• Arden Palmquist

Traveling To New Places

Staring out the window as my plane is flying over Arizona and its beautiful scenery, I catch myself smiling like a freaking idiot. It is the third day into the new year and I have taken to planes to get to Phoenix. One landed in Houston, a state I have never been to, which lead me to another plane that got me to Phoenix, Arizona. The third day into a new year and I here I am experiencing something new, something out of my comfort zone.

And quite an experience it was. Here we are one week after flying into a new state, ready to share my experience of traveling with you all. I know this doesn’t sound like something worth reading but it was truly an experience that I am challenging you all to take at least once.

Flying into the west coast state I was immediately welcomed by the sun and warm weather, something we haven’t gotten much of in Ohio. Winter is winter at home, but winter is fall in Arizona. Weather that I did not take for granted as I ventured.

Little fun fact about me, I was actually born in Tucson in a small pink house. We moved when I was almost two to Ohio, back where both of my parents were from. So, this was my first time visiting since 1999. My mom flew out after my weekend in Phoenix to have a girl’s trip down in Tucson, this being her first time back in 20 years as well.

I was able to view the college house my parents lived in, the house I lived the first two years of my life in, the bars my parents went to on the weekends, the restaurants that they dined at, etc.

Sure, this was all very exciting as my parents were just a few years older than me and have packed everything up to live in the sunny hot state. But what I found interesting wasn’t just the scenery and the memories my mom shared but the culture surrounding Arizona as well.

I’d be lying if I didn’t share with you all that homeless people are flooded in the streets, parks, bus stops, etc. Being from Akron, I had thought I’d seen truestruggle, but nothing pulls on your heart strings like seeing people walk the streets with carts filled with their belongings or people wrapped in sleeping bags on benches sleeping.

Tucson was small, easy to get around, and diverse. Not just because of a college right in their downtown but there are so many places to visit. A ton of Mexican restaurants but one place that stood out to me was a temple called Govinda’s which is also a vegetarian buffet. Something that once again was out of my comfort zone. But the coolest part was, there isn’t another place like Govinda’s around.

One of the biggest things I noticed was how much food was there was in this one part of Arizona. Every street was packed with restaurants that were local, everywhere you look – there was new food. I ate at a new place every meal and the food was INCREDIBLE.

Honestly, I ate at a location that my parents used to eat at in college and I had the best grilled cheese ever.

Honestly, the food is one thing I’ll miss the most… Next to the weather. I never imagined myself flying to the state I was born in and loving it. Leaving was such a hard time. How could I want to leave somewhere where the sun was shining and back home snow had taken over? It was so hard that I was actually crying to my mom (that and the fact that I had to leave her and that’s always hard for me).

In 2019, I am challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone more and on this trip I accomplished that. But to you all, I am challenging you to try new things, to travel, and to keep an open mind. This was an amazing way to start my year and I am thanking the universe every day for the opportunities I keep getting presented with.

Arizona was a dream, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll follow in my parents’ shoes and live a few years out in the desert. Wouldn’t that be a fun plot twist?

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