By Lauren Wong

While floating down the Salt River in Mesa, I had one of those aha moments. One of those moments that just feels right and clicks in your brain.

iStock 1366610644

 I’m not going to lie, picking up and moving my life across the country without knowing anyone here in Arizona has been difficult. Yes, my passion has always been going on that next greatest adventure. I want to see everything this world has to offer. But, there are days when I work remotely in my apartment and never leave my kitchen table (except to lay on my couch afterwards).

I don’t want to be someone who never follows their dreams because it’s far out of their comfort zone. I felt scared going to University of Tampa, so far away from Chicago, not knowing anyone in Florida and I loved it. I made some of my best friends and memories there. The only difference now is that there’s no orientation, roommates, classes to get to know people, etc. 

Even though I absolutely love my job, and it’s such a huge step towards my career goal of, eventually, traveling internationally, there are those days I doubt myself. If I’m capable, good enough, or just days where I feel downright lonely. (If anyone is in the same boat, Bumble BFF has been a great way for me to meet people).

iStock 531404756

But, that afternoon when I went to rent my $21 tube from Salt River Tubing in Mesa, everything felt so right. It’s a hard feeling to put in words. First off, I absolutely love animals, anything with animals can instantly brighten my day. I’m always that one girl in her 20s (and probably 30s, 40s, 50s) among the little kids in a petting zoo fighting for some animals’ attention. It’s so bad that even at Bearizona, it took a lot out of me to not roll down my window and try and pet these animals, thinking that since they’re all cute and cuddly looking they wouldn’t maul my hand.

While I studied abroad in Iceland, I went out to explore one day by myself, went up to pet a wild horse, got bit, and ran back to our hostel. Anyways, to get to the point, as I was floating, I got this overwhelming feeling of clarity. Knowing that this is why I came here, this is what makes me happy. I could sit here floating down this river for the rest of my life and be content. 

Unless there’s some amazing place in Illinois I missed out on growing up, it’s safe to say I don’t think they have hour long tubing trips where you leisurely float past wild horses (right in the water with you), surrounded by towering mountains, reminding you how small you are in this world (and how small your problems are in the grand scheme of things).  

iStock 989609958

Even if just for the day, my doubts and fears were completely lifted away. (And though I was tempted, I did not try to pet the horses). My music played softly next to me as I was basking in the hot, AZ sun. A tip I would give though is to not just wear a bathing suit. Purchase a sun protection shirt, and bring a sheet or towel to put over your tube! When I got home, even though I swear I felt like I applied sunscreen every five minutes, I had a sun rash. Also, don’t forget a dry bag for your belongings and a waterproof case or pouch for your phone.

I know there’s so many articles about tubing at this hot spot in the summer, so I thought I’d share my personal experience. Another tip is to go during the week if you can, the lines on the weekend are insane (said by a guide, not from my experience). I went on a day I had off of work.

If you haven’t heard of this place, it’s a wonderful way to get out on the water to escape the summer heat. Anytime you feel overheated you can just hop right off your tube for a swim (just don’t let go of your tube). There’s a two hour, three hour, and five hour trip you can take. Buses run all throughout the day during open hours to drive you and your tube to the start of your trip and to pick you up afterwards. During the summer they’re open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. There’s also a certain part where you can cliff jump, but we were told not to due to the lowering water levels. 

iStock 1384859909

Anyways, there’s a very popular book I read while I was gearing up to start my new life with my first, out of college, full-time job across the country. It’s called The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest. 

Since I took today’s blog post to show you a little bit more of who I am, I wanted to share some of the parts of her book that really spoke to me. My hopes are that maybe they will help you too, and possibly give you that extra confidence boost you may be needing. 

The Mountain is You:

  • “Your new life is going to cost you your old one. It’s going to cost you your comfort zone and your sense of direction. It’s going to cost you relationships and friends. It’s going to cost you being liked and understood. It doesn’t matter. The people who are meant for you are going to meet you on the other side. You’re going to build a new comfort zone around the things that actually move you forward. Instead of being liked, you’re going to be loved. Instead of being understood, you’re going to be seen. All you’re going to lose is what was built for the person you no longer are.” 
  • “The truth is that we actually do not accomplish great feats when we are anxious about whether or not what we do will indeed be something impressive and world-changing. We accomplish these sorts of things when we simply show up and allow ourselves to create something meaningful and important to us.”
  • “… there is nothing more important than being able to enjoy where you are, right here and right now… life is quick, and it’s temporary. What you have right now you could lose tomorrow, and gripping it so tightly, binding it up with resistance doesn’t mean it’s safer. It means that when the day comes and it passes – as does everything, as does everyone – you will realize you never really enjoyed it.”
  • “Your life is just beginning. One day, that mountain that was in front of you will be so far behind you, it will barely be visible in the distance. But who you became in learning to climb it? That will stay with you forever. That is the point of the mountain.”

For more information on Salt River Tubing floats in Mesa, visit their website.