Hello and welcome to my first ever blog post. I’ve been spending hours in various coffee shops, apartments, airplane seats, and city sidewalks trying to write an “opener” post for this website, and I have about 18 drafts to show for it, none of which I like. It’s easy to write in the moment, but quite another to give myself a prompt – in this case, an introduction to a website that’s a little about travel, a little about lifestyle, a little about health, and beauty, and love, and spirituality, and coffee, and the world, and probably my cat Milo at some point – and gather all of it into some organized little article that makes sense and doesn’t sound forced or just put everyone to sleep.
I sat in a dimly-lit apartment and argued with myself that I couldn’t possibly write there because there was nothing inspiring about the place. I sat in a cozy coffee shop drinking peppermint tea during a raging thunderstorm and argued that it was too inspiring, that I couldn’t focus on writing a stupid introduction when all of my words were coming out in the form of a haiku. Everywhere I’ve been has been too noisy, too quiet, the lighting has been off, the vibe didn’t feel right, I was suffering from writer’s block, and ultimately each time just ended in me closing the laptop and pouring myself a glass of wine because screw it. It will come to me eventually.
I am fortunate enough to live a life rich in travel, experiences, and opportunities, but today I put it all on hold and flew back home to my roots – Golden, Colorado – and after all the places I’ve tried to write in, the words finally started to flow in none other than my dad’s beat-up pickup truck. Then I realized, duh. If you’re trying to write an introduction for something – like, I don’t know, a public diary of your life – go back to where your life started.
The morning started picture-esque as ever, shuffling into my parent’s kitchen in one of my old high school cheerleading T-shirts, a lopsided ponytail, and Christmas-themed slipper socks (even though it’s August) and pouring myself a cup of coffee. I could come downstairs at sunrise and both of my parents would still already be awake and halfway done with their day, I swear. On this particular morning, my dad announced that we were going to take a father-daughter trip to our family cabin in the mountains. At the sound of that, the coffee went from the mug into the to-go cup, the ugly slipper socks got switched for ugly slipper boots, and I was climbing into his truck with him and the family dog, Koda.
With all the new stuff I get to see on a regular basis, the state of Colorado still never ceases to amaze me. One of the greatest, most utterly unexplainable feelings in this world, is standing in the middle of something so big that it makes you feel microscopically small. I love feeling like my surroundings could swallow me up at any given moment. I love feeling my stomach drop when I look out over something so much bigger than anything I’ll ever know. From the time I got into that truck to the time I was crawling out of it, I was taken through a scenic experience of rolling hills, a thousand shades of green and blue and gray and gold, towering mountains that start off in the distance and soon surround you from every direction, rotting wood on old mines coming out from the side of the mountains, gaping bright blue skies with clouds so perfect they look as if they were painted into your real-life view right by Sir Bob Ross himself. I mean, I grew up here and I still stare at this place like a kid in a candy store.
So we’re at the cabin. Naturally, I was back to my eight-year-old self, taking off my shoes and dangling my feet off the bridge over the river in the back. I picked up shiny rocks and played with bugs I thought were cool. I put the dog in the back of dad’s Arctic Cat and went off-roading over the rocky trails. When it started raining in the early afternoon, I galloped across the property to safety like that kid in 4th grade who made dinosaur noises at you in the hallways while they ran past you all heavy-footed and uncoordinated. (Hi, that kid was me.)
On our way back down, my dad went to point out an old coal mine that now remains as a long, deep cave in the side of the rock. His only intention was to show me the gaping hole in the side of the mountain and move on, but you guys, it was a long, deep cave that used to be a coal mine. I crouched down and ran on in until I couldn’t see where I was stepping, and eventually my voice started echoing, and the air got cold and heavy, and the dim light on my phone wasn’t illuminating farther than I could step.
I figured I should probably turn around and come back when I had a flashlight to make sure my next footstep didn’t land me on a skeleton or a drop-off or a monster or something. I emerged from the cave, expecting my dad to lecture me about “being careful” but instead he was standing there with his camera, saying, “Hey, go take some pictures of the inside for me, will ya?” I told him yes, if he would snap a photo of me and Koda outside the cave before we ventured back in, and my sweet little old father took about fifteen photos on my phone before yelling, “Well, this button’s so darn small and it’s not making any noise, I don’t know if I’m taking any or not!” Good news. He was. Behold, Chuck’s photography.
I could not stop thinking all day about how lucky I was to grow up here, surrounded by an essence that swallows me up from every direction, that constant reminder of how small I really am. I love Colorado, and I know it loves me back, because it taught me to realize exactly how much this world has to offer and provided so much inspiration to grow this little nomadic soul of mine from the beginning. I’m not sure that I would have the same appreciation for the world had I not grown up in place where natural beauty and inspiration lay themselves out without being beckoned or prompted. I had so many years to think, if this one space that I’m confined to doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all that’s out there, and it’s this great here, then…*mind explodes*. I think that so-small feeling I fell in love with diminished a lot of fear I would have otherwise had, and I just kind of started jumping into things without thinking about consequences.
I started embarking on solo road trips all over the state, moving to tiny mountain towns, then to the biggest city in the country without knowing a single person in the entire state, bouncing from coast to coast with no guarantees on places to live or a secure job. I don’t even know how I wound up in a lot of situations I wound up in. I probably could have gotten myself killed a hundred times or so (but I do have a bad ass spiritual guide/guardian angel, so hats off to her.) I trusted people easily and I never made plans for my next move. The more something made my stomach do that dropping thing, the more I was into it. An adrenaline spike was more comfortable than sitting idly somewhere safe, where I probably would have been driven to insanity.
You know that saying how one day, your life is going to flash before your eyes, so you better make sure it’s worth watching? After so many years of making questionable decisions and having the most fun I could possibly have, I realized it would be a little ridiculous of me to stop that any time soon, since I still have a lot of life to watch later (hopefully). I chose an “adult job” to be one that allows me to travel, and I’m continuing to embark on these adventures that will make me feel limitless and tiny and just as deeply in love with the world as ever. I hope you guys enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy living them, and writing about them. And now I know, if I ever need a reboot of inspiration, Colorado is just the place to do it.
Or maybe I just need another cup of coffee. Or both.