I moved to Colorado.
I know. Cray.
New Hampshire is fun and all, but it never really felt like home when I moved back three years ago (Memorial Day weekend 2016, to be exact). This move, ultimately to Colorado, has been a long time coming.
Two years ago, I sat across from my dad in a darkly lit BBQ restaurant supposedly celebrating my 32nd birthday, but instead I was lamenting my recent unemployment.
I had been temping at Timberland and was devastated when my contract ended and they were unable to hire me on permanently. It was the first time I had worked for a great manager, a great company (with an amazing culture), and genuinely enjoyed going to work each day. That was the job that made me realize that the corporate retail environment is where I want to be (after two prior failed attempts). More specifically, with a brand built around an active, outdoor lifestyle, where all of the employees live and breathe that lifestyle. I wanted to be a part of it so badly.
Me: “Dad… I think it’s time for me to leave New England. The type of job I want is in Boston, but I don’t want to live there again, and New Hampshire doesn’t have what I want professionally.”
Dad: “Maybe you should go. One of the best things I ever did was leave New Jersey and come to Massachusetts. I never looked back.”
That conversation planted the seed, but later that week I accepted a job offer with a trade association… in New Hampshire. Honestly, it didn’t matter. I didn’t have the financial means to move.
Fast forward to last summer, I picked up a part-time job waiting tables because I’m in my 30s with no savings to speak of. I was living paycheck to paycheck. It sucked. I couldn’t afford to do races (even though I did them anyway). I worried constantly about money, so it just made sense to get a second job.
Well… that job enabled me to pay for this move.
Just nine months later I pulled the trigger on signing a lease while on vacation in Denver. Mid-April I was sitting in Confluence Park, next to adventure Mecca (aka: REI), enjoying the sunshine and realized…
FUCK. I still live in the wrong place. It’s so pretty here. Denver is home to so many incredible brands. It’s a NO BRAINER.
So I did some research, saw some places, and picked an apartment 20min north of Denver. I returned home from vacation and gave my notice at work. I donated a lot of stuff. I sold a few things. Only what fit in the car is what came with me… plus a few boxes of clothes and home goods that I shipped to myself (because UPS is cheaper than a mover).
A friend made the trip out with me, and for her I am eternally grateful. That drive, while only four days long, was brutally boring. Having company, even though we mostly didn’t talk because we were busy listening to true-crime podcasts, was imperative. Anyway, we made it here, and we’re still friends.
We made stops on the way. First up was lunch at Rein’s Deli in Connecticut… because I wanted to buy their garlic half-sour pickles.
The next morning we stopped in Wooster, OH (aka: Amish country) to see a childhood friend of mine for coffee… who, strangely enough, my travel companion attended this friend’s wedding with me 11 years ago.
Then we stopped in Columbus for Skyline Chili for lunch and I HAD to buy a cooler and some Goetta. I want to say, “It’s an Ohio thing,” but I’m not sure it’s an Ohio thing so much as a Cincinnati thing. Or maybe a Wallace family thing.
We got stuck in traffic for an hour in a separated left lane heading into Cincinnati that was so bad we had to BACK UP a quarter mile on the highway to get out of the traffic jam and get moving again. This photo was taken once we were on the moving side of the barrier… those cars you see to the left of the orange cones and jersey barriers are backing up!
We stopped in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch, simply because it was on the way. It was too hot to stick around and be tourists – Guin was in the car, and it wasn’t particularly shady where we parked.
We stopped in Olathe, KS to have dinner with my cousin and his fiance and my grandma. The next morning we made a detour to visit Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve to honor my late grandfather… long story short, I didn’t make time to go back to Kansas to hike it with him before he passed away earlier this year.
Kansas was the most boring part of the drive. Holy shit. But the wind farms were amazing to look at. We stopped in Hays, KS for lunch… what to people do for fun in Hays, KS? I’m just not sure. It’s a decent-sized town smack in the middle of nowhere.
My cat, Penguin, did fabulously in the car… I was worried. But she just slept, looked out the window, or faced forward so I could scratch her on the forehead.
My cousin suggested that we pull off the highway to take a picture of the Colorful Colorado sign on I70. These are positioned all around the state… pretty cool!
My unit overlooks an open space and has views of the Rockies from the balcony. We saw the most amazing double rainbow the first night in the new place.
And that’s that. I don’t know people here… I’ve made a few connections through mutual friends, but I don’t *KNOW* anyone here. I’m just… on an adventure.
Since arriving I have signed up to volunteer at the Revel Rockies Marathon, registered to attend Daybreaker Denver/Boulder’s DUSK Pride party, will be running a Memorial Day 5K with Grist Brewing, and will be doing a sunrise hike with a small group of women from Women Who Hike Colorado.
Here’s hoping for many more adventures in my new home state!