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At specific points around the world, the earth churns with tangible, tingly energy at sites known as vortices, visited by those seeking connection, healing, or a good story to tell. This special series in your road map to six such hotspots in the Western United States—and what to do once you get there.
Homelands Of: Akimel O’odham (Upper Pima), Hohokam, Yavapai–Apache
True to its name, Carefree has a vibe so mellow you could melt into it as though in Savasana, surrounded by massive boulders and towering, hundred-year-old saguaro cacti. There’s something in the vitality of the desert—how life thrives here under harsh conditions—that’s inspiring, a reminder that we, too, can regenerate the parts of ourselves we thought lost. Take it as an invitation to integrate what you’ve felt on this journey, to carry that experience along with the full life you’ve lived, and appreciate how each now informs the other.
Here you can turn off your mind and sink into submission, and Civana Wellness Resort & Spa provides a friendly space to do so. Take part in as many (or as few) of the complimentary classes as you like: daily intention settings and gratitude circles, aerial and wall yoga, courses on working with and releasing your myofascia, sound healings under the stars. Developed as a more accessible alternative to some better-known retreats and founded under the guiding principle that wellness is for everyone, Civana isn’t about the singular journey, but rather cultivates a group experience. Thoughtfully curated holistic wellness programming, heart-centered spa treatments such as cranial sacral therapy, and creative meals prepared by a decorated vegan chef serve as a reminder that human existence finds harmony in the collective.
You only really need to leave Carefree twice. First, drive to secret gem Saguaro Lake Ranch, where kayaks are on offer to paddle down the Lower Salt River, below the magnificent Bulldog Cliffs and past wild horses, river otters, and saguaros that wave from the shoreline. On your way back, detour to Stratta Kitchen, where simple whole foods and Mediterranean flavors transform under James Beard award–winner and Michelin-starred chef Alex Stratta, who left fine French dining after a health scare reshaped his thinking about food to move from indulgent, heavy meals to veg-centered dishes.
The second time you leave won’t be until your final departure, when you smile at its shrinking shadow in your rearview mirror.