There’s something quite wonderful about letting go of plans and expectations to let unlikely influences come together in magical ways. Years ago when I started saying “yes!” to life, I found I was having experiences that were beyond what I could have ever imagined. I’ve come to call them, “adventures of the unscripted kind.”
Sedona has become one of the places I can never get enough of, returning year after year. Its majesty and beauty is simply … beyond words. This year the place became equal partners with the incredible adventures I was about to have, unplanned encounters with an amazing array of people. All with interesting stories of their own to share.
The Magic in Unrelated Things
There were two unrelated things that kicked off this round of adventures of the unscripted kind. Firstly, my daughter Lani was unable to join me on our yearly trip and I casually threw out, “I have an idea,” in an email to my long-time friend and fellow Aquarian singer/songwriter Kelita, who now lives on the other side of the country in Vancouver BC. “Why don’t you come to Sedona with me this year?” She had never been and I absolutely knew she would love it. Surprisingly she said “yes” and set in motion an incredible week together that we could never have planned. Even if we had tried.
Secondly, I had agreed to be part of a challenge during the month of October called #BetterYou, pledging to connect with people in-person face to face and to spend more time in nature. Little did I realize how prophetic those intentions would become.
Unexpected Hiking Adventure
The first day there, we joined a free hiking clinic offered by the generous-spirited Greg of The Hike House. His yearly visits to his mother, a longtime Sedona resident, had him realize that his white-collar corporate position in Texas, wasn’t fulfilling his passion and desire to live a life in nature. He decided to pack up his family and relocate to Sedona, opening his shop and café to serve the hikers who flock to Sedona to experience the multitude of trails within the area. Greg told us it would take 20 years to hike all of the 200 plus trails around Sedona. Impressive. A great reason to keep coming back too.
At the trailhead, just before the hike began, he called out to a passing woman, “Hi Terrie.” She cheerfully replied, then walked off to start her own hike. Greg mentioned that she owned the legendary house up on the hill above his shop and that she and her twin sister Jennie were the Doublemint Twins back in the late 60s.
A Synchronistic Wrong Turn
Before we all moved out to follow a different trail, Terrie came back towards us and casually said, “Oops, I took a wrong turn.” Kelita stopped to talk with her and within a few minutes, we had an invitation to come up and visit her at the house. Was there any possible answer but YES?
The house itself is the basis of urban legends around Sedona. Called the House of Seven Arches it is also affectionately called “Lucy’s House,” as in comedienne and actress Lucille Ball. The stories can be elaborate or mere references, however, they all report that at one point in time, this was Lucille Ball’s house and she lived there.
Entering the house was like a nostalgic trip back in time. Movie and music memorabilia line the walls. Photos of Clark Cable and Marilyn Monroe hang over her newest and very prized possession, Lucille Ball’s piano, which Terrie just bought in February from Lucy’s nephew, Geoffrey.
Terrie herself has had an amazing and illustrious entertainment industry career as a writer, singer, songwriter, and musical theater writer (Dorothy Parker – Room Enough for Two), as did her sister Jennie who passed away in 2008. What Terrie Frankel is most proud of though, is being active in military causes and her recent honor of being inducted as Honorary Commander of the 944th Fighter Wing Squadron Medical Unit that shepherds wounded soldiers home from overseas.
The Legendary House of the 7 Arches
When asked about the legend surrounding the home, she told me “Lucy did not own this home, however, someone in her family did. The Ball family believes that at one time Lucy owned the entire hillside that this home is built on. After she divorced from Desi, she had a lot of money and purchased a lot of property in this area. Although Lucy never owned the home, I have spoken with people who saw her here in the house for parties.”
On the balcony that overlooks uptown Sedona, stands a red-haired “Lucy” mannequin that waves at the cars and jeep tours that drive up and down Schnebly Hill Road. It was fun on the day we visited to be on the balcony and be “live” wavers to the parade of jeeps driving back after their day of tours. Terrie said she had never actually done that before.
The house also boasts one of only two Google EarthCam‘s in Sedona, which stream live images to the world. Terrie is friendly and cherubic, with a generous heart and an open willingness to invite people in. It astonished me when she told us that very few people ever follow-up with her like Kelita and I did. Really?!
My Own Starbucks “Meeting” Story
You know those stories about how people meet at Starbucks? Uh-huh. Yes, Kelita and I had one of those experiences too. Our usual spot to sit on the balcony overlooking the red rocks was filled this Friday morning, so we went to the more shaded balcony. It was filled as well. A man was getting up to take a photo of a young Japanese couple that was about to leave their table. They were happy to hold their Starbucks cups up while he took their picture with the magnificent red rock background.
Taking their now-vacant table, a conversation just flowed between the three of us. He had a gentle soft-spoken energy and wonderful welcoming blue eyes and it seemed easy and natural to talk about a variety of topics. During the course of our meandering conversation, the fact that I’m a writer came up and he mentioned his new neighbor had also written a book and was now in a place, like many of us authors end up, of questioning. “Now what?”
Authors on the Same Page
Roger thought it would be wonderful if Kim and I could meet, so he suggested dinner at his place that night. The invitation to an almost home-cooked meal, compliments of Whole Foods (he had literally just relocated to Sedona that day), did manifest and the four of us had an amazing and delightful evening of sharing stories, lively engaged conversation, and much laughter. And Kim had written her book at a later version of the same writing retreat where I’d written my book, Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie. Also in Sedona. Turns out she knew several of the same people I did too. Small world.
When I told my daughter I was going to dinner at a man’s house that I’d met at Starbucks, her reaction made me smile. She asked if this was some “random man.” Maybe. However, over the course of the next week he and I had many conversations, times in nature together, and lovely dinners.
And I had a longtime wish come true, as he graciously took me on an off-road adventure up Schnebly Hill Road, something you can’t easily do in a rental car. Although we come from different backgrounds and perspectives on science and spirituality (he has a science background and I do not) it felt to me like all the cosmic puzzle pieces had fallen into place in that moment, in that place, on that day, allowing our worlds to collide as they did.
Dare to Say “Yes!” to Life
These are only a few of the people I met during our adventure in Sedona. It amazed me how the intention I set before I came, manifested perfectly on this trip.
It started me thinking how so often we miss the moments that could become memories in our lives, because we don’t stop and see them as an opportunity. We all have interesting stories to share. That to me is what being human is really all about. It’s as simple as taking the time to stop and listen to one another. To really listen with open ears and share with an open heart. I can only encourage everyone to say “yes!” more than you say “no.” To sometimes let go of plans and expectations and let life flow. Go out and make some memories. Dare to live your life as one big adventure…of the unscripted kind.
Love your stories and I love the unexpected things that can happen when you are traveling. I’ve traveled a lot on my own and have always loved the ‘unexpected’ experiences. When I was an expat, my radar was up and looking for them as everything was new and exciting. Now that I’m back home I find my radar is often off and not open to those same experiences. Great reminder to run my radar on again. 🙂
Thanks so much Heather! I think maybe when we are traveling we abandon some of our regular ways of being and let our hair down to step out of our comfort zone. Wouldn’t it be amazing to live this way regardless of where we are? Sounds like you had a lot of interesting and unexpected experiences when you were abroad, living life as an expat and maybe the key is just keeping our radar turned on…all the time! 🙂
I do think life would be much more interesting if we looked away from our smartphone and had chats with the people passing by. If we stopped worrying so much about what people might think about us and engaged with others when we are in lines waiting, or just out and about.
I remember when I use to fly the amazing conversations I’d have with people on the plane or transfer buses. You are right we let our guard down, we know in those situation is ok to chat but not in others.
It’s interesting how we all know what we are missing by being so entrenched in technology, yet we rarely take the opportunities we are presented with in our daily lives, Heather. I think with a bit more conscious effort, we’d have such richer experiences even in our home towns. And yes, flying is one way to just be in the moment and if the person you are sitting beside wants to talk, you never know the kind of amazing conversation waiting to happen. Yes to letting our guard down and saying yes more often to life!
I love it when intention and timing synchronize to create memories of a lifetime, Beverley. Somehow, it feels as if Lani’s not being able to accompany you was part of a bigger plan to show you and your friend something new. More stories to cherish!
Thanks for seeing how this adventure somehow magically came together, thanks to a few unexpected seemingly unconnected events. I also love when the timing seems to work in our favour, Vatsala! The time my friend and I had together could never have been “written”, as it kept getting better and better almost with each step we took! Definitely more stories to cherish!
Reading your words brings back my visits to Sedona. I remember my first time, I think I held my breath the entire week. I had never felt such beauty and vowed to return which I did years later to attend a wedding in Arizona. We took extra time, drove to Sedona and then to the Grand Canyon. I’ve traveled to many foreign countries but none appealed to me the way Sedona did. I visited twice more.
I also relate to talking to new people- strangers who within a short time become great memories, stimulating conversations, fun and laughter.
Love your story.
I really feel your experience of Sedona in reading your comment, Roslyn. It is definitely a place that takes your breath away and I still experience that when I visit there too! Even after so many times. There is something indescribable about the majesty and beauty for everyone who goes there it seems. It is simply beyond words! Just hearing how you were also drawn to return several times, speaks to the intangible and indescribable wonder of the place. Maybe it is the kind of place where we step outside our comfort zone, talk with people and do things we wouldn’t normally do in our day-to-day life. Magical place indeed! Happy you enjoyed my story too. As always, many thanks!
Oh, Beverley, what a story! It’s adventure after adventure for you, and we are lucky you share each adventure with us. This post shows the power we have when we set intentions – a good reminder that we can have a really good day or a really bad day based on how we plant ourselves.
And, of course, I love that you say yes to invitations, to chance meetings, and to living large.
Thanks so much Deb! I am so happy to hear you enjoy my “adventures”, as I guess I do look at life as one adventure after another. And yes, I could not have even imagined how this trip would have unfolded and couldn’t have “scripted” it, even if I had tried. Each day is there for our taking and it is up to us to say yes…and see where that takes us or see what “future” is coming towards us.
Sedona sounds like a nice place to visit Beverley. I liked the overall message of your story that you can meet and create relationships with people in the most “normal” surroundings if you just be open to it. Great post and great story. Cheers, Ian
Thanks Ian. Sedona is quite an incredible place and everyone who visits there seems to have the same kind of “magical” experience. Glad you enjoyed the overall message, as yes, if we choose to open ourselves, life offers us adventures everywhere we are. Seem a bit easier for some to do this when they are travelling though. Appreciate your support and cheers to you too!
Sedona is one of my all time favorite places to visit. I love the energy and vibes surrounding the area. Your beautiful story helped me to see even deeper into this magical place.
Glad to hear that Sedona is on your favourite list as well, Sherri. It is indeed a very magical and mystical place. Happy to hear that my article brought back some memories of the energy of the place and also that it offered you a deeper insight into how truly magical Sedona is.
After reading your blog again and others comments, I am very present to the twists and turns of life. I no longer travel much, nor engage with strangers, nor try on new adventures. Surprisingly, Im not saddened by it as it is what it is. My life was so full for so long and now it is different. My circle is smaller and yet has gotten larger thru virtual connections. Is this a conundrum? I believe we make choices and each one has a ripple effect that takes us on the path we are on. Such is life.
Reading your comment, Roslyn, what occurred to me is that as long as the choice you’ve made is truly what you want, then that is perfect for you now. Memories are always there and sounds like you made many memories over the years with all the travel adventures you did have. I do understand the advantage of scaling back and simplifying and created a circle close at home. Yes, the online world is a bit of a conundrum in that we have the opportunity to connect with so many people virtually anywhere and yet, they often stay virtual and the connect person to person closeness is not there. Thanks for your thoughtful comment again. I love how you deepen and expand on your own thoughts each time!
I enjoyed reading this one a second time, Beverley. Posted on this yesterday but don’t see the comment.
The serendipity of life is magic. Great piece.
Not sure where your comment went from yesterday, although I did see you share this and post a comment on twitter, Sharon. Appreciate you reading the piece twice and I agree with you fully. Life is very serendipitous and the magic in that…is often beyond words. Glad you enjoyed this piece too! Much appreciated.
How in heaven’s name can I say I went to the Grand Canyon, and not Sedona! That’s it; now I HAVE to go! I am so glad that you had a marvelous time, though I knew you would. Thank you for sharing what I know was a fabulous trip for you. I know that everyone who came into your space was better for it, as well. 🙂
You went to the Grand Canyon and didn’t go to Sedona? You DEFINITELY do need to reconsider and head back there, Liz. It is truly a magical place and I know you’d love the energy and the expansive nature of everything about it. Yes, can’t wait to return again this year. It’s one place I already feel I am “there” before I even arrive!
What a great story and share Beverley.. so true that some times the best things happen when we don’t plan or expect them… after all, when I finally gave up on men (lol) that’s when my honey and I met and built a wonderful relationship!
I just might have to take that lesson about men from you, Kristen! 😉 It is true…all the planning and being prepared doesn’t always ensure success. When we open ourselves to possibilities, I have found that often the most wonderful of things happens! Glad you enjoyed the post and my adventures in Sedona too!
You certainly have an enthusiasm for life, Beverley! I’m more of a planner than a spontaneous person, but vacation is certainly the time for spontaneity. And I agree that Sedona is a great destination over and over.
Thanks so much Carol! I honestly am much more structured and plan oriented than this post might represent. I think having my friend Kelita with me, required that I just be open and keep saying YES, even though I had no idea what would unfold. And I do agree with you. Sedona is a place I never tire of returning to and am already excited about this year’s October trip!
Great story Beverley! Since I moved to Vancouver, BC from Japan. You mentioned my two favourite places!!! I like you said that “we miss the moments that could become memories in our lives”. I totally agree with you, we need to slow down…. We can find more things to appreciate and moments to become memories. Thank you for sharing and I enjoyed reading it!
Thanks so much Kaz, and happy you enjoyed this story! Yes, my friend moved to Vancouver too and it was amazing she said yes to coming to meet me in Sedona last year. Glad you appreciate the point about staying as open as we can, so we don’t miss the moments that become lasting memories. And like you, I am also aware of the importance of slowing down and really appreciating the moments. That’s where life is actually happening! Glad you liked reading this post! Appreciated.
I enjoyed reading every line of your story pertaining to engaging in adventures, that is, unexpected encounters with some wonderful people. An array of people who are on the same page and love to share their stories, too. Great piece, Beverley!
Thanks so much Lorii! Glad you enjoyed the unplanned and unexpected adventures that come from engaging and saying yes to the people who show up in your life. It is definitely the best way to meet new people and start new friendships or relationships. Appreciate your support!
What a great story!
I don’t do a lot of travelling (hate to fly), but after reading your post, I would really like to visit Sedona.
No to the fear, yes to the adventure, yes to taking lots of wrong turns and a huge YES to talking to people I’ve never met.
I just have to convince Joe to drive for 34 hours 🙂
The first thing I will say is, Sedona is very worth a 34 hour drive! You and Joe could make it your very own driving adventure… of the unscripted kind, Gisele. It is amazing what happens when we say YES more than we say no and stay open to meeting people we might never have met if we weren’t. This trip truly showed me the power of getting out of your comfort zone and just seeing how the world shows up for you. Appreciate your enthusiasm…now if we could just get you to fly! 😉
Sounds like a wonderful visit to Sedona. So nice that you just kind of went with the flow and spent time with people you met there etc. Those are often the best moments.
Agree Katarina. Sometimes just being in the moment and going with the flow, offers us such amazing opportunities to connect with people we’d have never met otherwise. And these are definitely the best memories when the adventures just take on their own life!
I love the challenge you did. What a great idea. I also have one of those special places that I just love to visit… a snorkling hole on the Big Island that makes me feel like I’m in heaven. So wonderful that you took advantage of those opportunities and thank you for the reminder to look for them!
Thanks Ginny. It was a fun challenge and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Perfect timing too. It is wonderful to hear that you also have a very sacred place where you love away from it all. And the Big Island sounds like the place to have one of those spots too. Yes, this was one trip where having no plans and just going with the flow, produced amazing adventures with long lasting memories.
Wonderful post! There is something wonderfully magical about Sedona! I was able to visit on two separate occasions and would love to go back. Just readying this makes me want to go again!
I’m sorry to hear that Lani was unable to join you this year. So glad that your friend, Kelita, was able to go. It does sound like this magical place did its wonders once again. You are so right. There are moments that we need embrace. Those opportunities can become precious memories in our lives if we make a conscious effort not to let them slip through our fingers and say Yes! to life!
Thanks so much Robin! Glad you enjoyed reading about my magical time in the majestic Sedona. Sounds like you’ve also had amazing times there and I always want to go back too! It was interesting, as I really wanted Lani to come with, and yet when my friend Kelita said “yes”, it set us up for an incredible and memorable adventure. And I agree. When we let go of the moments, we have no idea what adventures and memories we are turning away from our lives!
Beverley, I have never been to Sedona, however, being interested in New Age things and meditations, spiritual paths; I do want to go. I have heard wonderful things about it. This post reminds me of what I tell my kids and remind myself too – to be open to everything and attached to none. In this way, your plans are the skeleton and what happens becomes the body and skin that ties it all together. Being too rigid in planning doesn’t allow for the beauty of life and synchronicity to happen. Thanks for another awesome post!
Based on the little I know about you Tamara, I think you would really love Sedona. It is truly a “beyond” words experience for all who go there. And I love the wisdom you have shared with your kids. Yes, plans should only be the skeleton and allow the experiences to shape how the rest unfolds. I think for a lot of my life I was more “fixed” and seemed to want to know everything in advance. Life doesn’t really flow when you try to control it that way. Life can be magical when we really stay open and as you say, “allow life’s beauty and synchronicity to happen”. Love that and thanks for sharing some really new ideas with me today too!
Hi Beverley 🙂
Such an awesome post!! Yes, I do agree we should live our lives a little “unscripted” sometimes because life is how you make it, right? Being happy and enjoying those little things are so important, especially as we grow older, just relaxing more and not being so tense is just so nice 🙂 I know for me when I do something that was unplanned it actually makes me less tense…..so yes sometimes the unexpected can be a breath of fresh air 😉
Thanks my friend! Always enjoy reading about your personal experiences!!
That’s a great point you make, Joan. That when we lighten up and allow life to flow, it takes much of the stress and tension out of our lives. Glad you enjoyed reading this piece and sounds like you are enjoying more “unscripted” adventures as well as you sit back and relax into your own life. Appreciate your comments and support.
You have an incredible life, no doubt. I am so very glad you have your wonderful health and that you had a great time!
Thanks again Liz! Appreciate your support and seeing how being healthy now, really has opened life up to wonderful and unexpected new life adventures.
This is lovely. We had an unscripted adventure yesterday when we got off the highway an exit early to visit a waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. The road is the old (now) scenic highway 30 and it’s a devine drive. We had planned to travel to Portland on the highway but allowed the adventure to take us away. Thank you for sharing this.
Love hearing this Lori! You seem to me from the little I know, to be someone who truly does go with the flow of life and stays open to having those unplanned and unscripted adventures all the time. Amazing that you made a choice to just leave the highway and see what the scenic route had to offer. And it sounds like the adventure was definitely worth letting it “take you away”. Appreciate your sharing too! Enjoy…
This just sounds like an awesome trip all the way around. Loved your article. Lots of serendipty!
Thanks so much for seeing the serendipity in this trip and actually in life, Vickie. When we stay open, all kinds of magical life experiences are there waiting for us!
Unscripted adventures are the best! Nothing wrong with having a global plan — as you did, going to Sedona (on my list!) — but playing it all by ear once you arrive makes very much more…real, I would say. I did something similar on my last visit to San Diego. I just got in the car and drove. Had a blast!
Love hearing about your unscripted adventures on your road trip to San Diego, Jackie! Being someone who is generally all planned out to the hilt, there is a great freedom in just allowing life to unfold as it goes…and being open to saying yes to it along the ways. Yes, to the idea of having a larger plan and then letting the details happen as they will!
Sedona is on my bucket list. I was just talking to friends who were there a few months ago and got lots of suggestions. I’ll definitely have to hang out at that Starbucks and meet some interesting people…I love that about travel and life, in general. You just never know who you will meet and where it will lead!
Sedona is definitely a place worth having on your bucket list, Beth! It is truly a magical place with untold adventures waiting for anyone who visits there. It’s interesting, as although I go to the Starbucks there all the time, this particular encounter was the first time I actually met someone who then contributed to my adventures there. It’s easy to talk with people there, as everyone is open and friendly and the environment is conducive to any and all kinds of conversations. And yes, often when we travel we seem more open and more daring to have adventures that when we are at home. Love this about traveling too!
Choosing to “Take Joy In The Journey” is such an uplifting way to live. Those chance meetings are sometimes the most exquisite as we appreciate how we are all connected. Love your zest for life!I can feel the heat off the Sedona red rocks:)
Thanks for your energy on this piece too, Barbara. I can always feel Sedona, seems it lives somewhere in me. And on this trip, I definitely did take “Joy in the Journey” and thank my friend Kelita for her lead on this one. Two Aquarians together and you never know what worldly adventures are up next.