This year I ditched my standard summer travel routine. Instead of going on a relaxing beach vacation or touring historic sites abroad, I went on a good old fashioned American adventure in Jackson, Wyoming. Why Wyoming, you ask? Well for one, it was outside of my comfort zone.

Let’s face it, even in 2017 there are still spaces where as a black woman, I feel unwelcome in my own country.

There was a chance that this trip to a markedly un-diverse part of the country could go sideways, but as they say, your greatest experiences are usually on the other side of fear. Adventures both big and small are meant to push us out of complacency and help us to grow. Also, I had always seen so many beautiful pictures of the mountains and the wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. I wanted to see them for myself and I’m so glad I did. Incredible things awaited me outside of my comfort zone.

Here Are 5 Ways I Got My Groove Back At Yellowstone National Park:

1. Amazing Adventures

I thought my heart would never stop racing after my exhilarating whitewater rafting excursion down the Snake River. I loved it! Not only for the rapids but the opportunity, during our float time, to see wildlife that I have never seen up close. I witnessed a family of otters playing at the river’s edge, a snoozing beaver, and a bald eagle diving into the river to catch fish.

Photo: Tausha Robertson

I capped off the week with a hot air balloon ride. The view from a mile up, at day break, was spectacular. Hovering over the tree lines, across the valley, down to take a look at a herd of elk and then back up above the Tetons was an experience like no other. As we floated above this natural habitat at the lazy speed of 5 miles per hour, I thought to myself, “This really is God’s country.

2. Beautiful Sites

Photo: Tausha Robertson

You could spend an entire week in Yellowstone National Park just taking in the pristine beauty and wildlife. I didn’t have that much time, so I settled for a 12-hour tour that took you to the main locations on the South Loop. It did not disappoint! We saw the beautiful geothermal pools, the Old Faithful geyser, gorgeous waterfalls and a stunning painted canyon. Our van also got up close and personal with a bison that was hanging out near the road. It was massive but totally unbothered by our curiosity.

3. Spiritual Grounding

Photo: Christina Servín Photographs

For me, spending time in nature was kind of a spiritual experience.

The sedate balloon ride reminded me of the value of slowing down and being still. Aside from the sound of the wind, it was completely quiet. As the landscape melted from one beautiful scene to the next, it was a welcomed reprieve from the rapid-fire changes of daily life.

4. Expanded Horizons

Photo: Yellowstone National Park

You know that exhilarating feeling you get when you do something for the first time? There was something renewing about basking in childlike wonderment of things I’d never seen before. I’m sure my eyes were the size of saucers when the majestic bald eagle dove into the water and emerged with his catch. I think we should all feel that more often.

5. Revitalization

I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment from stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something different. I came out on the other side of the experience feeling like I’d passed through some sort of rite of passage to greater enlightenment. This tranquil little getaway was exactly what I needed to return to my life refreshed and ready to conquer the world.

Photo: Facebook/Ms.XFactor

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