The Great Escape: My 2 Day Getaway To Jackson Hole WY

Jackson Hole WY

As I write this I am sitting in a pretty little brunch spot called Persephone in downtown Jackson Hole WY…by myself…all alone…so so alone…and it’s amazing! I mean I’m not totally alone, I’m surrounded by all the other patrons. There are quite a few of them, this being a busy September weekend in Jackson. Yet despite the throngs of humanity that surround me, I am alone. Alone meaning, no husband, no kids, no companion of any kind. Just me, my chai latte and my brioche. I can’t even remember the last time I ventured into the world on my own. I haven’t sat in a cafe by myself since…I truly can’t even remember. I’m not gonna lie, it was a little unnerving at first. I was a bit hesitant to head out the door, but now that I’m here well…I feel a perfect and quiet contentment. I am free to do whatever I please in this moment. I could just sit here and stare out the window for awhile. I can write this post with total absorption for as long as the place stays open. I could eat two more of these amazing brioches and drink six more chai lattes. I have no dishes screaming at me to be washed, no children interrupting me every two seconds, no dogs to feed, no house to tidy. I am footloose and fancy free for this one afternoon in Jackson and it is just what my body, mind and soul needed. A chance to sit and breath. To indulge my own needs and desires and creativity in a beautiful place just far enough away from all the demands of my day to day life.

The beautiful and quaint Persephone Bakery.
The most perfect Chai Latte and a cinnamon brioche.
One of each please!

It’s been far too long since I did anything even remotely selfish…no, you know what, I don’t like that word in this context. It is not selfish of me to take a moment for myself. To put everyone else’s needs on the back burner for a day or two. It is self preservation! So, it has been way too long since I have done anything more than steal a quick 20 minutes in the morning to do my intentions and prayers. It has been way too long since I’ve done anything big and grand to nurture the preservation of my best self. The last getaway I had was my birthday last November when I was 8 months pregnant, bursting at the seams and too exhausted from my full work schedule to really relax and indulge myself.

When this trip came up my first inclination was to balk, but when I took a moment to contemplate the last time I had a break I was shocked to realize it had been so long. No wonder I’ve been feeling so burnt out and lackluster. No wonder a sort of melancholy has settled in and the thought of doing one more dish just deepens that feeling. No wonder my patience has worn so thin and I’m scowling more than I’m smiling. I have completely, predictably ignored my own needs, and being the exhausted captain of my family’s ship have led our boat astray. I have children who feel like I’m harping on them all the time, a husband who’s been walking on egg shells, a baby who’s becoming overly indulged because it’s easier than waiting out his tantrums. My house has fallen into disorder and disarray. Despite forcing myself to spend 20 minutes on me, at least three days a week, I hit the kitchen gripping my positivity with both hands only to have it easily slip away in the mess from last nights dinner, or this mornings breakfast, or both.

I just recently published a post on how I manage to cultivate positivity in my life and home. Though I feel like my spiritual journey has evolved into a really beautiful place I know and understand that living my right life with a joyful, loving compassionate spirit is a perpetual work in progress. I’m better than I was ten years ago, for sure, but I still have a ways to go. Indulging in this weekend getaway, letting myself off the hook if you will, has been another piece in the puzzle of my spiritual evolution. It has become suddenly and irrevocably clear to me that I will need to make an effort to preserve my best self a bit more often than once every ten months.

Josh Kelley outside the Persephone Bakery
Katherine Heigl enjoying food and drinks at the Persephone Bakery in Jackson Hole
I took Josh back the next morning so he could indulge in delicious too!

Last spring Josh decided to enter the LOTOJA bike race which would take him on a 200 mile journey from Logan UT to Jackson Hole WY in one day. Sounds like the seventh circle of hell to me, but hey to each his own right? When he first mentioned it to me I was only half listening, probably because I had about 16 plates spinning, all my irons in the fire, a bird in the hand and one in the bush…wait that last one doesn’t fit with the rest but you get my point. When it came up again more recently I couldn’t help feeling a smidge resentful, ok a LOT resentful, that Josh was getting to take off for two days and do something, however insane, that would renew and feed his heart and soul. I would be left behind with four kids and a house full of chores. When I found out that a group of our friends who were unable to get into the race decided to drive up to Jackson instead and meet the racers at the finish line, I quickly asked if there was room in the car for me. I realized that Josh wasn’t waiting for some universal sign of permission to take care of himself and his needs, he was giving himself that permission. So I decided to stop being a baby, stop complaining and do the same.

Nothing beats a getaway with great friends!
Even the gas stations in Jackson Hole have bars and gourmet food.
Couldn't resist a bottle or two of this!

I’ve heard about the beauty and wonder of Jackson for years now and figured it was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in my own soul renewal. My friends planned to spend the day hiking and biking while they waited but I purposely left my sneakers at home. I just wanted to wander the little town, sit at a cafe, sip on a latte and get creative. I wanted to wake up late, lie in bed while daydreaming, do a 20 minute yoga, a 10 minute meditation and set some beautiful intentions with zero interruptions, or distractions. I wanted to sit here at this cafe and write. Well, now I’m at the hotel bar and it’s late afternoon and I’ve traded in my latte for a rosé. I’m meeting up with my friends later for cheese and wine by Snake River and then dinner with the champions. This trip is truly the best of all worlds! I get the solitude and alone time. The fun, connection and grown up time with people I truly love and respect. The quiet renewal and the joyful companionship. I could not have asked for a more perfect getaway.

This still life is called, "A Woman's Intent to Rest."
Traded in my latte for a rosé.
After my solo lunch I headed back to my room for a couple of hours of knitting and my favorite show!

Places I loved!

If hotels, babysitters and two days of meals out are not in the financial cards for you right now consider finding other creative ways to take a break from your routine. For example, you could yelp a bakery, coffee shop or lunch spot outside your usual neighborhood radius, barter with a friend or family member to take the kids for a few hours and make a quick getaway. You could use the same bartering method (you know, like promise your sister two nights of awesome home cooked meals if she’ll watch the kids for an afternoon) and go to the movies, by yourself, in the middle of a weekday like a renegade! There are a million ways to shake off the daily care taking, house minding blues. You just need to take five minutes to close your eyes and think of something simple that you’d love to do. Something that might inspire  or amuse you. Something that will feel totally indulgent and special like spending a little extra cash on a latte and brioche from a bakery you’ve been dying to try and spending hours sitting at said bakery with only your lovely self for company. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from taking even a few hours every once in awhile to put yourself first! In fact, screw a few hours once in awhile, make it a priority to take a few hours every week! I bet you really, really deserve it! I’m talking to myself here as much as I am to you, now let’s see if I take my own advice! I’ll let you know how it goes!

All the stunning wildlife and landscape shots are from my friend Jeremy Steffensen who not only acted as my amazing Jackson Hole tour guide but is a phenomenal photographer as well! Enjoy!

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  • Stephanie

    I can totally relate. And ya, you’re super smart to follow Josh’s approach to self-care, guys are so good at it! I think it’s because they make it so simple. 😉

    September 15, 2017 at 8:00 am Reply
  • Sam

    I love this! I totally get you – it’s so easy to take time just for yourself without feeling guilty so you push the thought to the back of your mind; you’ll do it later, when everyone else is doing something else. Flash forward a few years and you realised you never did take the break and you’ve not stopped moving! I can’t remember the last time I went on holiday; I’m working or I’m trying to write stuff or I’m cleaning and taking the dog for walks and then I’m cooking, squeezing in a work out and then sleep, repeat, sleep, repeat… It’s lovely to see you get out and enjoy it! I’ve always wanted to hit up Jackson Hole [it is the location in a book series I once read so I have book-exploring-fantasies]. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 x

    September 15, 2017 at 9:37 am Reply
  • Brittany Torrence

    Great post and very serendipitous since just last night I had a meltdown. I’ve taken 2 long weekends and one beach vacation this year and every one was a disaster; two we actually cut short because they were so awful. Between work, marriage, and two kids I’m feeling very burned out and stressed. I think it’s time for me to plan a quick Fall “me” trip…if I don’t, the holidays will break me!

    September 15, 2017 at 10:46 am Reply
  • Wanda

    I so remember those days of raising my family and being overwhelmed with responsibilities and commitments. Learning that taking time to renew yourself is truly better for everyone else you’re taking care of is a hard lesson to grasp in the beginning. It does feel selfish at first. My girls are grown (one has two beautiful girls herself now and the other expecting her first around Thanksgiving) with lives and loves of their own. It was a transition to this new chapter in our lives (hubby hoping to retire in a couple of years – another chapter on the horizon!) and it didn’t come without its own challenges. But I can say I really like where we are right now. Oh I keep busy – anyone who knows me can vouch for that. But I love the luxury of taking those mini staycations to renew myself once in a while in the quiet little sanctuary of my own home. It goes fast. So fast. In the blink of an eye (it seems like that anyway) the littles will be grown and gone only to return for visits (you hope, LOL) and the next chapter of your life will be much calmer. Much love and happiness to you!

    PS – we have a trip planned to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone next May/June! I’m looking forward to checking out your favorite places then too!

    September 15, 2017 at 11:51 am Reply
  • Nicole

    We ALL need this “self preservation” sometimes! A lot of times if you ask me! I feel like I honestly could have written the before trip section myself. Eggshells and all. My girlfriends and I just yesterday planned our “first annual” Vegas trip for this December! I can not wait! Half of us have never been. I think I’ll take a page from your book though and take an hour today and visit a coffee shop. No kids. No husbands. Just people watching and sipping. Have a lovely day, K!

    September 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm Reply
  • Lindsay

    So beautiful!! It is so important to take some time for yourself!!! I’m trying to get back into that myself…just had a baby in May!! I love your pictures…in this southern heat it’s nice to see a cool low humidity place!! And if I had to plan a mommy trip alone somewhere it would be exactly like this!!

    September 15, 2017 at 1:31 pm Reply
  • Stephanie hare

    I feel like reading this is what I needed at this point in my life. I had a baby back in July and you described just how I am feeling. Even about the jealously because he was able to go do something with no second thoughts. I get that feeling when my husband does things so easily and no worry about what the kids or house may need. You are right! I need to take time for myself so I can be a better wife and mother to my family. Lately I’ve been easily upset but after reading this I know exactly what I need to fix that! Thank you for sharing!

    September 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm Reply
  • Marcia Voss

    Hi Katherine! Thank you so much for the “inspiration” I felt just by reading your story of your get-a-way!!! I feel your pain when it comes to house caring and kid caring and everybody caring except US not taking care of ourselves!!! I suffered a rare blood disease 8 years ago, it came on suddenly. I went from working everyday to suddenly not being able to, the disease attacked my kidneys. Within a year I had to quit my 34 year job and boy was that tough to swallow and difficult to do!!! I also found myself now having to face dialysis and all kinds of medical procedures. End result, I had a stem cell transplant and after 6 mths, I was able to get off dialysis! Yea! But the bounce back from that illness was a long slow process……when I finally started feeling “well” my mother had to come live with me for 2 years! She suffered terrible dementia and couldn’t stay in her home any longer. She passed a year ago, but my point being, I STILL haven’t gotten to do anything for me!!! I’m older than you, so no “small” kids here, but all the things I loved, gardening, knitting, home decorating etc. all went by the wayside for so long, I’m praying I can get it back! It’s one of the reasons I started reading your blog because we do have things “in common”!!! But I am blessed!!!! Going on 8 years remission, off dialysis and other than some weight gain, feeling pretty darn good!!! Now it’s time not to squander another precious minute!! I’m headed soon to see a nutritionist, and I also would like to start a yoga regime! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!! BTW…..LOVE your new TV show, knew I would cuz LOVED you in Grays!!! Till next time!! Take care!!!

    September 15, 2017 at 3:07 pm Reply
  • Kirkland Crosby

    This is the advice I would give any young woman: Of course you need time to yourself to relax and rejuvenate! And you and your husband need some time together to spoon. As your children get older, you should spend a night or two doing something they would enjoy – just the two of you; it doesn’t have to be expensive. You’re right, you don’t have to “get permission” to take care of your soul. I recently went on a week-long artists’ retreat and I don’t know how to paint. I love your blog, but think you have a real aptitude for travel-writing. This is great!

    September 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply
  • Jillian

    Thank goodness you did this! Why do women feel they have to do it all, all the time? When I had children at home it was the same, and somehow I thought I had to do everything. Just not healthy for anyone. Now that I am older I finally am admitting I need help. We have a large home and yard. So I finally hired a housecleaner and have gotten used to it. We always had yard people to mow but now we have someone to weed and keep order. I am not a gardner, but love pretty gardens and flowers. Your idea of bartering is excellent. In our area I saw an article about a group that trades…you share some time doing things you like and someone else comes and does things you need done. There might be groups in other places like this. I do not know their name, but it could be googled. Glad to see you having a fun and restful time.

    September 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm Reply
  • Hasan Kart

    Fabulous nature. Magnificent beauty. I’m talking about you. 😀

    September 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm Reply
  • Sharon

    Loved the article even though my only needy being is my cat. Everything out West is beautiful. When you are out and about, such as at Jackson Hole, do people come up and interrupt your thoughts?

    September 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm Reply
  • Mon

    hi kathy how beautiful everything you wrote .. beautiful those landscapes! what I liked most were the horses, my animal in the world. It makes good to disconnect from everything at times and be alone. in my case I’m scared to be alone,
    I never do well when I connect with myself. be happy big kiss from Argentina and sorry again for my lousy English…

    September 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply
  • Alex

    This arrived at just the right time. I have two boys under two – who I love dearly – but I can feel myself becoming more and more ground down and weary with the day to day fight to keep everything together. Our husbands don’t feel the need to ask permission for “me” time, you’re so right. I go into the weekend determined to carve out some peace for myself. Thank you. X

    September 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm Reply
  • Lomasluv

    I ran away last Mother’s Day! Checked myself into a local hotel and just zoned out.
    I enjoyed it so much I vowed to do it every month, or at the very least, when I feel myself struggling to stay on top of things.

    September 15, 2017 at 6:27 pm Reply
  • Jackie Roisler

    Beautiful! All of it, your words, the photos.
    Thank you for sharing.

    September 15, 2017 at 7:00 pm Reply
  • Lea Love

    Hmm. Your writing feels relaxed. I’m so happy that you found some time away for yourself. Isn’t it odd how culture creates men who do what they want with peace and joy and enthusiasm but women question whether they deserve or have time or even should do the same thing? A toast to you for going for it. May you follow your heart to many more chosen adventures and quiet times. Keep on being true and real. Peace be with you, Katherine.

    September 15, 2017 at 7:11 pm Reply
  • Olena

    You are such an inspiration, Katherine! Loving your blog and admire you

    September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm Reply
  • John Wilwerding

    Congratulations on taking care of yourself. You’ll mean more for yourself and family for doing it. I can’t remember the last time I did something similar, it must have been in single life, long ago.

    September 16, 2017 at 12:00 am Reply
  • Tricia

    Ok, this was another great writing! I felt as if I were right there with you, thank you!
    Still think you should be writing a book, of course in all your spare time, lol.
    Always, Tricia

    September 17, 2017 at 9:39 pm Reply
  • Lauren

    Holy wow, I love those photos! Wyoming has always been on my list of places to visit, but it’s just been bumped up a couple of notches.
    I’m such an introvert, I’m always seeking alone time. This post made all of the tension drop right out of my shoulders. What a perfect getaway.
    Also, is that book you’re reading good? It sounds intriguing!

    September 19, 2017 at 11:07 am Reply
  • Ray Coleman

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my hometown!

    September 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm Reply
  • Mack Piwonski

    I absolutely appreciate your realness in having a family, and being human…cause duh (big surprise?) we are! LOL My husband and I visited Jackson and immediately fell in love. We’re so passionate about Jackson. Everything about it is lovely and dreamy and just as you say in your blog. I’m so glad you had a chance to visit! My money is on you revisiting at least once more. Thank you for all your posts on your blog and the things you share- they’re so special and I really treasure them. Also, I think you’re gorgeous and amazing.

    October 1, 2017 at 4:39 am Reply
  • Bobbi

    YES! It’s taken me well into my thirties to discover that I just *have* to take time for myself. Everything suffers if not – my sanity, my sleep, my relationships. Time away-from-it-all to renew is SO needed. I wish we could ALL find a way to do this. My husband is my biggest advocate – he’s the reason I now take care of myself; but not every women has a support system to allow her to do so. Thank you for sharing!

    October 7, 2017 at 10:39 pm Reply
  • Katrin

    That Looks Fantastic! Wow amazing. Thanks for Sharing this with us. That was a Great Time for you and youre Family i Think. Lots of Love from Germany

    October 8, 2017 at 8:23 am Reply
  • Jacqueline Luna

    Yes! I need it to! I spent many Saturdays this past August and September up in Lake Tahoe! I had a fabulous time. I spent days hiking and meditating up on Horsetail Falls, went to a PowWow at Valhalla and met up with a friend who was a vendor there, swam in the lake, saw Fallen Leaf Lake for the first time, found a new place to get a meal and so on and so forth. I ventured into the Tahoe Flea Market which is very small but full of old treasures and met miners, silversmiths and artists. The weather was beautiful and it had been so long since I had been on that drive. The windows down, my long hair blowing in the wind and the fragrant pines blowing through me was exhilarating.
    One year ago, I took a promotional position at San Quentin Prison which is 80 miles from my home. I calculated all my money, driving time, expenses and personal time precisely in order to do the job for one year, pass probation and lateral back to my home area. I wake up at 3am, depart 4 am, meet a vanpool halfway to work, start work at 7am, off at 3pm and arrive home anywhere between 5 and 645pm. I really thought i would be ok but i became a zombie, silversmithing was on hold and very little time for grandkids.
    Those five saturday trips rejuvenated my spirit! I met great people, had good food for my spirit. I am now past probation and looking forward to working closer to home, make another promotion and continue my hobbies and get ready for retirement.
    We always need time to refresh, reflect and enjoy the simple things around us that make us smile.

    October 9, 2017 at 1:22 am Reply
  • carolyn

    First time on this blog- came via mama in a stitch. This post brought tears of recognition to my eyes- between jobs, kids, spouse, aging parent and house sometimes feel an explosion is imminent. So comforting to know that no matter the walk of life, we all, tend to share that commonality. Made me feel a bit more grounded for the moment.

    October 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm Reply
  • Lulu

    i wake up at 5 each morning and take half hour just to knit, usually a preemie blankie..while i knit i pray..there are so many stressful times, its nice to just do something you love even for a few minutes here and there..

    October 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm Reply
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