Joshua Tree is my repeat destination, which I never thought I would do!

In the past five years, I’ve traveled to Joshua Tree, California five times.

Yes, that’s right, five times in five years. With another trip planned for early 2018. This fact surprises even me since I’ve always said I wouldn’t return to the same destination more than once.  because there are so many places to see in the world: ‘Why waste time going back when there are so many more places to see in the world?!?!’

“Back to Joshua Tree again?” friends and family ask every year.

So, I can completely identify with David Gillett’s article in The Globe and Mail this weekend, “There and back again.” Gillett writes about his multiple trips to England’s Lake District.

He acknowledges that some people travel to check sites and locations off their bucket list and proclaim they’ve, “done England!” or “seen everything in Newfoundland!” leaving no reason to return.

But for some travellers, Gillett acknowledges being “pulled back by some unseen gravitational force time and again to a particular place.”

That’s how I feel about Joshua Tree and I’ve got some new insight from a fellow traveller and travel writer about why this happens to some of us.

Although, I have to say, it is hurting my country count… just a little bit!

front page of The Globe and Mail Travel section featuring an article about returning to the same destination more than once
Photo: Copyright Juanita Metzger 2017


Shift the Way You Shop

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was recently in Phoenix, Arizona. While there are many think I don’t like about this sprawling desert city, there was also much to love. The least of which is a healthy local scene of independent local business. Arizona was whacked pretty hard in the 2008 recession and is still reeling. For sale signs and empty lots galore.

Shift the Way You Shop
image credit

Here’s one thing I do love about Phoenix. This local campaign called “Shift the Way you Shop” encourages residents to shift 10% of their spending to local shops, foods, and services. Pretty do-able.

What I really love is that they launched the campaign with a HUGE wrap on the Metro Valley LRT!!! Brilliant. They also worked with an advertising company to launch a mobile app that points the user to local shops and restaurants around each of the LRT stops. How brilliant is that.

We could certainly do this in Waterloo Region with our new LRT on the way and planning in the works ‘as we speak’!

Find more at Shift ARizona.

Phoenix, Arizona. You won me.

Well, where to start with Phoenix, Arizona. I went there in early December for some sun and desert warmth. I found both and a whole lot more.

Being the localist that I am, I also explored and roamed as many local, independent corners and streets as I could. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Phoenix has a vibrant and thriving local scene, largely prompted by the initiative Local First Arizona. They’re all about buying locally, building community and supporting a vibrant local economy.

Local First Arizona
©2011 Juanita Metzger

With their Small Wonders guides, I managed to find some of the most wonderful and weird places on (and off) the map. Here’s a a small selection.

Urban Grocery at Pheonix Public Market
Phoenix Public Market ©2011 Juanita Metzger
Phoenix Public Market
Phoenix Public Market ©2011 Juanita Metzger

The Phoenix Public Market captured my interest for the better part of a Wednesday. It started out with lunch at the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar, followed by espresso at the back of the grocery/deli/bar, followed by some reading at the community bulletin board…. by which time, the outdoor market was starting to set up for the 4 – 8pm evening market. The big anticipation was all for the food trucks scheduled to arrive! They did not disappoint.

Starting with the Filipino truck, the Mondo Bowl of mung beans, rice, veggies and sauce only served to whet the appetite! It was the blackened catfish with rice, peas and salad that finished off the evening. That, and the fresh carrot bread….

Phoenix Public Market Food Trucks
©2011 Juanita Metzger

Roosevelt Row was another impressive area. Completely supported and promoted by the area merchants, there was a lot going on.

Roosevelt Row
©2011 Juanita Metzger

For more on my Phoenix explorations, also read, Shift the Way You Shop.