"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Friday, October 26, 2012


My journey is taking a turn, in several ways.

First, I've suddenly found myself in winter!  My last night in Telluride brought a beautiful, fluffy snow that blanketed the valley.  I drove in and out of snow on the drive to Denver the next day.  Because the road included many mountain passes, I found myself in many different settings with each new valley.  At times, it was so bright and sunny I needed sunglasses and the windows down.  In just a few minutes, with the pass of another peak, I was surrounded by snow - I shivered, rolled up the windows, and turned on the heat.

The highest point of my drive - crossing over Monarch Mountain pass

Back down to a beautiful valley just outside the Black Canyon -
but still snow-covered peaks in the distance

It got pretty sketchy on the last hour into Denver.  I saw four
accidents on the highway.  Thank god for my new, all-wheel drive!

The second turn my trip is taking, at least temporarily, is a shift towards more stillness.  This makes sense because of being surrounded by winter weather.  We are meant to be more quiet and still during winter.

How this is showing up for me is less partying.  I partied my way through Missoula, Durango, and Telluride, with a short adventure break in Moab.  Understandably, my couch surfing hosts often want to show me a good time by taking me out on the town, and I want to see it!  So I go out and drink.  All night.  Every night.  And my liver is getting tired.

Thankfully, my hosts in Denver for two nights are a calm, suburban couple who are mostly homebodies.  Last night, we had soup and grilled cheese, made a fire, watched "Howl's Moving Castle," and went to bed early.  Ahhhh.

Today, I'm taking a slow morning to explore snowy, nearby Boulder on my own.  Later, I may bake and watch more movies with my host.  Finally, we'll go to the thrift shop and throw a costume together, because I guess we are making an appearance at a Halloween party tonight.  But not a party party - it's more of an "upscale" cocktail party hosted by her mother's gay housemate friends.

Coffeeshop where I'm writing in Boulder.  Look at the beautiful
snow outside!

The third way my trip is taking a turn is that I am about to have company!  My good friend, Shelley, from back in Maryland is here!!  She's in Denver for a conference, and so decided to take a week off of work and join me for some adventures before she flies back east.  I'm picking her up tomorrow and we'll head off into the wilderness together for a week!  It will be so nice to have someone other than myself to talk to in the car.  (Although, I've had some pretty great conversations with myself. . .)

And the final way my trip is taking a turn is that I've decided where I will be stationary for a bit.  I have an amazing gig in Taos, New Mexico, and I'm so so so so so so so so so excited about it!!!!

I'll be living at the Snowmansion hostel: http://www.snowmansion.com/Lodging.html (Look at the site!  It's amazing!)

In exchange for four, four-hour shifts per week, I get my own cabin and most of my meals!  My work shifts will include manning the front desk (checking in guests, taking reservations, meeting awesome travelers, etc.), cleaning rooms (changing sheets, sweeping, etc.), working in the greenhouse (weeding, transplanting, watering, etc.), and cooking (making a pot of rice and a delicious soup for the whole community with the organic vegetables from the garden and occasionally a locally-hunted elk or deer).

There will be at least one other worker there with me, a woman who is studying to become a midwife - cool!  Muna, the matriarch of the place, will be out of town for the month of November, but she'll be able to show me the ropes briefly before she goes.  Also, her son, daughter-in-law, and their two kids will be on the premises to teach me as well.  Finally, there is a caretaker from the Pueblo Indian village (which borders our property) living there.

In addition to being a hostel and organic garden, the Snowmansion is also an herbal apothecary!  Muna is an herbalist.  She grows nearly every culinary and medicinal herb, and makes and sells tinctures and all kinds of products.

The town of Taos is four miles away.  I plan to look for a few shifts of part-time work in town as well, so I can save up some more money while I'm there, and meet more people.

Can you possibly imagine anything more perfect????  Because I can't!!!!

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