The View From Up Top

Day Four: Seven individuals in one frozen cabin room wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when I pictured the “cabin life”. It turns out the heater was placed behind our luggage that we piled up and until we woke the next morning we had no idea it existed. I have never felt so cold- cuddled up under a hoodie and two blankets I still could not feel my face. But it was definitely something I’ll never forget.

Pushing past the frozen tundra that was our cabin, us girls readied for our long day ahead. The morning light was unlike something I had ever seen – I found myself basking in the view that was just beyond our cabins four walls. Pictures will never capture what I truly saw that morning.

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The world had become brighter. Walking through the Bright Angel trail was awe inspiring. I was lost in the new world that I had found. Have you ever seen something so spectacular that you could never imagine something more beautiful?

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After our hike, the day was eventually filled with another extensive car ride to the other rim of the Grand Canyon, with a map and fifteen ladies that could not read it. We were headed there to meet and pick up the men of our group that ventured out before dawn to hike Rim to Rim.

This trip was filled with moments that I know will last a lifetime. I bonded with some of my family members in ways that I did not know was possible. I laughed uncontrollably. I too in beautiful absolutely breathtaking landscapes. I feel blessed to have been able to experience something so incredible.

The best part was that it wasn’t over. There was a whole evening to attend to, a whole other day to experience.

All I have to say is, travel. Go far. However you have to get there, do it. It will change you, it will humble you.
Where in the world would you venture towards? Who are the individuals you’d want with you most?

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The Longest Haul.

Day Two: Have you ever been more tired when you woke than when you slept? This is how I felt waking up in our hotel room at seven-thirty in the morning. My parents already fiddling around in their bags to get their day started. When you have four people that are used to having their own space and put them into one room, it gets quite interesting! Go give it a try, I dare ya! Then tell me all about it 🙂

Our Vegas stop was specifically to pick up a friend of ours and his in-laws from the airport. As I was finishing up my morning routine, last to finish I might add. We heard a familiar knock, and who was it? Our friend of course! Surprising us bright and early. Landing early he decided to take a cab and meet us at the hotel himself. I have never been in such a rush to get ready as I burst through the door to engage in the group hugs and giggles that awaited.

Finally having everyone together we piled the cars even higher with luggage, rearranged our passengers and were on our way! It being Friday, we wanted to pray Jummah prayers together. If we were to make it to the Mosque we needed to bolt there, and that we did! Did I mention it was in Arizona, with a time change and two hours away? This part of our day was incredibly important to us- we didn’t want our travel plans to interfere with our schedule of prayers. I consider myself to be religious. I am in no way perfect, but I think as long as I do my best that is what matters most 🙂

Prayers finished and stomachs were -a- rumbling. Unpacking half of two cars to reach the food beneath we stuffed our bellies until we were content. With less than four hours till our final destination everyone was anxious to catch even a glimpse of the vastness that awaited us at the Grand Canyon.

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The next four hours were filled with snores and lulled music as we slept off our full bellies. I woke to my fathers voice. We were almost there. Finally in view of road signs that directed our paths. Waking up my family around me as we parked and held in the urge to jump from the moving car. Stretching our legs and taking in the views even from the parking lot were breathtaking. It was finally time for real adventure.

Ready, Set, Go!

Day One: As preparations went on for the trip to the Grand Canyon, I readied my bags and equipped myself with all the essentials for the long haul ahead. The rest of the group did the same- Have I mentioned there were almost thirty of us? [Have you ever attempted to stick to a schedule with eighteen adults,  five adolescents, and three children?

Let me tell you it was incredibly difficult, almost impossible. What you haven’t learned about me is that I love the impossible. It’s okay, I forgive you

I felt surprisingly prepared for the drive, stocked the car with our bags along with the filled coolers of prepared food for the few days away. [Then came the snacks. Anything you could think of really; Chips, sandwiches, cookies, muffins, juice, peanuts, soda, and plenty of water.]

Managing to close the trunks was another story entirely!

Four cars at the ready, four hours to go on the road ahead – piled high with belongings, bodies filled in each available gap and we were on our way! With so many people joining in the stops were also planned- we were to stop off in Vegas for the night.

Stumbling into our hotel rooms past midnight a handful of us decided to walk the strip and see the sights- being as exhausted as we were it didn’t turn out to be the best idea. Twelve cranky an irritated individuals walked as long as we could. Stumbled back near three in the morning and I’m sure we all crashed.

Have you been to The Paris Hotel? Pretty unique hotel with beautiful chandeliers, a sky painted ceiling and incredibly comfy beds where I spent all of five hours sleeping to rest up for the next day of traveling!

What are some of your favorite places in Vegas?

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Road Trips

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Road tripping-On a wide scale it has its perks and its drawbacks.

Traveling with my family I’ve run into all sorts of obstacles. I have dealt with becoming beyond lost down the many highways of Oklahoma. Disagreeing over restaurants in the middle of Istanbul Turkey and even cranky children on a nine hour adventure toward New Jersey. I was left feeling anxious and uninterested in future endeavors. From these varied experiences I have found myself searching for ways to ease the grievances that road trips tack on so easily.

Every day, people of all sorts venture out to a new destination with their significant others or families in attempt to gain experience through culture. It’s what people do! People go on adventures, they are naturally spontaneous, all the while making new and long-lasting memories. 
Being the person that has once dreaded family road trips- I’d like to share with you some ways to construct the best environment to ease yourself onto your new adventure.

When planning your trip, safety comes first! – now before driving away it’s always a great idea to do a full systems check; tire pressure, oil, windshield wipers, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. the works. Go all out! Nothing ruins a trip more than never getting there!

Remember to keep a planned route but avoid from over planning a rigid one. Plan to drive at most eight to nine hours. This will allow for spontaneity and adventure for all the wandering your heart desires. Keep in mind, no one likes a “Negative Nancy!”

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Packing! Whether you know your end destination or not pack for multiple weathers and occasions. You never know what awaits you on your trip- be prepared and grounded but realistic. If you know there’s no way it’ll snow there ‘s no need for that coat!

Wardrobe- wise, being comfortable on the drive is your best bet. Sitting for long periods of time is almost begging for comfort! Cotton and jersey blends are great options. It makes it much easier to create “no fuss” outfits when you’re prepared.

To maximize your trunk and feet space use dufflebags that can mold and wedge around your other belongings. If traveling with kids- try consolidating all the clothes into one bag so that the load is lighter. A lighter load means a lighter car means a smoother ride with less stops by the gas station!

Snacks, snacks, & more snacks- Here’s a warning sign! You will get HUNGRY! Think about what snacks you like. Sweet, salty, savory- a variety if the trip is lengthy. When it’s time to stop and finally have a real meal don’t rely on the internet. Stop and ask some locals- they always know best! And when it comes to food, I’ve certainly found it is a “variety” that makes the heart grow fonder.

Road trips are what you make of them. I’ve learned how to make the best of them by personalizing each aspect of my trip most times depending on the destination- this time the Grand Canyon awaits me! Where will your next adventure take you?
Good luck on all your future travels!