mountains

Interview: Time Travel

· 5 min read ·

Sheila: Hi James!

James: Oh hi! 👋

Sheila: Well, we’re finally getting around to this blog post. And we have SO much ground to cover it seems. What sort of things have happened since we posted in Moab?

James: Here’s a little bulleted list:

  • Monument Valley
  • Navajo National Monument
  • Flagstaff
  • the Grand Canyon
  • Kayaking on Lake Powell
  • Hiking in Sedona

Sheila: Also I finished my LAST DAY of work!

James: Which is a huge deal and pretty exciting in and of itself. We’re in the final stages of moving out of our apartment and gearing up for Europe.

Sheila: True. We are currently sitting in my room among many things that are mid-packing. You know that mid packing stage, where suddenly you realize how many individual items you have because you’ve pulled them all out and then your place is messier than before, yet you know it some how is progress? Yeah, that’s where we’re at.

Utah and Arizona were an incredible “appetizer” trip, as my uncle called it. We’ve been asked since what our favorite part was. It’s such a normal question but also such an impossible one. I don’t know when I’ve ever had an easy time replying to that question in life.
That said… James, tell me a story?

James: We definitely enjoyed ourselves between driving through and seeing much of Utah, to hanging out with our friends and hiking in Arizona. There’s no way I could choose between all the excellent times we had. I think we definitely were living our best lives out there - specifically because we both, at different times, got so tired that we had to take catnaps. And we don’t nap! Right after our post in Moab, I started our drive to Monument Valley - this incredibly scenic look into the lands given over to the Navajo Nation … and I was so drowsy I couldn’t keep going. It was really tough to take a breather knowing that we were driving through these amazing vistas and I was all like 💤 .

Sheila: Something really peaceful about that too, though. Something funny that happened was that we were planning a route to maximize our trip from Moab to Flagstaff. We had about a 6 hour drive and needed to return the car around noon. We did all this planning backwards from that hour THEN we realized Flagstaff, AZ is an hour behind Moab time. Classic time travel. So we gained an hour and used it well, exploring the places James mentioned.

For me, it was absolutely magical adventuring around Flagstaff, Lake Powell, the Canyon, and Sedona with friends that I’ve known from middle school. I am gifted with amazing friends from home and I’m so grateful that we can take that friendship on the road and incorporate new people in.

Sheila, Tessa, Kristen … and a big hole in the ground
Sheila, Tessa, Kristen … and a big hole in the ground

James: You have an incredible group of friends. We (Adam, Joe, and I) were talking about how special it is to see such a tight-knit group of people. Sheila, I can’t choose a favorite between the hiking we did in the canyon, kayaking on Lake Powell and exploring the slot canyons there, and exploring Sedona. How could we ever choose between those things?

That’s the Grand Canyon for ya.
That’s the Grand Canyon for ya.

Sheila: Luckily we didn’t have to! What I will say is there was something very special about driving back from Page (where Lake Powell is) as the sun was setting and taking this back road that at one point looked over a reservation. It was the blue hour, the colors were unlike anything I’ve seen before, the temperature was not palpable because it was perfect, and I could still feel hints of the sun on my skin from the day we spent out in it. Also Tessa and I had been screaming Taylor Swift songs the whole ride… so it was pretty special.

Joe, James, Sheila, Kristen, Tessa, Adam - exploring Sedona
Joe, James, Sheila, Kristen, Tessa, Adam - exploring Sedona

James: Exploring Flagstaff was in and of itself an adventure. I know that might sound silly based on the other locales we’ve been talking about but especially with an eye towards potentially living there, it was cool to see a place that was such a nice combination of mountain town and high desert living.

Sheila: I agree. I’m definitely interested in returning, and also even more eager to see what other parts of the West have to offer. I’m also trying to be intentional about not thinking too too far ahead, in terms of other exploring in the States, because Europe is going to be such a trip and I’d like to be completely present for it. That’s why I’m also glad we are spending ~2 weeks in each place, compared to the ~3 days we spent in each place on the trip out West. It’s hard to untrain our minds from planning-gear.

James: It’s true. They talk about the “East Coast work ethic” and when you’re in that gear all the time, it’s easy to just crank. But with that in mind, I’m excited for the first stop on our international trip - Slovenia. We may or may not have just booked a three day packrafting trip to explore the Soca River … more on that to come!

Sheila: Yeah… I still can’t believe that might be a thing. What a way that’ll be to kick off the trip.
If you haven’t seen the timeline (or even if you have) here’s a little review of what’s on deck:

  • May 7th : moving out of Boston 😢
  • May 8th - May 11th : Spend some time in the good ‘ol Hamp (603) 🎉
  • May 12th: Last day to say farewell to friends
  • May 13th: ✈️ to Slovenia
  • May 14th: Land (cause time travel)
  • May 15th: Potential rafting begins
  • May 15th — July 3rd: lots of things and traveling and eating and story-worthy moments
  • July 3rd — July 8th: Back in the U S of A for a wedding and fam time
  • July 9th: Back in Europa and back to all that good stuff mentioned above 😛

James: Also my older sister Allie just called to say that she’s engaged, so that’s pretty cool. Congrats Allie & Tony!

Sheila: Wooooooo!!! 🍾 Also this morning we went for our last run around the esplanade, which was really where/how we developed our friendship over a year ago. We were joined by my good friends Mark and Kristina, and afterwards we cooked up 8 grain pancakes for some other friends! Feeling v nostalgic.

Great run with good friends
Great run with good friends

James: The esplanade will always have a special place in my heart. The runs we went on last year were and remain very special.

Sheila: So many special people and memories here. Speaking of which, we should probably go visit our friends over in Charlestown. Tick tock, gotta squeeze in all the things!

James: 🕓 - gotta go! Bye everyone, thanks for reading!

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Adventure travel blog by James Simone & Sheila Murray. Travel along with them on their backpacking trip(s) as they actively explore the American West, Europe and beyond:

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