Really? Yes, really. And to top it off, I did it intentionally.
You might think I’m crazy but let me explain:
My birthday has fallen on a weekday for most of my life. That’s probably not too uncommon of an experience considering there are 5 weekdays and only 2 weekend days, but leap year has been especially cruel to me. Every 4 years, I would look forward to finally having a weekend birthday only for February 29th to push everything off a day and I would find myself, once again, studying and going to bed responsibly early instead of going out and doing anything fun to celebrate. The few birthdays I have had the luxury of celebrating have usually been with my parents at their house in the middle of nowhere; there were no free drinks or a crazy night out for my 21st birthday.
So when, a couple of year ago, I was able to run off to Italy for my Birthday to visit my friend, I jumped on the opportunity. Fast forward to finally having a real job with real paid time off coupled by the fact that my birthday, at long last, fell on a Friday and you can bet I was searching high and low for something memorable to do.
Enter AirBNB (not spons).
After lusting over luxury resorts and hotels that were hopelessly out of my budget, I got the bright idea to see what was available on AirBNB. I looked at literally every rental in the entire state of Utah (and parts of Arizona and New Mexico) before finding one of the most unique experiences of my life: a gutted, hippie bus located next to a boiling hot, relaxing hot spring out in the Utah countryside.
Let’s just get your questions out of the way right off the bat… yes it was an actual bus, no it was not sketchy or dumpy, yes it was actually a hippie community, and no I didn’t die (obviously). I’ll admit, when I first drove onto the property, I was a little concerned. There is a distinct trailer park feel about the place which the drab of winter didn’t help with. My work friends who joined me there for a bonfire and late-night soak in the hot springs didn’t see the property during the day and they’re glad for it, stating that they felt it would, “ruin the magic” for them.
For someone less open minded, I’m sure they wouldn’t have stuck around long enough to let the charm sink in. I definitely had a, “now what” moment sitting in my bus once I had brought all my bags in. I think that part of it was a bit of transference from city life back to country life as opposed to my actual opinion of the place. Once I had returned to the slow-life, country-girl mindset I had been raised in, the doom and gloom of the place lifted and I could see it in a whole new, wonderful light.
My time there was not without hiccup. I thought that they provided firewood for their fire pits but it turns out I was mistaken. Luckily, there was some left by previous “glampers” but I was still woefully underprepared. The handful of newspapers I had brought as fire-starters were not enough to catch the giant logs which I had no means of splitting. My first night there I dined on cold hot dogs for my dinner before lighting a candle on a frozen cupcake and singing myself happy birthday. While the hot dog wasn’t the best thing I ever ate, it’s definitely more of a funny memory than a regret.
The next day, I drove down to Mesquite, Nevada to hit up a casino (but mostly the buffet) with my co-worker and her boyfriend who are, by far, my closest friends here in Utah. That was a really fun road trip and it was so nice to get into the desert (where I originally wanted to spend my birthday). It was a wonderful 50 degrees in Nevada which was at least 20-30 degrees warmer than Utah. I took some photos for my Insta (which, by the way, if you’re not following me, you should), ate entirely too much at the buffet, drank a couple of mimosas (with plenty of time to sober up before driving, don’t worry), and watched my friends lose epically on the slots before quickly blowing through 20 bucks in blackjack.
We grabbed a couple of fire-starting supplies in Nevada and then headed back to my bus where we roasted hot dogs and ended the night gazing at the incredible starry sky from the warmth of the hot springs.
By the time I had woken up the next morning and cooked my breakfast of scrambled eggs and coffee over the campfire, I had a couple of hours before checkout to spend soaking up the last bit of mineral goodness from the hot springs. I even got a tiny bit of a tan having finally spent some significant amount of time in the sun. I am actually Vitamin D deficient so I’m sure that the weekend actually benefitted me physically and not just mentally.
Overall, if you ever get the chance to stay at Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah, I highly, highly recommend. My fellow glampers were very quiet and respectful. My little bus ended up being very comfortable with an extra sleeping bag, my beanie, and the space heater pulled close to my face. The hot springs themselves and how perfectly the owners configured them with soaker bathtubs privately on the hill and two big pools down below gave lots of variety and options to suit every mood. I’m highly considering coming back durning the summer. They have a festival there that seems like it would be so much fun although I, personally might even prefer the hot springs in the winter where you are able to balance the intense heat of the springs with the frigid winter air.
So what’s next for me? Well you can bet that I’ll be wandering around all the state and national parks that surround me this summer. Next birthday? I have my sights set on Cuba as I really would like to get down there sooner than later before the island becomes TOO touristy (although I’ve heard it’s changed pretty drastically already). If I ever see a “mistake” flight to Malaysia, I will for sure be jumping on that to visit my best friend. But for now, I will probably stick to the good ol’ US of A for my travels until I’ve got some loans paid off. Make sure to subscribe here or follow me on Instagram or Facebook so you don’t miss a moment of my adventures.