Indoor Girl Doing Outdoor Things - The Prequel

Why hello there.  Long time no see, huh??

That's the problem with the beginning of a new year.  The last trip of one year and the first trip of the next are waaaaaay too separated.  I blame work.  I just can't take time away during the first few months of the year.  Instead, I cocoon in my house, braving the cold only for intermittent trips to Target.  There, I spend hours each day creating an imprint of my body on my couch during various Netflix or Hulu binges.  Sometimes I bring my work home with me to actually get something accomplished during this season of sloth.  Sometimes, I don't.  Either way, the first few months of the year are spent hiding away from the world.

And then one day, I emerge from the chrysalis of the winter.  The projects at work that needed to be done are (almost) done.  The weather begins to turn.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And it's not a speeding train.  We're at the end of the tunnel right now.  Which brings me to this moment.

But before the big reveal, I need to go back in time a little bit.  Back to January.

Every year, Adele, Elias and I go to the Travel and Adventure Show in Rosemont.  This is like a Trade Show for travelers.  You go, get a bunch of pamphlets that you'll never read and talk to people in the marketing department for a city, state or country that you might someday consider visiting.  This is where Elias and I met the woman who would eventually plan our Australia trip.  This was where we were able to get a signed photo of Samantha Brown.  And this was where I had a conversation with a company out of Bolivia that I will be using to plan my visit to the salt flats one of these days.

A few years ago at the Travel and Adventure Show.  But we did see Samantha Brown this year too.

We were actually hoping not to be at the Travel and Adventure Show this year.  Adele and I had a hotel booked in DC during that particular weekend in January.  It was going to be a big weekend in the nation's capitol and we were going to miss the show this year in order to see history being made.  But on a Wednesday in early November, we knew we would be attending the show this year.  Come on.  You know what I'm talking about here.

Anyway.  We were finishing up our loop of the convention hall.  As we were walking by, I was struck by the large number of booths from Arizona.  Honestly, it wasn't a huge surprise.  Arizona has stepped up its Marketing game in Chicago over the last few years.  But the display did stop me in my tracks with the size.  I told Elias to hold on for a second.  I wanted to ask someone a quick question.

I walked up to a woman and said, "This is a dumb question, but is Antelope Canyon in Arizona??"  Her eyes lit up and she shook her head yes.  She had just come back from Antelope Canyon and proceeded to explain all of the things I wanted to know.

The thing is, I have had a slight obsession with Antelope Canyon for a few years now.  I think a few years ago every Blogger worth their salt ended up in Antelope Canyon.  Then all of the Instagram feeds were filled with pictures of the color gradients of the canyon.  I became obsessed with the idea. But it hasn't really been on my radar as a destination unto itself.  I would see how far it was from Vegas when I went to Vegas.  It never was really a thing on its own.  This time, though.  This time was different.

Last year, during my day at Hong Kong Disneyland, I realized I needed a solo trip each year.  I'd done Hawaii and New York.  The idea at the time was Scotland.  But the woman at the Arizona booth changed my plans in a second.  Why??

Because Antelope Canyon is on a Navajo Reservation, the only way to tour the canyon was to have a guided tour.

Done.  By the end of the day, I knew I was going to Antelope Canyon in April.

The thing is, I'm not an Outdoor Girl.  I'm just not.  So dealing with nature by myself is not ideal.  I mean, I can do it if I wanted to (I'm mostly sure).  But I also think I could stray from the path and get eaten by wolves.  Or bears??  Or whatever is indigenous to the Arizona wilderness.  A tour is perfect for me.  I follow the pack and get to see the sights.  This couldn't be better!!

So that's the plan.  I'm flying into Phoenix, renting a car, and visiting a few stops along the way.  I discovered the Grand Canyon is right in the general vicinity (don't give me any crap for not knowing where the Grand Canyon was.  I do not want to hear it).  There's a giant meteor crater nearby.  And planetariums.  And food.  I also have a shiny new camera I want to break in.  This is going to be the best.

During my Spinning class the other day, the instructor was asking about my trip.  I told him that there's just enough time over the weekend for me to pack, get my hair cut and colored and get a manicure and pedicure.  He stopped for a second and cocked his head to the side to process my statement for an extra moment.  "Ummm...a manicure??"  Of course.  Doesn't everyone get a manicure before hanging out in the Grand Canyon or Antelope Canyon??  Amateurs.


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