Collected Wisps of Thought

Does anyone else have a “life list”? It can be either a mental list or one you actually write down, but it’s filled with things you want to do before you die. I am a firm believer in life lists. I’m also a firm believer in keeping them unique to each person and not going in for the cliches. For example, skydiving is something many people might feel compelled to put on their life list simply because, that’s what you’re supposed to do right? It’s even in a country western song about living fully before you die. But personally, I have no interest in skydiving whatsoever. I can happily live and die without ever having experienced that.

Travel though, that’s HUGE on my life list. And although the Grand Canyon might seem like a travel cliche, it was definitely high on my list. I’ve been out west, even lived out in Oregon for a while, but I’d never been to the Southwest and really wanted to go. In addition to the Canyon, I really wanted to see the meteor crater, cliff dwellings, the petrified forest, Hoover Dam, Lowell Observatory, and a volcano. So my husband and I embarked on the Nerd’s Paradise vacation and booked a trip to Arizona.

What an amazing trip! We got to see all of these things and each one was amazing in a whole new way. The scope of things out west is so HUGE. So much larger than pictures can ever capture. And the terrain is beautiful. It changes completely as you drive, from jagged rocks to low lying shrubs to snow capped mountains. We went from ninety degree weather to snow and back again.

Oh, and did I mention we went to Vegas? Ha. That totally didn’t fit into the rest of the trip, but it was worth it to spend time with my niece and her main man, Paul. I am not the gambling type, and mostly played the penny slot machines, but it was still wild to see this place that you hear so much about, especially at night when everything is lit up and the strip is packed with people dressed to the nines. Crazy, crazy place.

One more thing before I stop gushing about our vacation… there were definitely moments before hand where we might have decided not to go. My husband’s job has been shaky, gas prices are skyrocketing, we spent lots of money on things like car repairs we didn’t expect… but in the end we decided to (finally) say to hell with them all and just go, and if I can advocate for this decision in anyone else’s life, I totally will. Experiences are priceless. Money will always be tight. Schedules will always be over crowded, but experiencing something new and beautiful in this world is not something you’ll regret. In fact, at the very end of our trip we got into a bad car accident (smashed up the rental car to smithereens!) and one of my first thoughts as I got out of the car, before I even had time to comprehend that my husband and I were okay, was “thank God I saw the Grand Canyon.” If that had been the end of things for me, I would have hated to miss that spectacular part of life. 


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