Girl Gone – Spontaneous Summer Excursions

With the Pandemic presumably behind us and everyone back to travel as usual, airfares have gotten a bit full of themselves. Thus, spontaneous excursions have become a bit more unattainable this summer. However, if you’re diligent in your search and keep at it daily, something is bound to turn up.

And so it did.

In mid-June I received a group email from a friend who was planning her birthday celebration in Scottsdale the following week, with a group discount for the hotel and the restaurant already chosen for her birthday dinner. She too seemed to have the need to get “out of dodge,” but in her case it was Los Angeles. A spontaneous summer excursion from California to Arizona was certainly a reasonable notion.

When I first received the email, I dismissed the possibility. Having seen the airfares as of late and traveling all the way from the east coast, I figured there wasn’t a snow ball’s chance in hell that I could go. But then I thought again…

I remembered that flights to Phoenix were often cheap, and I was astonished to find the bargain that I did. The tradeoff was that I had a huge layover in Denver on my return, but if you are spontaneous enough that turns into two destinations for the price of one! (

Airport Atrium
Scottsdale, Arizona

Within a week I found myself on a 5-day spontaneous summer excursion to Scottsdale. Yes, I know it’s record breaking hot, but I planned to be in the pool or sipping a frosty drink most of the time.

Not my legs!

It had been decades since I was last there and I couldn’t fathom how much it had changed. It had become Beverly Hills times a thousand. Every beautiful person evidently moved to Scottsdale during the pandemic and all the money followed. There were Aston Martins, McLarens, and Alfa Romeos parked outside every five-start restaurant, of which there were many.

The food was incredible and reservations were highly sought after. There was no shortage of fusion restaurants seeking a Michelin Star. Our hostess made sure we tried most of them.

Octopus to die for at SumoMaya

We stayed at a boutique hotel with spritzing cabanas and delicious Pina Coladas. It deemed itself a pool party hotel on Saturdays complete with DJ, pool dancers and lots of revelry. It did not disappoint when it came to people watching, although one day of that action was enough for me.

Above the pool at Hotel Adeline
Denver, Colorado

On the second leg of the trip we found ourselves below the breezy blue sky of Denver. A quick train ride into downtown and an afternoon stroll found us amidst a Japanese Cherry Blossom street fair.

And of course, no spontaneous excursion to the west would be complete without a cowboy hat purchase!

Girl Gone -Wanderlust

For those of you who don’t know me well, you may not be familiar with the wanderlust that permeates my soul. When did it happen, you ask. I tend to believe I was born with it; it’s in my DNA. But others may argue…

As a very young girl from the working class suburbs of northeastern America, travel was not always accessible for my parents. Air travel was out of reach and out of the question for my father who never stepped foot on a plane in his entire life.

Yet both of my parents secretly dreamed of “far off” places. I found a slide projector tucked away in the basement, where my mother had left it many years before. The slide trays that accompanied it were chock-full of images of “far off” destinations from 1950’s Hawaii to the trails of the Grand Canyon.

Just like the one in our basement.

I propped the projector on a stack of National Geographics on the basement floor, and anxiously aimed at the wood-paneling. That magazine pedestal was the proof of my father’s dreams of “far off” places that would never be realized.

I would stare at the dimly lit pictures of volcanos, Hawaiian turquoise surf and craggy southwest landscapes for hours. I’d later find out that these were my mother’s dream destinations. I’d drag my friends down to watch with me. I’m not sure if it was the vintage projector or the worlds that it unfolded that tempted me more.

As a young child I had to settle for road trips and most within a three hour radius. We visited historic forts, landmarks and nature walks in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I learned to love history and nature, both favorites for my father as well.

My First Flight…

I was six, when my parents divorced, and that’s when I learned that my mother was the more adventurous one. She was the one who dreamed of travel. As soon as the divorce was final, she whisked me away for a Disney vacation with my cousins. It was my first plane ride, my first glimpse of a palm tree, and the beginning of my love affair with the tropics and the wanderlust that permeates my soul.