I’m in marketing and fancy myself to be a woman of words. But words are failing me as I think back on my first trip to North Dakota. Rejuvenation isn’t quite right. Refresh doesn’t totally work either. I felt a release in North Dakota that is almost indescribable.
I paused to take in the scenery. I breathed the fresh air and appreciated the warm sunlight on my face. I laughed until my face hurt and I cried fun tears. In short, I experienced deeply and allowed myself to enjoy a sense of personal freedom in a way that I haven’t been comfortable with or haven’t had the opportunity to feel in a long time.
Normally, we live in a busy world of cell phones, iPads and various other devices. I’m not saying those things weren’t accessible to me while I was there, because they certainly were (and I was actually quite impressed with the coverage I got.) And, in truth, I stayed somewhat plugged-in the entire time - because you have to as a working mom! But, I gave myself permission to let go, to truly experience and enjoy the quirky, the out of the ordinary, the authentic, the rugged and the fun.
There were so many opportunities in North Dakota to simply sit back and enjoy things for what they are, without asking why or how. What do I mean by that? Take, for example, standing in the shadows of the larger-than-life statues (depicting Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Mandan Chief Sheheke) at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and trying to envision what daily life was like on the trail. Or our wonderful night at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, where we enjoyed amazing views and a beautiful sunset, followed by an engaging and entertaining outdoor variety show at the Medora Musical.
I’ll never forget my first up-close encounter with bison in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, feeling my heart race at the majestic size and proximity of the animal. Or the fun and eccentric statues along the Enchanted Highway that provided the opportunity for silly photos and light conversation.
For me, North Dakota was a magical, emotional escape. It gave me a chance to reconnect with myself. It set my expectations high and I’m already looking forward to my next trip back.