Winter is coming. This week the temperatures plummeted from mid-nineties to the upper sixties in a flash. Every morning I leave for school around 6:30AM, this morning it was forty-seven and – I’m bundled up like a burrito. I suppose I can’t be satisfied as I always comment about the heat and now that it is cold, I’m still complaining. When moving from a colder climate to a warmer climate, it takes a little time, clearly, for your blood to thin. What happens is just that slowly but surely. 2012 brought on the move from mostly cold and humid Pennsylvania to the dry inferno that is Arizona. I had not an inkling that I would ever think the sixties were cold. Here are my six realizations since I have acclimatized:
The first year of living in AZ my closet used to exist packed with jackets and sweaters – warmth. I used nothing so I began the process of donating and tossing everything to make way for suitable alternatives. Forward to this year I have purchased in the last six months two jackets, long-sleeved tops and a fleece. Granted I needed them in Ireland and camping in the north, however as I write I’m cuddled in a cable knit green sweater.
After my trip to San Diego, CA I have been inspired to write segments of my best travel tips – how I travel, what I do to prepare, and what I do when I get there. This is my first urban post, as you can tell I adore the outdoors. Writing about hiking and camping seem so natural like breathing but, writing about urban settings take a different tone. I feel like I have to practice writing about tall buildings and concrete. Below are some of my rule that I abide by to stay safe and have fun when I am in the wilds of city life. I want them to be short and sweet suggestions:
It doesn’t have to be a literal dark alley. Be aware of your surroundings and go with your gut. Especially females traveling – anything can happen but bad situations can be prevented by keeping your wits about you. Follow the basics – know your limits, don’t accept drinks from strangers and come up with a plan in case something happens.
Check it out! You are in a new town where no one knows you. Don’t be afraid to ask locals about the best places to visit– they know. If they love the location, they will share. Don’t just stick to one place have an appitizer in one bar, have your mains in another restaurant, and if you are feeling saucy have dessert in a third place.
It helps to do some research. Find out what is located in close approximation to your hotel. If you can walk to dinner, fantastic – keep your car in valet and don’t call an Uber driver. Map out what days you want to be up early to go to an attraction and what mornings you can relax. Maybe it is just me but I like to have some structure so you can optimize your time; that isn’t to say that the plan is the end all be all. Make sure the plan is flexible.
The earlier you wake up the easier it will be to get into attractions – you could have the whole beach to yourself for hours while everyone is still in slumber. Think about it people are on vacation – so they sleep in. I always beat the crowds by arriving as early as I can. By the time you have finished seeing everything the attraction should be filling up! Now you can take a nap, two to three hours should suffice – just enough to get you through your evening. When you wake up you are good to go and ready to join the night life.
Home for me is Easton, Pennsylvania. With fall approaching I can’t help but get homesick. Fall is the best time of the year. The weather cools down and the humidity subsides – the leaves start to change and the fields go purple and gold. Not to mention apple turnovers and pumpkin spice coffee (not always PSLs). My version of perfection. You don’t get those things in Phoenix, you go from an inferno to like a campfire. The reward for surviving the summer is getting to go back outside. Moreover here are the things I miss most about home in the fall:
That’s right – pumpkin patches. Unfortunately all pumpkins are shipped into Arizona because well – we get no water. A pumpkin patch in Phoenix looks like a cardboard shipping container in a Fry’s or a Safeway. That is not the fall spirit I came to know and love. Pumpkin picking back home involves dressing up in sweaters and scarves, driving to a farm, trudging around in a field and looking for the perfect pumpkin. Strawberry Acres in Coplay, Pa was the best and involved not only pumpkins but apple picking and potato slingshots. It was an annual family and friend event – missed terribly.
Not long after the start of spring and right before monsoon season Arizona and most of the southwest experience the terrible wrath of the sun. Not to be dramatic but the oppressive heat melts Blender Bottles when I leave them in my car. Temperatures can skyrocket upwards of 115°F and has reached 120° as a boiling point. There is really nothing you can do to escape the heat at this point except hide! I have pulled together a few ideas that I have tried myself to stay cool:
Looking for magical places to visit in Arizona? Check these posts out:
Cobweb Clearer – Kate
I have been home from my Ireland trip for about three weeks now and almost ready to launch my travel sites! I invite you to check out travelscoutadventure.com. I only have a few more tasks before I can become “Facebook Official”.
I keep thinking I have to go, go, go! I’m past the so-broke-I-could-die phase after traveling abroad and I am ready to travel again.
Coin Flipping trip. The plan is that there isn’t a plan – I will be accompanied by my friend Jess and some camping supplies. We will hit the road and flip a coin indicating yes or no and left or right. No technology (only to check in of course), no GPS, and only maps. The goal is to head west; at some point I’d like to find our way to the beach.
I have one trip planned for October to go up into Utah and camp in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. It will be close to a year since my last visit into Utah and I am ecstatic to return. My mom and I went for Christmas vacation to Kanab and I fell in love. We explored the Paria Canyon and got as far as we could without a permit. Yes – in most of the Vermilion Cliffs and Paria Canyon area you need a permit and a guide to enter. We learned this much to our disappointment. My hope is to get some good hiking in and write a segment on roughing it camp style.
The Arizona sun is a brutal one. After celebrating the 4th of July all I want to do is hide in my house and think about the Arctic Circle. When people say Arizona is a dry heat – it’s true but don’t be fooled it’s still awful. I suppose this calls for a Ways to Beat the Arizona Sun. On it.
Stay tuned – Your Cobweb Clearer,
Hello friends! My name is Kate and traveling is what I was born to do. My early year consisted of desperately clinging to my National Geographic Kids magazine and pointed out to my mom all of the places I wanted to go. To quench some of my thirst I spent much of my childhood in the back of a Ford Super Duty showing my horses. We were in a new state every weekend. At nineteen my brother and I drove from my life long home in Pennsylvania to meet my mom in my new home – Arizona. When we arrived I felt like I could keep going, “to California!” I told my brother- he wasn’t quite so excited. Nothing makes me happier than driving, I could drive for days – I am a verified steering wheel hog. Years and miles later the fire is still there – after a recent trip to Ireland it became apparent that things need to change. I’m in the last year of Arizona State University majoring in Economics for which I am grateful for however, my reality says that I need to be creative in order to survive.
So I ask a question – who needs to travel?
Families. Twenty-somethings. Newly weds. Singles. Everyone. Anyone.
What I want to create for my readers is a safety net. You can go anywhere! It is not as scary nor as expensive as you think it is. I want to share the crazy places I find myself in and how I manage my time and expenses.
Stay tuned – Your Cobweb Clearer,