One of my family’s favorite destinations for summer trips is Taos, NM. While we usually head west over the summer from our home in Wisconsin, we always try to make a stop in Taos. We love the place for a variety of reasons: the kids especially enjoy the rafting, camping and horseback riding experiences we have here, Terry and I look forward to the multitude of hiking trails we can visit, we all enjoy the delicious food and cultural experiences and Meghan and I enjoy the shopping opportunities. But, most of all, I like who I am when I’m here.
Taos is a place that moves in its own time and by its own rules. Clocks are not strictly followed; they are more of a suggestion than a strict order. It is the mountain, not Father Time, that rules here. The pace is unhurried; the attitude mellow. If you are going to a show, it may start a bit late, or perhaps a few minutes early. That’s alright—walk right in. Taos accepts everyone for who and how they are.
During a recent visit, we listened to one of our favorite local singers (Easter Sunday, in fact) at one of the local establishments. Because it was also her wedding anniversary, she had baked a deep dish apple pie at home earlier that day that she brought out during a break and shared with everyone in the audience who wanted some! Miraculously, there was enough to go around. That’s just what happens in Taos.
It is a kinder, gentler world I live in there and, as a result, I am calmer, more relaxed and a happier person, when I am there. I am more tolerant, patient and accepting when in Taos—all things I struggle with here in my “real life.” This is easy because residents of Taos tend to exude those qualities, and an unusual acceptance of everyone, no matter who they are or how they are dressed.
We have seen a wider variety of styles of clothing in Taos than anywhere else; the flamboyant, the out-of-date, the unique combinations and more…all intermingle peacefully, free of judgment by those around them. It is live and let live kind of place.
This was a mindset that it took some time to get in touch with when we first visited ten or more years ago. But it is now an attitude I easily embrace when we pull into town and attempt to cultivate even when I am home. In fact, when a woman with a cart piled high with groceries jumped in a Taos grocery store line in front of me with my three items, I simply stepped back and smiled—“She’s not a local. I can wait,” I thought to myself.
So to make the most of my summer, I am heading back to Taos for at least part of my time. I will not spend the entire summer there, nor do I have to. I just need a bit of a refresher—a small dose of this new reality…to make the most of my summer and the most of myself.
When planning your travels this summer and for the rest of the year, think about the places that help you to become your best self. Isn’t that what we all want and what vacation and travel is designed to do? Let me know your “best self” places—I would love to check them out as well!
For more information about camping and visiting New Mexico browse Woodall’s listings of New Mexico camping.