The year after we met, my boyfriend and I took a road trip across the Southwest. We were excited to see the orange landscapes and get a taste of the Hispanic infused foods we had heard so much about. After three days of driving and a few stops to catch up on our rest, we landed in the desert town we had been fantasizing about for months leading up to the excursion. After stocking up on groceries for the week, we headed to small adobe home we had reserved for our summer adventure. The one-bedroom rental was perfect for us, and, pleased with our choice, we began mapping out our must-sees using local maps and brochures.
As we adjusted to the high altitude and arid air of the desert, we made good use of the air conditioning unit in our rental home. We spent most of our time outdoors, on foot, and the cooling unit provided an escape from our desert playground. The most memorable day of our trip came when we completed a six mile hike in a more mountainous range of the area. The views were remarkable, and the challenge left us both feeling that we had accomplished something unique. Still, the hour-long drive back to our rental home left us both feeling exhausted. We stopped for a few carry-out tacos and decided to call it a day. When we made it back to our temporary home, I adjusted the knob on the HVAC thermostat, and we were grateful for the comfort and cool relief that we needed so badly. I later realized that our trip was enjoyable because we placed ourselves out of our comfort zones and because we had a cool refuge to return to at the end of each day.