I had 4 nights to get away with my girlfriend and we chose Arizona.
Why Arizona? It just kind of worked out that way. My girlfriend and I have been trying to get away and it was actually one of her suggestions.
Funny, because I LOVE ARIZONA. I love the desert. I love the dry heat. I love that it feels deserted.
I haven't been to Arizona since I was pregnant with my first daughter, and that was for a mini business-related trip with my ex-husband. I was a pregnant tag-along. Not that fun, eh.
My paternal grandparents had a few places in Arizona while I was growing up. My family and I visited often, and I took a few solo plane rides down to visit them. They've both passed away now, so going down there without any conditions, or restrictions or plans or anyone to annoy me (kids, partner, you know.. the way a friend can't).
I have very fond memories of driving through the desert listening to oldie cassette tapes with my Grandparents.
We chose Scottsdale area but planned to visit Sedona for a day-trip.
I was excited.
Ha, so excited that I slept in the morning of depature. YUP, I woke at 6:30 am to the sound of my doorbell. It was the driver and I wasn’t up, showered let alone finished with my packing.
I had set my phone alarm, x2 but I guess somehow my phone died overnight. Lesson learned, don’t solely rely on your phone alarm.
Got to the airport, got ready in a family washroom and everything was seamless from that point forward.
Aside from the super awkward situation with the man sitting next to me on the airplane. It was pretty brutal, but not worth explaining right now.
Upon arriving in Phoenix, it was pretty seamless, we got our bags from a section at the airport with lots of 1's. We're clearly in the right place!
Our itinerary basically consisted of picking up our rental car and going to hotel #1 of #3.
The Pretty Mustang
We booked a basic car from Hertz on Expedia.ca because it didn't occur to me at that time that hello a convertible in the desert is a must!
Upon check-in, we were offered an upgrade to a mid-size sedan. I couldn't justify an additional $20 a day for a larger card that takes more fuel.
Why have a bigger car just for the sake of it?
If we’re gonna upgrade, let's go for the convertible, right? $80 more a day, no big deal, right?
No biggie, what the heck, we’re doin’ it.
We had a pretty white Mustang and you know, it almost didn't happen. The system kept showing it was available, then not.
It worked out in the best possible way, except when returning the car without a full tank.
Let me tell you, pay attention to the charges, and take advantage of the guaranteed fill up rate if you don't think you'll return it full.
Getting gas in the US with a Canadian credit card, ain't easy. It's kinda a hassle actually. If they give you a decent price per gallon and you think you may not get a chance to fill it up, take that offer.
I ended up paying $9.99 / gallon rather than their rate of $3.50 or the gas station rate of something like $2.50 gallon. When the Hertz attendant was asking if I wanted to buy the fill-up option, I said no, because I thought it'd likely be a rip off.
I didn't think to ask what the price would be if I bring it back empty without their offer. I didn't know the consequences, I thought it'd be the same and that they were just trying to get me to commit before I left the lot. I didn't realize it was like $6.50 more if you bring it back empty without this offer.
So ya, we paid $99 US dollar to fill the tank ¼ of the way. It was a stupid expensive mistake. Won't be doing that again!
WILD HORSES OF THE Wild West
If you’re not yet following me on Instagram (ps. you should be), you may not know that I recently decided to get hair extensions. I’ll explain my reasoning for that another time.
Anyways, prior to leaving on our trip I was making jokes about my hair and making comments that I felt like a horse.
My friend has long brown hair, so of course the horse comment was kind super fitting for both of us considering we were driving around in a Mustang, which is thee wild horse of the Wild West. I had no idea until I googled Mustang.
It wasn’t until we got into the car and looked at my horn, that I put together the ‘horses’ and the Mustang convertible. This wasn't by accident, or fluke. It was pretty freaken cool.
Honestly, if you're driving through anywhere in amazing weather without children, get a convertible!
We drove around with the top down, pulled into the Four Seasons and settled into luxury for the next 24 hours. It was just the start to many laughs, many WTF's and just so many amazing moments, simple amazing moments.
The Four Seasons Troon North, Scottsdale
I booked one night at The Four Seasons North Troon because well, my bucket list.
I’ll be reviewing my Four Seasons Troon North experience in a different post so I won’t be getting into our time there much more.
I'm gonna be honest (because that's what I do), the best part about the North Troon resort is the property itself.
It was amazing to stay a night, but I personally wouldn't make a point to go back.
We walked around the property, examined the amazing cactus and desert vegetation and had a chill dinner in the lounge. We used our time at the Four Seasons to just chill. We hung by the pool, lounged on our porch and walked around the gorgeous property. Four Seasons does an exceptional job with their properties – both the design and the upkeep.
CIVANA WELLNESS SANCTUARY
We also stayed for two nights at the Civana Wellness Sanctuary because it was outside of Scottsdale and about 90 minutes from Sedona. The website looked clean and modern, the property had been recently renovated and they offered of the energy and wellness type things that I love. I thought I'd give it a shot.
It turned out to be perfect, such an amazing magical gem I found. I'll be putting together a special blog post about Civana as well. I think it's a pretty awesome place and I think anyone into a holistic type lifestyle would enjoy it.
I had a thai massage followed by reflexology. The spa was really nice and quite large. They had the coolest crystal wall in one of the waiting rooms.
My Thai massage was done by a therapist named Ana. She was awesome. She did some pretty amazing stuff on me - energy and body work and I left feeling so amazing. Energy had certainly shifted and was flowing!!
As soon as aI walked out of the spa, I noticed a large rock filled with crystals and from that exact angle it looked like a heart. I couldn't help but go over and check it out. It was stunning.
The RoYAL PALMS, SCOTTSDALE
Our final night we stayed in Old Town Scottsdale area at historic mansion turned resort called The Royal Palms Scottsdale. It was gorgeous!!! Based on my 24 hour stay, I'm pretty sure I can confidentially say that is an upscale place attracting upscale people, lots of locals too.
The bar/restaruant area is gorgeous and there seems to be regulars at the spa/salon. I had my nails done, and my aesthetician Shannon was great. Amazing personality and lots of fun.
We booked the night through my travel agent and she got us a $100 spa credit and breakfast credit for two. Booking through a travel agent has it's perks and it costs you nothing.
Staying at three different hotels in three different areas was just part of what made our trip an adventure.
I've done the hotel/vrbo hopping a few times, and well it's not always that easy with kids, it's much easier to do for solo-trips. It truly does make the trip that much more of an adventure.
This was my FIRST solo trip in over 19 months without travelling without my toddler or older daughters. I was excited.
Our next hotel was about 25 minutes away, just outside Scottdale in a town called Carefree, Arizona. YUP, this town is called Carefree. It’s a tiny town full of cowboys with deep pockets.
Once arriving at our second hotel, Civana Wellness Sanctuary, I signed up for two group sessions – angel card and spirit animal reading. The experience as a group was really cool and my cards were SPOT on, as usual.
This is when stuff started to intensify. Synchronicities left, right and center.
WE WENT TO HAROLD'S
We wanted to check out the little town and heard that it’s definitely a must do while in the area. We went to a real cowboy bar called Harold’s Cave Corral and watched a local band. Let’s just say that it was such an amazing night.
I decided to quit alcohol back in November of 2018 and haven’t had any desire since. Our entire trip was sans booze for both me and my friend. Hopefully she enjoyed herself as much as I did.
So ya, we hung out at the cowboy bar sober. Drinking water and lemon and watching a super amazing live band and some of the best dancing by the locals and lots of drunk people.
People watching is just so much fun. In my opinion, its just as much fun to watch than participate, lol. But seriously, this is a family friendly restaurant with the best vibe, people watching and live bands
Arizona Blacktop was playing. If you're into fun country music, you can check them out on YouTube here.
While being in the flow is key, it's also important to stay safe and be knowledgable.
We stopped in at the tourist center and got some maps and information. I asked about the vortex’s and the woman replied with, "Ohhh, you believe in that stuff?", as if I was crazy. Of course, I replied with, "Umm, yes I sure do!" I asked her if she’d ever hiked any of the trails, her reply was, "NO".
I was thinking WTF, who works at the tourist center in world famous hiking destination that has never hiked any of the trails.
By this point, there were a few dozen people who I had encountered who had me reflecting, some actually wondering WTF.
It was like I was moving in slow motion and everything everyone said and did I was able to quietly observe.
Let me just tell you, Sedona amplifies things. It’s pretty freaken awesome.
That morning we got up early and drove to Sedona. This was when stuff started to get really crazy. It was so fun, such an awesome day trip.
We drove with the top town and playlists with everything from Snoop Dog to Oldies. It was EPIC. Oh and we had the GoPro Hero5 out for most of the trip! One day I'll review it, and maybe edit it and maybe share some ;)
So, ya Sedona is freakin’ awesome just as I had imagined and if you haven’t gone, you must! If you're open to receiving, if you're sensitive to energy, if you're attracted to the mystical world, you need to go. But remember, over programming and booking will take away from the experience. The entire area is extremely healing while being very energetic.
We only had time to hike Red Rock and were there for a good 3 hours. I had a list of 4 vortex locations that I wanted to explore, but those will have to wait for next time.
My next trip will likely be a good solid ten days plus!
If you're crystal, stones and rocks, check out at least once of the shops. I only had enough time to stop at two crystal shops, but I'm suspecting there are a lot more.
Pick a stone you're drawn to and buy it. It doesn't have to be big, or cost a lot of money. Carry that stone with you are your adventures and use it in meditation. If you're going home with one souvenir, make it a crystal :)
I googled a quick healthy restaurant so we could fuel up after our hike. I found this place called Local Juicery. It was awesome. They had a bunch of my favourite products, even some I sell in my boutique!
There was a Pilates Studio right next to it. I could totally see myself frequenting this place a lot if I lived in Sedona.
I'm sure there are a lot more great places to find healthy food because the whole community is super conscious.
Speaking of which, it's said that the town of Sedona didn't want McDonald's to move in. So they told them that the yellow doesn't match, hoping they'd back away.
Nope, McDonald's installed a teal M on their sign. They moved in and apparently this location does really well because the town although is super health-conscious, is also a tourist attraction.
So between the Mustangs, the hearts, the messages about LOVE, the numbers, the 11's, all of it.
Everything was in divine time. Everything was flowing.
There were countless occasions where we'd just look at each other and laugh.
We ended up (by accident, usually by being lost) at a few places that literally had signs to BELIEVE IN LOVE. It's the end of April, not February, Valentine's Day is long gone. Again, not by chance.
Near the end of the trip when the spa attendant gave my friend the #10 locker key and me #8. These were 'our' numbers but reversed, and this was right after she had her one and only opportunity driving the car because we forgot to add her as a driver.
It was literally like we had passed the torch. We're not entirely sure in what way yet, but I know that I experienced tremendous healing in Sedona.
If I can pass on any of my wisdom and healing, I'm happy to do so.
The whole trip was just one big synchronicity and magical unfolding of events.
Just as we're leaving, going through security, the TSA person mentioned that my boarding pass didn't match my passport. WHAT? lol.
I've never ever heard of that, but okay. Let's figure this out. So I went back to the desk, went up to whatever AC attendant I could find and told them I was checked in under someone else. 45 minutes later it was sorted out.
I literally had like 5 boarding passes printed and ripped in front of me while they tried to figure out how they checked me in as a woman named Beatrice that is flying on a 10:30 pm flight.
RETURNING A NEW WOMAN
My bag and everything was processed under Beatrice on the later flight. I was supposed to have a good seat, but because she paid for my upgrade on the later flight, I actually didn't, and the flight was full but the time they were actually able to check the real Julie McLachlan in.
I stood there patient as heck, just in awe, like really. Almost went home a new woman I guess.
But in all seriousness, there was definitely some type of meaning and reason for that. I had undergone massive transformation and growth during my Arizona adventure. So to have that type of experience, like literally never have I got another persons boarding pass. I haven't even heard of it.
Again, so many connections that I can't explain, but ya, my solo trip without having to worry about any other dependant, the one that I was going to enjoy the plane ride and do work.
I ended up in a tiny seat next to a mom travelling alone with her 10 month old. This wasn't even close to what I imagined when I tried to check in hours before and paid for an upgraded preferred seat.
After the whole ordeal with the honest human mistake by the AC service attendant, and all the awareness and expansion happening within me, I knew this was happening for me.
But I needed time for me. I didn't want to make eye contact with this mom, I didn't smile at the baby. I just sat there, eating and getting myself situated.
I didn't say a single word for the first 30 minutes next to this woman and her baby. I'm sure she was a little taken back especially because I had a photo on my phone screen 3 little girls.
I was thinking that she was judging me for not being friendly, and I didn't care. I literally let that thought go and just melted into what I was feeling and needing.
I was re-energized pretty quickly and all the sudden we're in deep conversation, chatting and I'm helping with the babe.
So, I left Toronto so excited to have time for me, to make space for me, to speak up and go for the things that I feel drawn to do. By the end of the trip, after a lot of messiness and confusion at the AC check-in desk, I ended up in a pretty interesting situation.
Feeling like I needed to take care of me and not becoming anxious about how the other person would take that or judge that. Then once I had the time to be, and recharge, I was full enough to share myself.
Lessons come in all ways.
Everything came full circle.
I can't even get upset with negative outcomes anymore. I just know that there was a purpose for it. You know.
Before I travel, I talk to my friends who have been or who just know things (people).
So this is just that. I'm sharing my experiences and tips so you have the best experience too. If you discover anything cool or have any cool tips for my next trip, send me a note!
tips for scottsdale & sedona area
- Stay at Civana Carefree for minimum of 2 nights and take advantage of their wellness and energy classes and sessions. it's very good value and so magical. They actually have a deal if you book through their website you can get the 4th night for free.
- Stay a minimum of 2-3 days in Sedona. I hear the Enchantment is nice. However, if I could afford to splurge, I'd stay at the Auberge. That's actually where I want to get married.
- You need parking passes for the parking lots for most of the trails. You can get these at gas stations.
Before heading out, I would strongly suggest stopping at a tourist center, even if they person working hasn’t hiked ever, lol. The maps are useful and some of the information provided.
- Take water, sunscreen, proper clothing, maps, snacks, hat, sunglasses, and a camera!
- Stay present, try not to photograph and share. Take the photos as needed, then put your gear away.
- Take a Pink Jeep Tour (Sedona)
- Take a Guided Vortex Tour (Sedona)
- Eat healthy and take yoga or pilates
- Take your Apple Watch or FitBit!
- When in the Scottsdale area, check out the shops and restaurants by the canal and use the Lyft and Bird scooters!
- Take a GoPro with fun accessories and extra batteries and SD cards.
- Go in late April/Early May for the nice weather before the intense heat.
- It can be alot cooler Sedona than it is in Phoenix and surrounding area. Check the weather and always take a sweater, it can get pretty cool in the evenings.
- Take electrolytes and SPF lip balm and keep both handy.
- Rent a convertible.
- Check your credit card insurance, you may not need to buy additional. This is good to know in advance.
- US gas stations won't accept Canadian credit cards without a magic trick. You need to go inside to pre-pay. Don't waste time messing around with the pump.
- Make note of the car rental return policy and the price of gas per litre or gallon when you return if not full. It can be upwards of $8 more a gallon if you bring it back not to the fill line.
- For plane travel, check in online asap. Pick your seat (upgrade if necessary). When you check in yourself you can look up the flight seat map to have a better idea of your seat options.
- If you check in at the desk, remember humans make errors- always check your boarding pass at check-in, not at security. Do it while you're still at the desk.
Hi, I'm Jules; a multi-passion business woman, boss babe and entrepreneur; a mindful mom to 3 girls, luxury travel and fitness lover, planner, organizer and lifestyle blogger. I live mid-town Toronto with my daughters. Any chance I can, I'm booking a vacation. I appreciate quality and love natural products!