When you travel, you are in constant hunt of people you can stay with. It’s one of the beauties of networking and friends. Prepping to fly to Arizona, there was a little anxiety. I was headed to see people who I hadn’t seen since I was 9. The Norriss’ were a huge part of my childhood. Even if I don’t remember a lot of our memories together, I do know the moment I walked into their Phenoix home, that everything was going to be fine. I hopped back into the family like we had spent no time a part. Laughing about traveling, telling stories, and working together to get a meal on the table. One day away from their eldest daughter’s wedding, the Norris family was in full swing of slicing bagels for the reception, steaming dresses, planning speeches, and I felt at home. Even though I hadn’t been in this home. The power of hospitality is unmeasurable. I am so thankful for this family. They welcomed me in with open arms. Letting me play with their children, teaching me how to drive stick shift, taking me on hikes and road trips, and stuffing me with soups and yogurt.
This trip was by far one of the greatest on my record. Kayra and I spent New Years skimming wedding photos from that morning, and when the clock striked 00:00 we ran outside to the block in search for fireworks. The fog was thick but our spirits were high. We might as well had seen a whole show for how full my heart was. If I’m honest, I was not sure what this first week of the year would hold. When you travel solo, stay with friends, and do not have car, you don’t have control over your plans. I shouldn’t have doubted the Norris fam, nor the Lord.
For one thing, a flood of emails started coming in and it was incredible. Wedding inquires from out of state filled my inbox. I was in shock by how quickly the traffic grew. Granted, things have slowed down, and I am in no-means turning weddings away by my bookings.
ALSO after a last minute confession to Kayra that I really wished I could go the Grand Canyon, she leapt into action. Next afternoon we were on the road to Flagstaff, her college home. We chopped and cooked sweet potatoes (just as everyone should.) and feasted on the living room floor with bowls of soup and french press made tea. After some time of stories and laying around, we curled up in sleeping bags spread across the apartment. Possibly the easiest wake up for me (lol of the year). I couldn’t contain myself. It was brisk outside and I was hopping onto snow patches relishing in that crunch sound! Before long we were on the road headed an hour and half up the road to nothing less of a world wonder. After a wrong turn (or two) we arrived. Kayra wanted to give me the full experience, covering my eyes till I was at the very edge of the Canyon. She released her clasp around my face, and my heart skipped a beat, and my brain couldn’t quite fathom what my eyes were seeing. That sounds super poetic and dramatic, but I’m being honest. It didn’t look real. It still doesn’t. It looked like a green screen; there was too much BIG for me to really understand.
We spent quite some time exploring and trying our best at acro-yoga on the edges of the canyon (because what else?) I’m glad I had some time to soak in the wonder. I know I could have spent so much more time hiking down and around, but for another adventure! Trying to get back to the car was hysterical. We saw a bus and sprinted down a hill across some train tracks only to be told “we aren’t a shuttle…” Out of breath, we wandered back over the tracks to the real stop.
The drive back to Flagstaff alone had me in awe. Snow all over the trees. I have never seen scenes out a car window like that. I’m so thankful. What a beginning to the new year. Thank you Kayra, Vilde, and Jake for making this adventure happen. I completed a big check off my bucket list!