I wish life came with a proofreader. These masters of the written word have the ability to see what we may miss, what is blatantly in front of them – especially the mistakes – and eliminate them. If you follow my postings regularly, you’d know I could benefit from one of these in my literary life, but I could also use one in my everyday life. Imagine if we each possessed a second set of eyes, guiding us through our choices, providing a completely unbiased perspective. This resource could find the best price and value from an array of products in the grocery store. This person would correct my taxes before I commit even the most innocent mathematical error. And yes, this guide would clearly inform me why I should swipe left even though I really want to swipe right.
Truly excellent traveling companions are these proofreaders of the excursion world. The perfect travelling companion will see the sites through a completely different lens. Imagine if you were so busy staring at the vast forest surrounding the tranquil lake that you missed the bald eagle perched on the nearby tree. Would they be called ‘prooftravelers?’ Or perhaps, ‘travel mentors?’ Although, it need not be someone more experienced at traveling, just someone whose vantage point changes the entire perspective of the landscape, the scenery, and the moment. I so often travel solo, that I fail to take in the perspective of others, however, the most valuable input I’ve ever received from – shall we say, ‘fresh travel eyes’ – might also be called, ‘my children.’
When I first began planning our largest vacation of their childhood, I offered them four choices: the Northern Rockies, the American Southwest, the Ohio Territory, or East Coast Baseball. They agreed on option B, and weighed in on everything from making sure we visited the North Rim and not the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, to the soundtrack we would load into our MP3 players. This would be their vacation as much as mine, and throughout all of Arizona and New Mexico, and a touch of Utah and Colorado, they gave me an entirely fresh view of an area where I spent my entire childhood.
We looped around Phoenix, as far north as Payson, then Prescott, then back to Scottsdale, Mesa, on to Tucson and Benson. We crossed the state line into New Mexico, and also the White Sands Missile Range, descended into Carlsbad Caverns, and climbed up into the Sacramento Mountains, traversed the Rio Grande and the Colorado Rivers, and yes, watched both a sunset and a sunrise over the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The boys threw snowballs along the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad (see “Cumbers & Toltec,” June 2013) and soaked up the sun poolside in ninety-degree weather. As we sat on the edge of the black abyss below us and the brilliantly star-lit sky above us at the North Rim, my own personal ‘prooftraveler’ observed that the American Southwest appears to be a never-ending cluster of holes. I never noticed that. It’s a wonder in all the years I lived in that region of the country, having never realized the extent to which the beauty exists below the ground that I never accidentally fell into them.