Phoenix, Arizona

I can now finally check off living in the Sonoran Desert from my lengthy list of places never lived. Arizona was never a state that was on my radar to stay during my travels but here we are, one extended lease and three months later. 


This stop was by far my most social location to date which I feel was certainly needed. I was lucky enough to have a friend less than 30 minutes away. I spent time with my family that lives in San Diego and I had the opportunity of getting to know and spend time with my landlords. Which worked out for the both of us, seeing that I was staying in the casita behind their family home. 


Phoenix and the state of Arizona was another stop that I was not familiar with outside of knowing that it was home to The Grand Canyon and has unbearable temperatures during the summer months. 


I was pleasantly surprised to see that Phoenix was another fun city nestled within a valley surrounded by the most incredible mountains. When I arrived, the city was experiencing its short winter, and by winter, I mean it was 55 degrees and raining. That only lasted a few short weeks until I was able to enjoy a more consistent 75-degree day with blue skies as far as the eye could see. Since picking up the new hobby of hiking, I was happy to see that I could entertain myself with a plethora of hikes in locations within very close proximity to where I was staying. 


The more experience that I have living in areas that are more metropolitan, I am surprised more and more by how large of a role the public transit plays in my stay. Located just a few blocks from the casita I was staying in was the Valley Metro light rail. The light rail services northwest Phoenix, Tempe and East Mesa. A one-day fare pass was $4 and for a monthly pass, it was $64. Reasonable fare in my opinion and the transport was able to get me to every downtown destination I could have needed to go. 


Traffic in Phoenix was comparable to the last few cities I have stayed in. Just as any major city, traffic is something that comes with the territory. I would suggest avoiding the 101 or 202 during the hours of 3:00-6:00 pm on a weekday and Saturday afternoons but it is overall manageable. More so than other major cities I have stayed in. 


Along the lines of traffic and spending time on the road, I found Phoenix to be a great central destination for day and weekend trips. While I spent a lot of time in the city exploring, it was just as important for me to get out of the city and explore other areas of Arizona. Some of my favorite road trip destinations from Phoenix were to Page, Sedona, Prescott and Apache Junction. I spent a considerable amount of time in northern Arizona and absolutely loved it. On a return trip, I would love to take some time to explore the cities that are in southern Arizona. 


Prior to my stay in Arizona, I was told that the food scene was great as was the nightlife and I do have to say, I was not disappointed. The southwestern food scene does an incredible job at paying homage to the state’s diverse culture and history. Foods deeply rooted in both Native American and Mexican culinary traditions. I was both satisfied and impressed!


Phoenix had a great offering of speakeasies and nightlife! There were many fun and unique bars that were downtown and in the surrounding area that certainly kept me busy! Some of my favorites were FYPM, Rough Rider, Highball and Bitter and Twisted. Should find yourself in the area and are in need of a good drink. 


While I did briefly mention this being one of my more social stops, I am afraid that I cannot offer much feedback on the locals within this state. Majority of the folks that I encountered during my adventures and evenings out were not locals but fellow Midwestern's looking to escape the cold that this time of year brings to our region. The few locals that I had the opportunity of meeting were friendly and were extremely happy to see that I was enjoying my time in their state and were glad to see that I chose to visit during the most enjoyable months of the year. 


Along the lines of discussing the locals within this state, we need to discuss the importance of both learning, respecting and trying to experience some of the more indigenous culture while in this region. I took great pleasure in learning more about the Native Americans that long inhabited this region prior to my arrival and have gained a new respect for their perseverance and culture after seeing the diverse landscape they had to both navigate and survive. If you are in Phoenix and want to expand your own knowledge, I would suggest spending a day at The Herd Museum, as it was incredibly informative. 


Much like my last two stops, I continued to spend the majority of time enjoying nature. 


I know, who am I? 


I purchased another pair of hiking boots and hit the trails my first weekend in Arizona hiking some 20 miles. I do not waste much time! The natural beauty of Antelope Canyon and the red rocks in Sedona enamored me. The landscape in this state might be the most diverse that I have experienced thus far. 


My favorite mountain range in this area, and quite possible yet, are the Superstition Mountains. Formed some 17-29 million years ago, these mountains have earned their name through the stories passed down from the Akimel O’odhan people that had told stories about strange sounds within the mountains, people disappearing and mysterious deaths. 


Not only am I fascinated by the myths and stories, but also these mountains and the beauty of the Sonoran Desert surrounding them are indescribable. 


If the cacti in the desert have taught me anything, it is that having shallow roots, for now, is okay. Having the ability to be grounded where you are at for the time being, while also providing just enough stability without becoming too rooted.


Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar to a lifestyle that I can now relate to. 


With that being said, I have absolutely loved my time in the desert, everything from A-Z.


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Arizona is an absolutely gorgeous state! I am so happy to hear how much you have enjoyed it.

Susan Greenslait

I cannot wait to see where you go next!


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