeting new friends as ‘easy’. With her siblings close in age, they shared friends in common. And Alisha immediately found a great friend who lived two doors down – they are still friends today. With a lack of formal activities, Alisha describes what she and her friends and siblings did to entertain themselves in the desert. In this episode, she also shares a story about her first extremely memorable experience in the Monument, now know as Joshua Tree National Park.
As Alisha approached her high school graduation, her thoughts turned to attending college back in Orange County. Having grown up in the desert, she found herself feeling a bit of culture shock at college. She worked two jobs to pay for school and rent and found it wasn’t just the economics that were unreasonable, but she missed her friends, her family and the stars. After a year, Alisha returned to the desert.
Currently, Alisha is wrapping up her senior year at the University of Redlands and applying to PA (Physician’s assistant) programs. Alisha’s interest in the medical field began at age 16, with a part time job as a receptionist for an oral surgeon. She also has a keen interest in helping people.
Even with the demands of being a mom to a teenager, working, schooling, volunteering, Alisha has time to run her business, Soy Good Candles. What started as a little hobby kit to make candles for herself has turned into a full-blown business. You’ll find Alisha’s candles and air fresheners in a number of shops in the Morongo Basin – including Soul Connection. Or look for them on her social channels: