Five Intentional Travel Tips (with Pictures!)

I don’t do a whole lot of traveling, and maybe I should, because I just got back from a great trip with our eldest child. Here’s the experience boiled down to a couple of quick thoughts:

Keep open to new ideas

For her last spring break of college, our daughter suggested that the two of us take a trip to Sedona, Arizona. I didn’t know much about the destination but we got started researching and it turns out that it’s a phenomenal place. If you can imagine the nicest person you know, and then imagine that person is a place, that’s Sedona.

Keep up the best you can

My girl is 22. She’s a fit little mountain goat when it comes to climbing around on trails. Me, not so much. But I jumped in on those hikes and was rewarded by beautiful scenery and very fine company.

I did not, however, even try to keep up with a 22-year-old when it came to prickly pear margaritas. I did the driving.

Keep an eye on the weather

We went to the Grand Canyon. It was cold. Like, slushy roads and snowballs cold. Boy, I know those tourists at the canyon were surprised because we sure were, too. And by the way, this challenged my expectations of what “Arizona weather” was all about. I was grateful for the hat I’d popped into my bag at the last minute.

Serendipity is everywhere

As I was flying through Charlotte, NC, on the way out to the Phoenix SkyPort, our son happened to be flying through on his way home to Roanoke. We caught up for just a minute right there at the airport. (Okay, I stalked him a little.) But to have a day where one runs into both of one’s kids in airports thousands of miles apart? Magic.

Even the bad stuff isn’t all that bad

On the flight home, my journey took me through Philadelphia instead of Charlotte (one does not simply fly directly to Roanoke). The plan was to fly out and land in Roanoke in time for dinner with the husband and that younger college kid mentioned above.

But then the flight crew was late.

And the weather went south.

We sat on the tarmac for 2-1/2 hours before the plane rolled back to the gate and the flight was cancelled. By the time we got off the plane and were wiggled into flights for the next morning — none of which were heading to Roanoke (one does not simply fly directly to Roanoke) — it was after midnight. I don’t know Philly. I didn’t know where to go for hotel with a shuttle that would get me back to the airport by 6:30 for my early flight to Charlottesville, VA. So I elected to stay overnight at the airport.

It’s quiet at 2:30 am outside security.
Good morning, Philadelphia!

I don’t recommend it if you can help it. But I did learn that the security screening opened up at 4:30 am (and the lines are much shorter!), which allows a bit of a nap at the gate before the breakfast spots start opening. Au Bon Pain never tasted so good.

The flight to Charlottesville’s (posh) airport was blissfully short and I was met by a husband who drove the extra hour to come pick me up. And even though they aren’t made of red rock, our mountains never looked so welcoming.

While I was away, the flowers had started blooming and I’m pretty sure there are some baby cows out there in the fields. It’s nice to come home to something that looks spring-y and new.

Weekend Plans

There is snow in the forecast for the area, and what I’ve found is that, with all the varied terrain here, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all forecast that works for everyone.

For instance, the local Virginia Weather Network posted this notice on Wednesday:

Since we are between Roanoke and Lynchburg, our path is clear.

And we are ready! We are now supposed to get a mix of snow, ice, and freezing rain, starting on Saturday afternoon and continuing until early Monday morning. But a new snow shovel, a surprise jigsaw puzzle (surprise for Jim; I bought the thing), and some excellent reading material says that we’ll get through it just fine.

If you have winter weather in your forecast, or you’re one of those parents bringing kids back to school after winter break, I hope you stay safe!