Spontaneity: the act of doing without much forethought. For the type A brain, this can cause some serious heart palpitations and likely a forehead full of sweat. It’s happened to all of us—you’re hanging out with a friend, discussing the mundane routine of life, work, yada yada yada, and they say, “No, seriously. Let’s do it! You in? If we left in the next few hours, we could be in Mexico by the morning!” Or, even scarier, “Let’s book the tickets now so there is no backing out! Cancun—here we come!” You want to say “Yes!” but either finances, work, school or life commitments cause you to pause and realize it isn’t going to work out, so you say something vague like, “I have too much going on right now.”
Can I recommend acting on the next spontaneous idea or suggestion that comes your way? Of course, I’m talking about legal spontaneous options, just to be clear. Initially, after you say “YES!”, it will feel like you’ve done something wrong. How can I leave my family and just go on a girls’ (or boys’) trip? I really should cook that dinner or watch my kid’s 500th soccer game, etc. However, in the big picture of life, will anyone really miss your presence? Probably not—no offense.
I grew up with a father whose adventurous spirit was muted by his wife’s homebody and financially watchful ways. He had his breakout moments, though. My dad would wake us in the wee hours of a Saturday morning; my brothers and I would pile into the wagon and yawn our way to the New Jersey shore. We never knew the beach was in store for us, but the smile on my dad’s face told me he knew.
Pulling a trick out of my late father’s hat, I offered my daughter a quick zip to Santa Fe, NM for two nights to see the wildly popular Meow Wolf museum. Considering she is a recent high school graduate, her schedule was clear. I, on the other hand, almost put my hand over my mouth as soon as I suggested it, because I always have something on my plate that I should be doing. Her enthusiasm actually motivated me to not think and just commit. So
I packed my bag and the next morning we were on our way to Santa Fe.
I knew I did the right thing as the road opened wide, cruise control was set, and the Collegiate Peaks became our backdrop. Here I was, driving six hours to a different state, to an interactive art “museum” we’ve never been to, with no snacks on hand and barely a thought to what I packed. For me, a mom, who for the past 18 years has been the one who always had provisions on hand, this was quite rebellious of me. But there in that moment, I had everything I needed—wallet, keys, daughter, and the right mindset.
The beauty in traveling with someone you love is the ability to sit in silence without awkwardness. Instead of a ton of talking, we switched off playing DJ while taking in the sprawling views of cow farms, darting antelope and galloping horses. I listened to more Kanye West and Pitbull than my ears could handle, and she endured my Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd sing-alongs. Each hour that passed along Route 285 brought us a deeper sense of freedom. We ate when hungry, we stopped when we felt the urge, and explored vistas at our leisure. We didn’t need to be anywhere at any time. It was glorious!
Without going into detail, Meow Wolf is everything we had hoped it would be—and beyond. It’s a place you must experience to fully understand. Our hotel had a pool where we slumbered in the late afternoon, and it so happened that every taco we tried in Santa Fe was “the best taco on earth.” Throw in warm chocolate chip cookies upon our hotel arrival and I’d say this was one of my favorite road trips of all time.
On our journey home with my daughter at the wheel and I reclining, I wondered how everything wound up so perfectly seamless on this trip. But the truth is, it wasn’t perfect, it just felt that way because it wasn’t planned. Without a perfect plan in place, there was nothing to actually go wrong. Hence my reasoning for being spontaneous every now and again; the wine tastes sweeter, the music sounds clearer, and that little rebellious/adventurous piece within is sparked, reminding us that jobs fill your pockets, but adventure fills your soul.