When I was a little girl (when not harassing horses, cows and my little brother), I would bury my head in my aunt's collection of National Geographic magazines and plot to explore the world I saw in those pages.  Since then, I've been fortunate enough to be able to explore many of those places, many spectacular and others with luxuries and amenities much less than our own, and in turn have had some humbling yet amazing experiences abroad.  And ya know what?   Beauty aside, there's nowhere like this place I call home. Arizona.

In those final morning hours before I fly off, I wake up so attuned to our high desert's crisp scent of juniper and sometimes pungent creosote if after a rain.  Driving up the canyon, I notice new rocks, new trees, new cracks in the road, hyper-appreciative that this is the safety, the nest, the place I get to call home.  Before I climb into the small plane where I'll get my last few moments breathing in the crisp northern AZ air, feeling the sun against my skin, smelling the ponderosa pine sap, and hearing only the sounds of aspen leaves rustling in the breeze and of the ginormous ravens playing high in the thermals.

Flying out of the closest airport, Flagstaff, can be hard.  The little airport is a total breeze to use, and while waiting quietly outside for for my departure flight, all these northern Arizonan exclamations remind me just how darn fantastic it is here!

I often brainstorm of ways to stop traveling so much, so that I can simply sit-put here...to embrace this high desert mountain oasis and breathe/sniff/hike/play/mtb/etc anytime I want.

But I never come up with anything.  Maybe deep down I know that this place is even more special when contrasted against all the other places in this world I go.

And I know, that yet again, I can look forward to soon stepping off that small plane and breathing it all in once again.