I am an inexperienced traveler. Acceptance into medical school in another country made it all too real that I was about to be forced out of my comfort zone. My departing flight (50 days away) goes from Tulsa -> Dallas -> Miami (overnight stay) -> Grenada. Until last week, I thought I was going to have to lug along all of my suitcases from plane to plane. I had no idea what customs was, let alone what they do. Talk about a lack of life experience. Ha.
In fact, when I went to book my departure flight, I went to Tulsa International Airport website and got so frustrated, because I couldn’t figure out how to book my flight (apparently, you have to book through an airline or travel website). I’ve learned so much about traveling in my preparation to move to another country. For example, acquiring a passport is no joke. Literally every document I turned in for my passport, was incorrect. I had wrong amounts on the money orders, I smiled in my photo, I didn’t have a copy of both sides of my driver’s license… etc.
There is no amount of preparation I can do that will ever make me feel ready for this flight/move. At the end of the day, we learn from life experiences, like traveling! I’ve said it before, and I will say it again; there is something terribly exciting about the unknown. Feeling inspired by Grenada, I traveled to Colorado in March, and it left me with a yearning to see even more of America. Last week, I headed west for the longest road trip of my life! In 8 short days, the following occurred:
5 national parks explored (I am now the proud owner of an “America the Beautiful” National Park pass
61 hours of sitting on my arse in a fiat
32+ miles hiked
6000 ft in elevation climbed (I took breaks often, but I did it!)
3300 miles driven in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona
It’s hard to talk about traveling and not sound like a giant cliché. No amount of words or pictures will ever do a journey justice. In order to truly know, it’s something that you have to see and do for yourself. That being said, I do not know much about traveling, flying, or international customs, however, I accept this challenge with a smile on my face and can’t wait to learn more! Here’s a list of the locations by day with links and information:
Day 1: Petrified National Forest : https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm
Day 2 and 3: Grand Canyon National Park : https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Day 4: Horseshoe Bend (Page, AZ) and Zion National Park : https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm
Day 5 and 6: Sedona, AZ (Coconino National Forest) https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recarea/?recid=54892
Day 7: Saguaro National Forest https://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm
Day 8: Carlsbad Cavern National Park https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm
Shout out to Jamie Warcken (great life coach and world traveler) for the incredible idea to explore the national parks! Link to her blog:
I’m ready for my next adventure. I love national parks. Even more, I love exploring nature. It’s peaceful. The kindness that everyone portrays, as they don’t have a care in the world hiking through the wild, is overwhelming in the best way. Road trips, especially with camping, sandwiches, etc are fairly inexpensive, so if money is holding you back, find a way to make it work! There’s something special about cooking over a fire. Personally, I have a deeper appreciation for campfire food, because you have to work to build a fire, and then cook on top of it! There’s a lot more work to it, but it also has such a simple feel to it.
Around day 5 I realized that I hadn’t looked in a mirror in days. I went 8 days without eyebrows, but it wasn’t even a priority. I cared more about seeing all that I could see, and I felt so confident hiking these trails (even with the breaks). It also felt good to work so hard to get to the top of the trail and see the views. Hard work and perseverance really pays off. Later on, I will be posting about each location.. stay tuned! I needed this trip. I needed a break from the 100 hour work weeks, the velour liquid lip stains, and the lack of sleep. Nature is good for the soul, good for your health, and good for your mind. I encourage you to get out there and experience it, even if you don’t know what you are doing. Half the fun is learning along the way.