Our summer travel plans are starting to come together. We’ll be going to not one but two islands we’ve never visited before, and we’ll be making a return trip to one of our favorite cities on the planet.
These destinations are firmly planted on the “beaten path.” They will be incredible, but we aren’t exactly exploring new territory. Don’t get me wrong: I’m so thankful that I’ll have the chance to spend time with my husband and daughter, and I think we’ll have a wonderful time. However, there’s something about heading off into the middle of nowhere, leaving the well-trodden trail, that is particularly rewarding. And it’s something I’m hoping to do again soon.
A couple of years ago, my daughter and I went with another mother/daughter pair into the vast West Texas wilderness. It was certainly an adventure as we dodged tumbleweeds and wondered when we’d see a gas station and convinced ourselves we may or may not be abducted by aliens. The middle of nowhere, unfamiliar surroundings, no cell phone service…my daughter and I were out of our comfort zone, and it was one of the more memorable trips we’ve taken.
So, as summer approaches and I try to make plans to fill my daughter’s school-free time, I find myself daydreaming about girls-only adventures with my daughter in the rural expanses of Nevada, Utah, eastern California, and northern Arizona.
There are so many places I’d love to explore: Cathedral Gorge State Park near Pioche, Nevada. Snow Canyon State Park near St. George, Utah. The ghost town of Chloride in Arizona. The historic, possibly-haunted Mitzpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada (about halfway between Vegas and Lake Tahoe). I could go on. These are the kinds of places that I love. I like the fact that these are not “typical” tourist destinations. And I love the thought of driving down an open road, without another car in sight.
But something makes me hesitant to embark on these adventures alone with my daughter: fear.
I can’t help but imagine everything that could go wrong. These trips don’t involve hopping on a plane and heading to some help-is-always-nearby, highly-populated area. Most of these destinations mean driving through areas with little or no cell phone service and hikes in lesser-known parks. For some reason, that makes me nervous.
And then there is the fear of the unknown. It is always easier to visit a place you’ve been before, to know what is coming around the next bend in the road. However, it’s the trips to the places we haven’t been before that become the most memorable.
Nothing good in life is without risk. I’m trying to remember that as I plan a girls-only trip for me and my daughter. I will be smart and well-prepared, and I will trust that everything will turn out just fine. After all, The Hills Have Eyes is just a movie, right?