Armchair Travel

Dreaming of traveling during the restriction?  I love travel and being restricted at this time during the pandemic is difficult.  All I can do is reminisce about past travel adventures and plan for the future.

Read about self-transformation in some of the world’s most beautiful places.



Unknown Arizona

Arizona has to be one of the most beautiful states in the country.  It is known for the Grand Canyon, but there is also a part of Arizona that many people are not aware of, the remote White Mountains of Northeastern Arizona.

Situated in Navajo County, it is a 3.5 hour drive up the mountains from the Phoenix area. Fort Apache, is only a 30 miles drive down the mountains from Pinetop-Lakeside and is rich in history.  Arrowhead Cafe, offers authentic Apache food, that is locally grown and sourced.

Looking to travel into the unknown or slightly off grid?  Head to the White Mountains of northeastern Arizona,  The ponderosa pine trees smell amazing and your likely to see wild horses, moose, bobcats and coyotes on your travels.


Searching Sedona

I just came back from a day trip to  Sedona, Arizona, one of the most beautiful spots in this country.  Surrounded by red rocks, whirling vortexes and positive energy, I was able to spend the day hiking up Bell Rock.  Although it’s wintertime, the temperature was perfect for hiking, not too hot, not too cold, and because of the season, the number of tourists was very low.

Bell Rock is one of the larger vortex sites in Sedona. Vortexes are concentrations of energy spiraling upward from the Earth. As you climb the rock, you can see tree trunks that are twisted, a visual sign that energy is present.  Vortex sites are known to have physical and spiritual healing properties and there are a number of them present in Sedona.  Whether or not you believe, you can certainly feel something is different in this part of the world.

As far as when to travel, summer has beautiful weather, but if you want to avoid the crowds, winter or early spring is perfect as you can experience more solitude and still have sunny skies.  All you need is a light jacket and a water bladder or bottle and you are good to go.

Nomadic Tales of a Traveling Counselor

My latest travel book is now available at Tomorrow River Publishing, Amazon and Kindle!

Nomadic Tales of a Traveling Counselor is a personal journey of self-exploration in some of the world’s most beautiful places. Travel with the author as she faces unknown fears, grief and loss, and life changing challenges through both solo and group experience.

Karolee Krause, a Licensed Professional Counselor with extensive experience in the fields of Mental Health, Self-Help and Health and Wellness, uses storytelling as part of the healing process. Nomadic Tales of a Traveling Counselor tells Karolee’s story as well as those she meets on her soul searching journey through life.



Hazardous Hiking

I arrived at the base of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, alone and stood reading the sign above indicating that I had to be prepared to rescue myself.  hmmm….

I was determined to hike Cathedral Rock although I had no knowledge of the landscape or terrain.  As I stood reading the sign about the possible dangers, I was reminded that I was now in Arizona, which had poisonous snakes and scorpions.  I then looked up at the peak of Cathedral Rock and started to question myself.  I had always been a solo hiker.  I loved being out in nature and exploring, but as I contemplated going up the various pathways alone, I started having fear of getting lost, falling and breaking a limb, or getting bit by a snake.  My mind went rampant with thoughts of what could go wrong.  I started to have cold feet.  Then suddenly, a woman appeared next to me.  I turned to her and asked her if she wanted to hike with me, so we began hiking up the steep and beautiful sandstone butte together.

Hiking has always been one of my passions.  I usually just show up wherever I am and start hiking, but this adventure reminded me of some of the dangers of solo exploration and how being prepared is probably a good idea.  In this case, a first aid kit, water, map of the area, a compass, food, a whistle and cell phone were all recommended.

Cathedral Rock was an amazing climb.  The rock formations became steeper with each step and had I been alone, I would not have ventured to the top, so I was grateful for my hiking companion who had hiked the peak in the past.  She led me to the top, where I sat and watched the sunrise over the the beautiful Arizona landscape.

Wherever you are hike, be mindful of the weather and what kind of obstacles or wildlife you could encounter.

Life is meant to be explored!  Be safe and have fun!


Desert Cities

On route to the White Mountains, I stopped off in Phoenix to do some exploration.  I knew flying in that temperatures were in excess of 110 degrees.  Being a lover of heat, I thought, no sweat, I can handle this.

I landed at the airport at 10:00pm at night.  Temperatures were still in their 90’s.  Although it was hot, it wasn’t stifling as I had just flown out of high humidity in the Midwest, so I welcomed the dry heat.

I spent the night in a Phoenix hotel and then headed back to the airport and took a flight to the White Mountains where I spent the next three days.  After completing my work assignment, I headed back to the valley where at 8:30am the temperatures were already in the 90’s.   Still wanting to explore Phoenix, and being a nature lover, I headed for the Desert Botanic Gardens.

I took Uber from the airport to the gardens and quickly purchased my ticket as there was no line or huge crowd to fight and began exploring the Sonoran desert.  I later realized that there was a reason why there were no people or crowds there, because the heat was too intense and only those brave or foolish enough would explore the desert in the full heat of summertime.

The gardens were beautiful as I walked the paths and trails to different parts of the park, checking out the variety of plants that grow in the hottest and driest parts of the world.  I saw blooming cactus and nesting Inca doves, and spent time reflecting in the Contemplation Garden.  After about 10 minutes into my journey, I felt the scorching heat radiating down on me.  Unlike the heaviness of the Midwest, the dry heat baked me like a giant furnace and I found myself continually searching for shade along the way.  Although beautiful, I gained a respect and understanding for the desert and life that lived there.  I had always loved the sun, but even in the morning, the Sonoran Desert was a rough reminder of how beautiful and dangerous the desert can be.

As I continued my hike around the garden, I found several drinking fountains and shaded areas along the way.  I stopped often to refill my water bottle.  Because of the heat, I did not explore all of the trails but headed back to the entrance.   Once back, I decided I wanted to get something to eat before I flew back home, but the only open cafe at the time was half way back into the garden and the heat was too intense so I decided not to trek back in.

If your thinking of visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, I would highly recommend it, but unless your a camel and can take extreme heat, I would recommended going at 7:00am when they open or late at night.  It’s defiantly worth visiting as there is no place on earth like the Sonoran Desert.



The Arizona Experience

I arrived in Phoenix at 10:00pm on August 4, 2019, the temperature was 94 degrees.  Luckily for me, I was flying up to the White Mountains the next morning where the temperatures were about 25 degrees cooler due to higher elevation.

Being back in a familiar place, I realized how much I had missed the mountains.  I loved the smell of ponderosa pine trees in the dry arid winds of Northeastern Arizona.  Back in the Midwest, summer was sweltering with high humidity.  The change in scenery was welcoming.  I often feel the need to leave home to find inspiration and to see the world with new eyes.  Although I had moved away from Arizona, I felt in a way that I had come home.

I had traveled back for a work assignment and decided to bring my new husband of one month and one week.  Together we explored familiar and unfamiliar trails, hiking rocky mountain paths around lakes and forests.  Our nights were spent at a local motel called Antler’s Inn where we played evening games of horseshoes and sat around a campfire watching the sunset into the mountain sky.

The trip provided a welcoming relief from everyday stressors.  I often encourage other people to travel and explore.  Life can easily become mundane and dull.  Although the White Mountains are not a new place or destination for me, they sparked and ignited my senses again through sights, sounds, and tastes.

Sometimes going away from home makes us homesick, and sometimes going away, brings us back.





Funky Flagstaff

On a previous hiking trip to the Grand Canyon, I hung out at the train station in Flagstaff waiting for the shuttle back to Phoenix.  At that time, I didn’t explore the area but on a recent day trip, I discovered that Flagstaff is really a funky fun town.

San Francisco Street is full of unique shops and tasty restaurants with recipes from around the world.  I found a fab tea house that offers both Japanese style seating and a tea bar where I ordered a lavender mint latte with almond milk, a unique healthy option to the usual coffee blends.

Exploring the colorful city, I discovered a sound healing shop where I went on a wild musical ride in a sound chair that has built-in chimes that when played, put me into a deep state of relaxation.  The shop also has a sound healing bed that is specifically built to take you on a sound therapy journey with gongs and giant chimes where you hear and feel and sense every vibration.

Flagstaff has a cool vibe and good energy with street musicians, street art, and upbeat people. The mountains are a skier or snowboarders dream and of course, Sedona and the Grand Canyon are nearby for hiking adventures.

If you are exploring Arizona, you will want to put Flagstaff on your list of places to explore.

I Survived!

On October 19, 2018, I ventured out on a solo hike through the White Mountains of Western Arizona.  My intention was to explore the local area in search of a new trial.

It was midday and the sun was shining as I began my journey.  Being alone in nature was natural for me, as my childhood was spent running through the grassy fields of the Midwest. Fear was never present when I explored, yet there was some apprehension as I began my journey this day as I knew that I was in unknown territory.

I felt excitement grow as I found beauty and unexpected discoveries along the way.  The first thing I spotted were two wooden teepee type structures that were built in a secluded spot.  I had no idea as to why the shelters were built or who had built them, but the discovery intrigued me to travel on.  I quickly forgot about turning back and continued to hike forward, excited to find a beautiful reflective pond with a single large rock, where I sat and reflected for a period of time.

I followed trail makers as I hiked over rock filled paths.  I inhaled the aroma of the ponderosa pine forest and felt at one with nature.  After a few hours of hiking, I realized that my cell phone was dying and I was getting thirsty.  I was not acclimated to the dry humid terrain of the southwest.  I realized I had not seen a single person and noticed that my cell phone battery was dying.  If it died, I wouldn’t have a GPS or trail finder to guide myself out if I became lost. I also didn’t have an asthma inhaler with me or water to drink.  I had not intended to hike so far.  I began to get worried and contemplated turning back, but I had already hiked several miles, so I decided to keep moving forward.

Fear started to shroud me like a dark dirty cloud.  Was I lost? Did I veer off the trail?  What if I had an asthma attack?  What if my cell phone died and no one found me?  I knew that curiosity and my sense of adventure had taken me further into the mountain than I had originally expected.  I continued to follow the trail markers, but some were missing or were difficult to locate, making me question if I was on the trail at all.

My hiking pace increased as I set my intention on finding my way out of the mountains. Eventually in the distance, I spotted two people who were hiking up the mountain ahead of me.  I caught up to them and shouted, “Is this the way out?”  The man said that they were headed towards the parking lot.  I had no idea where we were or what he was talking about.  I asked them if they knew were the starting point was where I had begun my journey.  The woman turned around and said, “That’s far away!  You should turn around and go back.”  My mouth dropped as I explained that I had traveled further than originally planned.  The man generously gave me a bottle of water and offered to drive me back to my starting point.  We hiked another hour up the mountain to their truck and then drove several miles down the road where they left me close to where I had begun my journey.

Being a natural explorer, the next day I went back to the same trail and hiked in the opposite direction, trying to figure out where the trail had looped together, but this time I was prepared for a long hike.

Not that I was really in any danger, other than in my mind, but I realized that the mountains are no comparison to a casual 4-mile walk in the flatlands of the Midwest. I quickly learned that when hiking at an elevation of 7,500 feet above sea level, it’s best to be prepared for the elements incluidng, hot weather, rough terrain, wild animals and thin air.

The White Mountains are a hiker lover’s paradise with thousands of trails to explore throughout the four seasons.

Check out the local Chamber of Commerce for trail guides and roadmaps to local National Forests.

The World of Herbs

The White Mountains of Arizona are full of wild natural plants to brew herbal teas or to make healthy herbal remedies.  The Apache use native plants to treat ailments of all kinds for a variety of health reasons. Research indicates that approximately sixty percent of the medicines we use today come from native herbs.  Caffeine free herbal teas are now commonly consumed for a variety of symptoms including insomnia, digestive issues, hormonal issues, and to enhance memory and mood.

I love herbal tea, and living in the White Mountains has opened up a whole new herbal experience for me, where I can try a variety of new teas and herbal remedies that were not available to me in other parts of the country.

I recently began to search the mountainside for my own blend of herbal teas, thanks to a couple of experienced guides who help me identify native plants.  I can also buy bulk teas at Sunshine Herbs, a natural, holistic shop that sells teas and herbs to the local folk in Show Low, Arizona.

One of my favorite blends is “DeStress Tea, a combination of chamomile, hops, oat straw, peppermint, and passionflower.  The combination of organic plants creates a peace and calm and is a great way to end the day.

When life gives you lemons, make tea!