Wandering Amylessly: 5 “Joy-filled” wandering tips


May 29, 2022

By Wyo4News feature writer Amy Larsen

Joy is my greatest adventure buddy, both literally and figuratively! I met the real Joy in 2014 at a work retreat, and the adventures started immediately. We have run around Disneyland together, discovered sea turtles in Hawaii, gotten lost in Pennsylvania, experienced Joy’s first rodeo, and so much more together. She has not only become one of my closest friends, but she has taught me so much about traveling with a girlfriend, really traveling with anyone.

We just finished our latest adventure together in Branson, Missouri. As I was thinking about what to write about my wanderings this time, I started thinking about what makes my adventures with Joy so much different, so much fun. I realized that is because Joy has taught me a different way to travel, to travel with joy. So, as we get ready to head into our summer travel plans, I thought it might be a good time to reflect and share the top five ways you can wander with joy too!


5. Be prepared for anything. I tend to be a researcher and scheduler, have a plan, and make it happen. There is a reason I am where I am! My travel plans generally have no downtime, no gaps, and finished a week after I booked! Joy is about arriving at the destination, having done a little research, but waiting to figure out what it has to offer, to look around, and then go from there. There is no rush, there is no worry. If we can fit it all in, great. If not, that’s okay too. Wandering with joy means not having it all planned out because sometimes the best part isn’t known yet. Somehow despite us not having a detailed plan, we still manage to have epic adventures. I have learned to travel with my passport just in case we are close to a border, make sure to always have closed toe-shoes as there are adventures out there that require them, and throw in a nice outfit because you never know where you will have dinner.

4. Take turns in the driver’s seat. Traveling with others means traveling with a mix of personalities, and Joy and I have big personalities. As I tend to travel solo a lot, I am used to being my own navigator and director. Not going to lie, sometimes, it is a struggle for me to not always be in that role. However, wandering with joy means sharing the responsibilities, navigation, having to really listen to others, and knowing when to take the wheel and when to call shotgun. It is more than just about a comprise. It’s about figuring out the common direction and how we are going to get there. It’s about looking at the map and figuring out not what I want to do but what is the best experience we can enjoy together.

Amy and Joy ziplining in Missouri (Submitted photo)

3. Be open to new experiences. This may seem an obvious suggestion coming from me. I feel like I spend a lot of my time looking for new experiences! But wandering with joy also means being open to different kinds of experiences and places. I have been to restaurants I never would try your my own shopped for clothes I wouldn’t have picked out for myself, drove down backroads looking for a town with a funny name, had a picnic on a beach in Hawaii, ended up on roller coasters that I had no idea what the track was like! These have become some of my most enjoyable moments, the organic ones that are unexpected and just happen because we were open to seeing what was out there.  

2. Stay true to who you are. My favorite part about travel is how it allows us to see new things, experience new things, and challenges us to step out of our comfort zone. It has the power to change us in many ways. Wandering with joy is a constant reminder of who I am and what’s important to me. It means traveling with no regrets, never asking each other to compromise on who we are, and respecting each other’s boundaries and values. It is just being in the moment, celebrating each other and our friendship.

  1. It’s not the destination; it’s who you are with. Most of our adventure destinations have been chosen for us as they were tied to work conferences. Sometimes the inevitable adventure was an obvious choice, and sometimes it took some imagination on our part. Case in point, Branson!


I had to be out there for work, and it was time for an adventure, so I invited Joy to come out. Both of our first reaction was it would be a great place for our parents but let’s see what we can make happen! In 48 hours, we had been to an amusement park, ziplining, a dinner show, drove on a trail, attended two shows, went shopping, and to two restaurants attached to celebrity chefs!

We saw it all, yet the most important part was we laughed, shared stories, took a ton of pictures, planned our next adventure, and just sat joyfully in the moments. The adventure had nothing to do with being in Branson. It had to do with finally being able to wander together.

As you get ready to wander out this summer and enjoy time in destinations with family, friends, or even on your own, remember to wander with joy! It truly is the best adventure you can have.