“Each evening we sat down with iPads, tea, maps and guidebooks, and figured out the route for the next day. In those ten days, we saw so many incredible things that I never ever expected when first setting off.”
Last February, a friend and I decided to meet for a week somewhere new. Since she lives in British Columbia and I live in Ontario, it didn’t really matter where—it was going to be a journey either way. Our first thought was to explore Canada’s beautiful west coast ferry system and explore Haida Gwaii, but after doing a bit of research, we learned that February is not the time to make that trip.
The next possibility was a yoga retreat in Hawaii. Flights were reasonable, and the yoga facility looked very relaxing and pleasant, but I was recovering from shoulder surgery, so we decided to save that for another time. After several more conversations, we two middle-aged women got ourselves plane tickets to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a rental car, and nothing else but our 40-year-old friendship.
Apparently, that’s a perfect recipe for a vacation because it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Over our allotted ten days, we explored parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. We never planned more than a day ahead, which kept us open to ideas from the people we met along the way. Each evening we sat down with iPads, tea, maps and guidebooks, and figured out the next day.
In those ten days, we saw so many incredible things that I never ever expected when setting off. We visited two Indian reservations, where we met the warm and welcoming Zuni people and also Hopi people with their rich traditions, explored Monument Valley, visited the kitschy Four Corners where four states meet, and even took in the mud bath and mineral springs at a wonderful place called Ojo Caliente. We literally stumbled upon the ruins of cliff-dwelling people and thereby discovered the beauty and history of the region’s fabulous national parks. This is an area I will definitely revisit.
Best of all was discovering this new (to me) way to travel in which you plan very little, rely on the advice of strangers, and trust the journey to unfold as it should.
Author - Cary Meyer
Cary Meyer is from Canada. She loves her job at a support centre for women who are homeless or at risk. Her favourite kind of travel involves little planning and unexpected places.