Have you ever planned a trip without knowing how to get where you were going?

In the mid-1980’s, my wife and I (okay, it was me) decided to vacation in the Ozarks. We lived in Chicago, and there were plenty of places within a few hours’ drive that we’d never been to before, but for some reason (me again) it didn’t seem like a vacation if the trip did not involve a 500-mile car ride. Back then, vacation planning was easy, courtesy of the local AAA office. All you needed was a TripTik® – a multi-page, spiral-bound series of map pages with your route marked in pink highlighter. Sightseeing tips along the route were included. Smartphone apps and GPS have modernized this, and that’s a good thing.

Over the year-end holidays, I decided to take a trip that utilized technology not available in the past. Unlike most trips, I set out on this one without any certainty of where I would end up.

I ventured out feeling carefree, allowing myself plenty of time to explore. Starting from home provided comfortable assurance that I was headed in the right direction, and I soon noted numerous signposts, some appearing like billboards, each urging me down a path I surely did not want to miss. Some of these paths were like cul-de-sacs, brief detours I could delight in, then easily backtrack to where I had just come from. Often, I found myself in front of a roadway marker (remember those?), where I could leisurely pause and read about history or purpose. I learned many things along my journey, and when I returned home (aided by an easy tap on my smartphone), I felt enriched.

I’m grateful for the courtesies of the local team at UMG* who helped map out my trip.

You too, can experience this journey at: starsaz.org

Visit often, as there’s lots to take in.  Relax, and enjoy your trip; it’s less than 500 miles!

-David Henderson | STARS President & CEO

*UMG is Uncorked Media Group, a marketing partner of STARS.