My family and I recently returned from a week spent in Utah. Though on the last day I came down with some kind of virus, the trip got me out of my routine and made me aware of my senses.
My friend and her family live in a small town right outside of Salt Lake City. They are one of the main reasons we traveled to the state. It ended up being the perfect location, close to everything and filled with its own unique and sometimes awkward culture. Small towns are great that way. You never know what to expect when you enter a locally owned restaurant.
When we booked our Airbnb for the trip, we were excited for the beautiful view pictured in the gallery of photos for the place. Yet, when we arrived, we soon realized the view follows you everywhere. A huge valley surrounded by mountains, some still covered with snow, inspired us, making us wish we, too had a similar view at home.
We did some hiking, though we would have liked to do more. But you can only push a three-year-old, who won’t take a nap except for fifteen minutes in the car, so far. So, we kept things simple and did easy hikes, like around Silver Lake in the Wasatch National Forest, where she got to walk on mounds of yet-to-be-melted snow. We even saw a moose.
We visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City and walked around the infamous buildings. We rode a ski lift in Park City to journey down on an alpine slide. We visited the zoo, the aquarium, parks, shops, and more. Honestly, I don’t know how we all stayed awake.
My husband and I agree that while vacationing is fun, one of the more reverent parts is getting to see friends and/or family. How important it is to keep up with people, even when they live in different parts of the world. These kinds of friendships are different than the ones we encounter often because our time spent with them has a deadline. Every moment feels like it needs to be grabbed and held onto, like a child who is afraid they might lose their blankie.
Though I remember the satisfaction of reaching the top of Ensign Peak while taking turns carrying my daughter with my husband (she did make it up half-way on her own!), I’ll also cherish laughing with my friend in her living room while reminiscing about graduate school. Or my daughter getting to play with her son.
Lately, I’ve been trying to consciously contemplate events that have just occurred, so that in the future, I can pull it out, as if from a rolodex, on those days when I’m afraid of what might come next. Even still, I’m thinking back on our trip, reviewing, remembering, relishing. I want to use it in the future to remind my daughter and husband.
To remind myself. I never want to forget how my husband and I sneakily ate fresh baklava from a local Middle Eastern bakery in the car while our daughter napped in the back seat. Or the “The Shining” like hallway we had to walk down to get to our Airbnb room.
Trips, vacations, stay-cations, breaks, whatever you want to call it are necessary in life, but aren’t afforded by all. If only traveling could be handed out at easily as food. I don’t take my vacations for granted. This helps me to remember.
Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.