Ah, Utah and those legendary National Parks! In more than five years of full-timing in my Alto, I hadn’t yet made it to Utah. Sure, I’d been to Utah a few times before full-timing: a work trip to Salt Lake City, seeing friends in Park City, that sort of thing. But I’d never managed to get to southern Utah or, for that matter, northern Arizona or the southwestern corner of Colorado.
I remember my Dad talking about Bryce and Zion as some of the most amazing places he’d ever seen. I was maybe 11 or 12 years old, but something about those names and the awed way he spoke of those places impressed them into my mind as special. So you’d think I would have made it there post-haste after retiring, right? But somehow, I didn’t. I had crossed the country east to west and west to east half a dozen times in five years, but never had I routed myself through Utah. Until this year. Finally, I would see all those places. It would be one awesome adventure.
Before I dive into what actually happened on this trip, I want to set the stage by starting with what I thought was going to happen when I laid down my original plans. I was going to meet up with two friends in southern Colorado and then we’d travel through the “mighty five” National Parks in Utah before checking out the North and South Rims of Grand Canyon National Park. Sounds simple, right? Only when you’re camping, and trying to coordinate plans with other people, it’s actually never that simple.
For personal reasons, the friends couldn’t make the trip and so they let me know a month beforehand that I’d be back to my default mode of solo vagabond. I was definitely disappointed, both because I knew they so wanted to go and because I had been looking forward to hanging out with them for a month or so. But, and this is the life I’ve chosen, being a solo act means that when plans fall through, you’re on your own. So I sat with those feelings – sadness, loneliness, and wishing things would work out differently – for a few days.
Then I realized I could make it a different trip. I could take the month “off” as a sabbatical from my website and from social media. Instead, I would be “in the moment” with the places I would be seeing and not thinking of how to capture a view, tweet a photo, or write about a hike. After more than five years of publishing my travels on my website, I felt this would be a good time out to think about what I was doing with my time and why. Was Facebook really that useful to me? Did I need Instagram? And what about the constant movement of vagabond life? Did that still fit me or was it time for a change?
This trip would definitely be different than when I’d started planning it months earlier. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but off I went in early September, on the cusp of a new adventure.
And suddenly you know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.