I recently returned from a trip that was both business and pleasure. My husband and I had a conference to attend in Phoenix, and we decided to head out early and spend some days in Sedona. I had been to Sedona a number of years before, but it was the first time for my husband. I was excited because I knew he would be awed by the first view of the Red Rocks and would love what Sedona had to offer.
I knew that the conference that we would attend later in the week would be very structured and long days. Hours would be spent sitting in a large ballroom with 1200 of my closest new friends, intermingled with networking with the attendees. To balance that I wanted the days prior to be as flexible and unplanned as possible.
Those who know me will tell you I am a planner. I have led many a fantastic vacation filled with activities planned ahead of time; my work is usually scheduled way in advance and although there is room for flexibility it falls in between the structure. This vacation I set to turning this all on its head.
I first approached my husband Stephen prior to us going and shared my thoughts. I wanted the days in Sedona to be unplanned so that we could do what we wanted to when it felt right. We had ideas of what we wanted to do, hikes we would want to try, but no specific agenda planned. Could I do this was the question.
On our drive from the airport in Phoenix towards Sedona we passed a road sign that made me smile. It noted the exit for the Carefree Highway. What a cool name I thought….wouldn’t it be great to go down my own carefree highway! Just a note: I don’t know where the real Carefree Highway goes, although off of Route 17 you can take it either East or West. Is one way more carefree than the other??
As we continued our way to Sedona, I was determined to go down my own carefree highway, and so I did. Our days in Sedona were great and relaxed. The day started when we wanted to, not planning to rush off somewhere; we were never impacted by the rain because we could just go with the flow; and we did exactly what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it.
What did we end up doing? Well we hiked every day (the first day we racked up over thirteen miles on the pedometer); stopped at craft markets along the road; ate some amazing food; hung out at a local coffee house; and yes, we did probably the most touristy thing (yet a lot of fun) we took a Pink Jeep Tour into the Red Rocks. Each day started with the question of, “What would you like to do today?” and it felt great. I was riding along my carefree highway.
As we headed back to Phoenix later in the week for the conference we were happy, relaxed and loved how we spent our time. We were ready to face the structure; the work and the hours we had ahead of us. We were refreshed. On the drive back we of course passed the sign again for Carefree Highway. Once more a smile came to my face. I had taken a road trip down Carefree Highway, but one that I had paved. I was merging again with Route 17 but I had savored every moment of my side trip.
I was reminded that it can be very freeing to venture down the road without a plan, and see where you are taken. It is nice to have a map, and a plan as long as you don’t forget that sometimes you could use a detour to your own carefree highway.
Do you tend to plan everything out in life or on vacation, or do you tend to just trust where things will take you? Share with me below and tell me a time where you went down your carefree highway.