There’s been radio silence on the blog here for a while. That’s because this was a travel(ish) blog, and well I’m not really traveling anymore. I’ve been back home in the states for about 7 months now. Unexpectedly, I’ve had a tremendous amount of adventures, learned about life and myself, and all back in my little hometown of Fruita, CO.
When it became apparent last year that I would have to move home come the summer of 2013, I was less than thrilled. I had spent the better part of the first 18 years of my life figuring out how to get out the Grand Valley. I was one of “those kids,” that looked upon their hometown with a bit of scorn, and had my eyes set on the distant horizon. I managed to move to the west coast for college, and because that wasn’t far enough, I continued onto Japan, and then The Netherlands.
After three years abroad, I decided that it was time to move back to the states. I had a great job lined up as a dance teacher, however my lack of savings would make it necessary to have my parents as room mates. For three years my daily life was an adventure, everything was new and foreign, I was constantly learning new things and exploring new places. For years my status as a foreigner was a central part of my identity. And now I was going back to my small, familiar, hometown, settling back into the doldrums of routine familiarity.
But the last 7 months have been anything but dull. I have discovered an incredible community of people, and the wealth of outdoor recreation activities that Western Colorado has to offer. The people that I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by constantly challenge and push me out of my comfort zone. Although I haven’t traveled far since coming home, I have learned some central lessons.
Having an extraordinary life is a choice. When living abroad I made it a mission to learn as much as I could about the culture that I was immersed in. My friends and I constantly made an effort to take advantage of every weekend and holiday to soak up as much adventure as we could. The deadline of our stay in our given location gave us an urgency to experience life. This same attitude can be applied to any given location. Somehow or another I managed to miss the fact that I grew up in an incredible place for outdoor recreation. The hiking, climbing, cycling, skiing, and mountain biking opportunities less than an hour away from town are mind blowing. For example, singletracks.com, and outside magazine have named Fruita one of the top 5 mountain bike destinations in North America. WIth my recently gained adventurous approach, I have tried to take every opportunity to experience life and my surroundings. I have discovered that I don’t have to be somewhere new, I just have to see the same places with new eyes. Although things may be common, that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting. I have the opportunity to constantly learn, and gain a deeper understanding of my surroundings, making even the most repetitive aspects of life more interesting.
Big risk, big rewards. I’ve found that the shape and nature of a person’s comfort zone varies greatly from one person to another. While traveling for years, seems to have pushed past several boundaries, being lost and different was where I felt most comfortable. Constantly being on the go kept people at a safe distance, things didn’t get too close or involved. Staying in one place, with people that spoke my native language meant that relationships would get deeper, with more opportunities for vulnerability and possibly getting hurt. My physical comfort zone has also been stretched, with friends that constantly push the boundaries of recreation I have been challenged in a variety of ways whether it is skiing, mountain biking, or climbing. Regardless of the nature of exploration, I have always found that pushing past the point of comfort has yielded gratifying results, whether it is self gratification or stronger community.
Moving home has been a beautifully humbling experience. Stripped of the the previous intrigue of a foreigner, I have built relationships that with people that find value in everyday life, while constantly pushing each other past our comfort zones.