Taking time away makes coming home feel so special.
Recently, I returned from a cross-country road trip with my husband. I find myself calmer and filled with gratitude for so many things.
We drove over 10,000 miles in 28 days, covering 22 states – the word that comes to mind to describe this experience is “WOW” – it’s hard to put into words.
The history and natural beauty in our country is incredible. Each day traveling was a completely different experience. We hung out in all types of places from big to small, city to country and from mountains to the coast.
Experiencing new things that I didn’t know existed was the highlight; like mud volcanoes in Yellowstone and ancient ruins of Native American medicine wheels in Wyoming. Seeing wildlife literally right next to me out my car window in South Dakota, close enough to touch, left me speechless. Funny, I do this here in the Keys on the water, but something felt more special for me to be in an unfamiliar place with land dwellers, like buffalo and sheep.
We hiked to the grandest rock formations in Utah and slept under the stars in Monument Valley. We were drawn to sand dunes in three different states – Michigan, Utah and Colorado – only one was by water but we still loved them each the same and felt a certain connection to the sand between our toes.
The travel was not all easy; six to eight hours of driving a day many days and working to find places to stay every night felt like real work at times, but it was so worth it. I was pushed out of my comfort zone early on in the journey, namely the Blue Ridge Mountains, where I realized I had a very real fear of heights driving on the steep mountain roads. Good thing my hubby didn’t mind driving on all the mountain roads the rest of the trip!
One of my favorite days was our last planned stop in Arkansas to go Quartz crystal mining – Mount Ida to be exact. It felt like a dream come true for me to be able to dig in the dirt and collect raw crystals. As many of you may know, I am a jewelry designer and work with gemstones daily, so mining gems with my own hands had a very special meaning to me.
My eyes see things in a new light after weeks of being disconnected from the islands and the comforts of home. I will admit, I am very happy to be back on the rock near the ocean with my shorts and flip-flops on.
As the so-called “slower/shoulder” season closes here in the Keys, it quickly changes to our version of fall and winter. Weather cools off a bit as the cold fronts swing by. The water cools down, but is still tolerable for the braver souls and those visiting.
The northern birds begin their migration to our tropical world and we welcome the early snowbirds that move in as residents. For shop owners and artists, like me, the attention turns to preparations for a new season and the mindset shifts towards holidays and what we call “high season”. This time of year, it is very easy to slip into focusing on the stress and busyness in our lives.
Why not take time for a reset before the holiday fury sets in? This doesn’t have to be a big production – it could be as simple as stepping outside, going on a bike ride alone, taking an afternoon drive to somewhere new, planning a stay-cation right in your hometown, attending a workshop with a friend or a simple evening off from your routine.
No matter how you find time to disconnect, the coming back refreshed and revived should help you keep grounded for the days to come.
In Health & Happiness, Karen