We are all pioneers right now: navigating unknown terrain with no trail to follow, doing our best to keep our herds safe, and wondering if at the end of the journey we’ll have a comfortable home with a warm fire to sit around and tell tall tales of the obstacles we overcame to get here. Through all this, we hope you are still gazing at the stars at night with wonder and awe.
Like many, when we closed abruptly in March, there was a feeling that we will get through this blip on the radar and emerge from our hiding spots to celebrate the summer and look back on a crazy time together. We are optimists, and no one knew for sure where this was going. As the summer nears, and the reality sets in that we are not opening to a normal year, we cannot deny that we are struggling some days. How do we provide the experience that we love and are so proud of for our guests? Dude ranching is all about relationships, and so many of our traditions are about gathering people together. But, as we dig deeper and really dive into what we have to share with our guests, we have also realized the power of what we can provide our guests at this time in history.
In many ways, VVR is like a wellness retreat. Ok, no one is coming here to shed pounds and meditate all day long. But, in some ways they do just that. In this setting people shed the weight that holds them back, that weighs them down, and that keeps them from focusing on what really matters. The distractions go away, the stillness takes over, and nature encourages awe and contemplation. And the weight of the world drops away. When learning to communicate with a horse, people realize what baggage they carry with them in their relationships and let go of those pounds. And this year, more than ever, the weight of responsibility for caring for our kids can be lifted as they get to run free, explore the ranch, bond with their horse, and are entertained and captivated with no devices.
You may have never desired or thought you would be meditating all day long on your vacation. But even in this new terrain, meditation is happening all day long at the ranch. At the top of a mountain or in a quiet river, your mind slows, and you absorb the moment. When gazing at the impossibly star-filled night, you lose your thoughts and just gaze in awe. Sitting on the fence, watching the horses amble through the pasture in the evening, your mental buzzing stops and is replaced by the simple background noise of buzzing bugs. So, yes, this is a wellness retreat. And in this crazy time, this is much needed.
A guiding mission for all of us at the ranch is providing a place for life change for anyone who calls this place home. As we look at how to provide jobs for our staff while keeping them safe, there are moments of conflict. But our staff will grow in ways we never thought possible this summer. We will do our best to set the example for how to navigate uncharted terrain with excitement for what lays ahead and respect for the potential perils of the journey.
So, we might not be linking arms and swinging each other around the dance floor this summer. But we might just be providing our guests something even more powerful than before. And that is what keeps us stepping one foot in front of the other when there is no trail. There are up days and down days as we gear up for the season. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the obstacles, and sometimes we are excited about the opportunities they present. We hit ravines we cannot navigate, so we step back and go a different direction.
Opening day has been shifted a few weeks so that we can figuratively let the ground dry to see the trail better. With judgement set aside, we balance the sadness of cancellations and postponed plans from dear friends and those we were excited to meet while at the same time welcoming those who are pioneering travel in the summer of 2020.
Fellow pioneers, we wish you well on your journey, and hope to see you at some point along the route. If you are interested in joining us this summer we would love to have you join us! To better understand what we are doing to protect our guests and staff, please look over the VVR Wellness Efforts. Be well!