When I signed up to do this Dude Ranch blogger press trip I made a promise to myself – I would do every single activity they offer even if I was scared.
I didn’t know what I was getting into exactly but this trip turned out to be a huge personal challenge for me. I had never done any of these things. Never ridden a horse, never rock climbed, never ziplined, never shot a gun (never been away from my kids for five days!). It all made me very nervous. But I’m sick and tired of being scared of the unknown. So I went for it. I was BRAVE and conquered all my fears instead of talking myself out of new adventures.
I almost said no to this trip . . . almost. But I’m so glad I didn’t.
I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I’ve seen the sunset in Santorini. I’ve kayaked with sting rays following us in Bora Bora. I’ve climbed Mayan pyramids in Mexico and I’ve pub crawled in Ireland.
But Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas, 4.5 hours away from where I live is one of the BEST experiences I’ve ever had. Right in our own backyard!
If you get the chance – you MUST come here. I feel invincible after everything I did. They have something for everyone, including adults AND kids.
I don’t think I realized how life-changing this was going to be. Never has a vacation given me so much self-awareness. For a long time I haven’t believed in myself. I think if you’re struggling with confidence and maybe feeling down about yourself this place will lift you up in a way I can’t describe.
The four other women I came with are all moms and bloggers too. It felt really good to connect with people who understand what it is to manage a blog while leading a busy, hectic life. I think we all enjoyed the fresh air and silence as much as we could. We missed our families but we all agreed it was good to get away, to step out of our comfort zones for a while.
And hey, we got to wear cowboy boots for the first time! I never knew how cute and comfortable they could be!
On our last night I realized I was so sad to leave.
I know some people may be thinking, really? It’s just a dude ranch. What’s so great about it anyway? I know it sounds kinda silly. But it’s not.
I think the most special thing about this place is the wonderfully supportive employees who go out of their way to make sure each guest has an experience they will remember their entire life. Some of the things they do probably aren’t even in their job description. But they do it anyway. Because they love Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. To them, this is home.
And I think for me, although it seems strange, it felt like coming home after a long trip away. It grows into you, this place in Arkansas. This trip was originally to promote a dude ranch but it became so much more. For me, it was about rediscovering myself. Learning that I have more bravery, willpower and strength than I ever imagined. If you happen to be feeling lost – I highly recommend going to a dude ranch.
I hope I get to come back someday.