Posted on April 5, 2015
Have you ever stared at a sight so stunning that it took your breath away? Did you ever see nature so beautiful that it made you cry? Did you ever leave a place, but know that a piece of your heart was left there forever?
I’m not going to lie, these things happen to me pretty much everywhere I travel to. I can’t remember the last time I traveled somewhere and didn’t come home thinking, I want to move there. I thought that with Arizona back in December. I thought that with Central California last April. I thought that with Mackinac Island, and Wyoming, and Hawaii. (I just remembered the last time I didn’t think that: my NYC visit.)
But never have I felt that more than after traveling to Colorado a few weeks ago. The thing is, I knew it would happen. I’ve been saying that I want to live in Colorado since visiting when I was six years old. I’ve been talking about visiting again for the past 10 years. I’ve talked about skiing there for the past five. I think I put it off for so long because I knew that once I went, my life would never be the same again.
It’s funny how fate just works itself out though, and puts me in Colorado at the exact moment in my life that I needed it.
I did go skiing. I skied better than I ever have before and didn’t fall once until the very end of the day! Granted, that one fall led to a bunch of falls on my last run down, and it landed me at a doctor’s appointment in Boulder. Go figure. But it was totally worth it. Skiing is how my parents met and how they spent the first six years of their marriage. It meant a lot to me to experience not only skiing, but skiing on a mountain, and not an icy hilly in the Midwest.
I visited Breckenridge and couch surfed with someone I’d never met. For those of you who don’t know, couch surfing is free. It’s people who volunteer their couch to someone who wants to crash there for the night, or the week, or however long. This freaked me out and totally took me out of my comfort zone. But it was a fantastic experience! The girl we stayed with was incredibly sweet. In her words, we were “total besties” by the end of the night.
I went out in Denver and reunited with friends from college. I stayed the whole week with an old friend of mine from high school, and though I was a little nervous about it, I now feel closer with him than ever. I bonded with his roommate too, whom I now share a deep connection with that will last lifetimes, I am sure.
I experienced the most epic hike of my life. I climbed a mountain from bottom to peak, with a sore knee, and then lost the path on the way down. My climbing buddy and I literally climbed down boulders and then slid down on our butts, but not without sharp rocks poking into our buttholes, me gaining balance by grabbing onto a cactus, both of us falling onto rocks inside a dry creek, finishing our hike in the pitch dark, and my other friend waiting for us for two hours in her car while we found our way. It was terrifying, but I was laughing the entire time. Now, it’s my favorite story.
I experienced many other hikes as well, and drives up into gorgeous mountain landscapes. My favorite was Loveland Pass, which was just covered in a blanket of pure, hardly touched snow. It brought tears to my eyes just to stare at it and know that it’s real and it’s part of our earth. God created that, and he created us, and we get to share it, because we’re all amazing.
I ate a lot of amazing gluten-free, vegan, Paleo goodness. I drank healthy potions. I talked to a lot of people. Everyone is so friendly, and vacation-mode Alicia is crazy friendly, too. Everyone had a different story of how they ended up in Colorado, and not one of them had a plan before moving there.
So you know what? There is a good chance I am moving there, too. Because I left a part of my heart there, and I don’t really want to live the rest of my life without it.
But either way, the trip changed me in more ways than one, and it is one I will never forget. So my advice is this: Travel. Whenever you can, with whatever you can manage, travel. See new places. Experience new things. Talk to different kinds of people. Let go a little. Live.