Arizona Dreamin: My Solo-Venture to the Sonoran Desert

Three weeks ago I was sitting on a balcony in Arizona, staring at the desert, hot cup of coffee in hand, fire blazing behind me, and wildlife within arm’s reach. It was quiet. And beautiful. And I had only one thing on my to-do list: enjoy myself.

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Yes, this happened.

For years I had wanted to take a solo venture to the desert. I had dreamed about it, talked about it, and thoroughly researched this “phantom trip” I would take one day. And then one morning in mid-March, Sean and I were having coffee after dropping Abi off at school and I must have looked exhausted because he said, “I think it’s time for Arizona.” And everything in my spirit lit up and I said, “Oh my gosh. I think you may be right.”

And that was that- it felt exactly perfect and so I just went with it. I looked up flights, coordinated with Sean’s schedule, found my hotel, got a rental car and booked everything. Boom. Bam. Boom.

Yesssss……

The night before I left, Sean had a gig in Alabama. Since it was only 2 and a half hours away, he drove home after the show and by the time I finished packing my backpack and satchel (that’s all I took) it was almost one in the morning. Turns out deciding which books to take on a trip like this is a much more serious and lengthy process than I had anticipated. Shortly after I zipped my bag for the last time, Sean walked in the door. Despite us both being exhausted (he more than me) we were both buzzing with excitement.  Four hours later, Sean and Abi were in the car driving me to the airport.

As the plane pulled out of the gate, I couldn’t believe that we had come up with this plan just a mere two weeks prior. Now I was in the air, zooming towards dry heat, sandy terrain, adobe fireplaces, and dreamy sunsets. Yesssssss…… I highly recommend the spontaneity of this. There’s something to be said for the electricity of good quick decisions.

SO alas- after two flights, a million podcasts, and an amazing drive through the desert, I was there.

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When I got to the check-in counter they told me my room was being cleaned and in exchange for my 20 minute wait (I couldn’t have even parked my car and walked back in 20 minutes) they would be giving me free drinks and food for the night. Umm… Hello margaritas and flatbread with smoked salmon. (And everyone said Amen.)

smoked salmon

While I ate my food a family of hikers walked in and one of their little boys (maybe 7 years old) heard the music playing from the speakers overhead and in a foggy post-hike fatigue he began doing the robot. I mean, seriously doing the robot.  I was impressed. He was maybe six inches from me the entire time and yet he was so in the zone he didn’t even see me.  This went on for a much longer time than one might expect. I thought I was in some alternate form of amazing reality. Eating smoked salmon with a bangin’ margarita with a view of the most phenomenal southwestern adobe lodge and there’s a SMALL CHILD DOING THE ROBOT NEXT TO ME? Is this real life? Eventually, I gathered myself, hoisted my backpack over my shoulders, and a kind woman led me through the 40 acre property to my private abode. On the way I noticed unlit chimineas on the corner of every path…. Sure enough- twenty minutes later I smelled smoke. They burn the chimineas at sunset and I could even see one from my front porch. (Additional praise hands.)

Minutes later, I was alone in my room and I quickly discovered an iced bottle of champagne with a note from one of my girlfriends telling me to enjoy my trip. My gosh. Talk about taking a natural high to the next level. Surprise champagne? It was all too much. I gasped,  danced a little, and then did a running belly flop onto my king-size bed. #thisisthetruth

Overall, there are zero words to describe this trip. It was everything I could have dared to dream – combined with a million more unfathomable visions. This was my first sunset on my private front porch minutes after I arrived (!):

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It was a truly out-of-this-world, not-sure-if-it-really-happened, crazy-phenomenal trip.

mae mae sonoran

For three days, I sat on my private balcony and read, watched the birds, wrote in my journal, listened to podcasts, ate good food, walked around the property, warmed up by my fireplace (it’s cold at night), watched the wildlife from my balcony, gawked at the sunrises and the sunsets, and just took. it. all. in.

This is the sunrise on the first day. Notice the moon still in the sky. (!!!!!!!!)

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Time stood still and flew by. By day 2 I had already taken 3 bubble baths (what?!?!?!!!). (Soaking tubs + crazy hot water + podcasts playing in the corner equals HEAVEN) and on my third day I drove around to see more of the desert. I zoomed back in time to sit on the balcony and watch the sun fall below the sand. It. was. spectacular.

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12961492_10103218739677065_4510853870620741550_nBy the time I got to my airport gate Monday morning, I was missing Sean and Abi something fierce; and when I landed I had a renewed appreciation for the Tennessee hills and the lush terrain. Home is home is home. But wow- what a venture it is to go somewhere your soul has been calling you – and just see what’s there.

At the Pheonix airport you have to take a shuttle to get to the car rental kiosk. During this ride, I met a woman from Australia. She had just arrived from Indonesia. I asked her what brought her to Arizona and she smiled and said with a wild eye, “Just to come have a look around.” I laughed and nodded, “Me too.”

Isn’t that reason enough?

Where have you been wanting to go? What’s been nagging at your spirit? I HIGHLY recommend you consider jumping. We could all use a few more “just to have a look around” moments.

Happy trails friends!