I got the best massage of my life at Aji Spa (meaning "Sanctuary" in the Pima language) at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Arizona. Already, I've had three friends go see this therapist because of my experience and they say the same thing. At the spa, I met Jason, he put his hand on my back, and started asking questions about my trip and what I was doing at Wild Horse Pass. I later learned that's his first indication of how tense someone is, by how their back tightens. I was coming off of two months of air travel all over the world and my back was killing me. He told me he works with a lot of football players so he'd take it down a couple of notches for me on the Gila River Rock Massage. I don't know how he did it, but I never had to say a word - he knew where every painful knot, and chronic tight muscle was and made them disappear.
I also met with Belen Stoneman, an extremely gifted Native American woman specializing in therapeutic massage and healing techniques - the type of person that calms you and inspires simply by being in the same room.
I had been invited on this trip with Visit Phoenix with a fabulous group of travel and digital superstars that became friends by the end. Staying at a hotel in my hometown was a little bit strange at first. But Wild Horse Pass reminded me what I love most about my home state - the mountain ranges that are wise, the cacti that reflect home to me, the great food and wine from Arizona.
We went horseback riding through the Koli Equestrian Center on property and came across a group of wild horses with their babies. We were quiet, privileged to be there, watching, on the edge of what is their land, not ours.
Also, we didn't go on this trip but I love take first-time Arizona visitors to Rawhide, right next to Wild Horse Pass. It's designed to look like an 1880's Western town, with a steakhouse & saloon and gold panning, burro rides, and a petting zoo for kids. Oh, and a mechanical bull. You get in for free, and then just pay for the attractions you want.
Yum - gorgeous smoothies from breakfast - a welcome treat after so much rich (yes, delicious but I miss making my own stuff!) food on the road.