Lost in the Cacti

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Lost in the Cacti

Hey, gang! Athankya for coming back to my second blog post. Things are about to start getting really hot up in here, so I hope you’re ready. It’s Nelly circa 2002 in the club. Shirts are flying. Drinks are popping.

…wait for it…

…I just got back from Arizona. And it was sizzlin’ hot (see how I got ya there?) Yep, it was pretty darn hot. The whole “you could fry an egg on this” analogy was used many times. Well in traveling there, right on the outskirts of Phoenix, I got to see my fun-lovin’ brotherman Brian, his lovely, amazing girlfriend Erin and their dog Zane (guhhhh, so furry and cute). Yay for reunions and spending time with the ones you love. It was great. PLUS, they have a ton of roaming stray cats in their apartment complex, so I was really in my element πŸ˜‰ I made a few kitty friends and came pretty darn close to bringing them home with me. All of us lined up in a cat gang. I didn’t though…le sigh.

So right now I’m about to go all “show and tell” on you and here’s to hoping you stick it out. There’s a point to it, I promise! One of my favorite things I did there was go to the Desert Botanical Garden with Erin. Two words: cacti galore! As a Chicago native, I simply had no idea that many varieties of succulents existed. Contrary to the midwest-minded me, there are more than just the standard, one-big-prickly-trunk-and-two-stalks-coming-out-of-it cactus. You know, that type of cactus you see on souvenirs and in your mind when you think “Arizona cactus.” The myriad of growing things reminded us of plants you’d see on Mars, or some other faraway planet. There are so many different kinds! Whoa.

So we got “prickly pear” margaritas and roamed around, and totally nature-nerded out the entire time. I got the opportunity to snap a bunch of photos with my fancy shmancy camera, too, which made me really happy. And (as if this could get any better) the garden was also home to glass artist Dale Chihuly (check it out). So there were all these incredible, soaring sculptures blended in with these alien plants. A bluegrass band could be heard distantly playing in the background which gave an awesome undertone to our margarita buzz.

We got lost a bunch of times since neither of us is good with directions (…and because the setup was confusing at best). HOWEVER, here is the thing, getting lost in there was a.w.e.s.o.m.e. Probably one of the most amazing times I’ve had in recent memory – the mix of nature and art and music! Erin and I were like kids that just stepped inside Wonka’s factory for the first time. We trekked through giddily, all the while letting nature’s poetry sink deep. Even if we had passed something in the garden before β€” “Hey, have we been down this row yet?” “Have we seen this?” β€” we were wonderstruck again. The colors, the sounds, the red mountains in the background fading in the midst of the dimming sunlight. Aw, mannnn, you should have been there.

Which brings me to the point of this post: people need to expend more time and energy in nature. Holy cow. Spending that day at the nature museum in Phoenix, AZ made me really realize again that there’s a big blue world out there. A huge one. And Phoenix is just a tiny speck on the map. I’ve been around the U.S., not a ton though, and I’ve only been out of it once to Mexico. Yeah, I need to get out more. We all do! If it weren’t for those damn, inconvenient things called ahem, work and money, I’d have my next trip booked stat.

But yes, traveling is awesome and everyone should do it as often as they can. You’ve heard this, we all have, but it’s definitely a totally valid piece of advice. Mother Nature is “where the party’s at.” Not inside some club or on the couch. Out in the thick of the trees, walking among the animals. The sunlight and the leaves and the wind blowing in your hair.

Going on that journey with Erin (both of us strong women! heck yeah!) was just another building block into helping me feel like an unstoppable force. And while my paycheck and work schedule isn’t exactly affording me the opportunity to backpack around Europe, I want to keep traveling on my radar. To remember its importance and validity. It’s easy to get stuck in the convenience of home, the internet and Netflix. Hey, I’m definitely guilty. But it’s so very important to see what’s going outside, to stroll among our non-speaking fellow organisms, to keep that child-like wonder of Dora.

Explore, explore, explore.

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