This has got to be the best time of life. First day of a two week vacation, relaxing in the hotel room, waiting for the hotel water park to open because we gained two hours arriving at Phoenix at 7 pm last night. Watching the British Open (which started at 3:30 am here). And everybody is happy.
It's supposed to be 97 degrees in Phoenix today, a rare cool front having moved in. Yesterday I believe the high was 104. What a perfect day for a wave pool! Michael and Victor will get a chance to tour the Arizona Cardinal stadium, which would be their 13th or 14th stadium on their quest to see them all. Will they make it? Or will the Oasis Water Park at the Arizona Grand Resort win out? Isn't it lovely to know that it's all good?
The anticipation combined with the relaxation is what makes this the perfect moment. We have so many great times to look forward to. Sedona, the new age capital of the southwest and the most beautiful city in the country, according to some, is home to natural red rock canyons and Slide Rock State Park in the Oak Creek valley. Monday night when we get there we will take a full moon Moonlight Hike at Red Rock State Park. Maybe the next day I will get a past life, aura, or dosha reading. Or just take a jeep tour exploring the beautiful off-road scenery. Maybe we'll see one of their famous vortexes, areas that amplify the energy within you. It's all there.
After that, through Flagstaff to visit a dear friend of Victor's, and then onto the Grand Canyon. Two days at the South Rim, two at the North Rim. I have no intention of hiking all the way down into the canyon. I'm not trained for that and neither are my two kids. I'm sure Victor thinks he can do it, because he thinks he can do anything. I won't naysay him because his optimism is a constant source of joy for me, and often a whack on the side of the head--just what I need in any given circumstance. I will let the tension between his pushing and the kids resisting set the pace of the trip.
We will then move on to Utah, first to Bryce Canyon, then to Zion. After a couple of days in each we move on to Las Vegas. Three places I have never visited, so I'm interested, but not terribly invested in any particular outcome. In Vegas we have tickets to see a couple of shows, but otherwise, we have no tours, no schedule, nowhere in particular to be.
My goal for this vacation is to enjoy each moment. In the past, I have tried to overplan vacations, and everyone always seems to end up disappointed in some way. That is because other human beings come into play besides me. After having planned a vacation for months, these three other fellow travelers suddenly have opinions. I try to involve them in the planning, but they are not immersed in it like I am, so they can only say so much. Once we get to our destination, things often don't go as planned, to the delight of some, the disappointment of others. More often than not, I will feel resentment and frustration over all that wasted time planning.
Not this time. I am surrendering control, and the rest of this vacation is about connecting with my family in a beautiful setting. It's about balance. I found cheap plane tickets. I arranged reasonable, interesting and varied lodging. I scheduled three time sensitive activities. I'm done. From now on, I let the spirit move us. The best times on past vacations have been at coffee shops and in the car. I've finally realized that, although some geographical spots are really special, what makes a trip memorable is an intangible mix of the atmosphere, the experiences, the people experiencing them, and the random digressions put in their path. I look forward to discovering the unique brew of the upcoming days. And for now, I wonder...what's next?