When I turned 33 this year, it occurred to me that I’ve now lived in California, Arizona and Colorado each for 11 years. Of course my first thought was, guess it’s time to move. But then I really started to ponder each of those 11 years and realized Colorado feels more like home than AZ & CA ever did. I go back to those states every year and while they have a lot to offer (mainly an escape from the cold of winter) I’m always looking forward to my return to the mountains.

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The irony of it all is that I hate the cold. Absolutely, positively loathe it. However, after 11 years living in the Arizona desert, I came to hate the heat too. What I’ve learned living in the Colorado Rockies is that the beauty, the lifestyle and the people are second to none. There seems to be a mutual understanding among everyone that we’re all quite fortunate to live in the mountains.

I never had any desire to live in the mountains. Growing up, all I knew was that I had to get out of the little desert town my parents dragged me to at 11 years old. Being uprooted from my childhood in LA and relocated to a small town in the middle of the desert was upsetting and I really disliked my parents for it. But life lessons come in all sorts of disguises and now having had years to reflect, I know that move has a lot to do with the person I am now. It taught me about the power of adaptability, that change isn’t bad and the unknown is nothing to be afraid of. Most of all, it gave me the courage to say “hell yes!” to my high school boyfriend when he asked me to move to Colorado at 19 years old. I had only been to Colorado once before, for no more than 36 hours, so I had no idea what moving to the Rocky Mountain state would mean for me. All I knew was that it sounded like a great adventure.

Over the course of 6 years I moved back and forth from Arizona to Colorado trying to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to get out of life. But something happened during that first move to Colorado, the mountains became a part of me and I could never stay away for long. Whenever I would return to the mountains, it felt like what I can only imagine feels like returning to a childhood home. It feels like a warm embrace where I feel truly and completely the most like ME.
There is something profoundly fulfilling about living somewhere where you feel you’re at your best, where you feel most alive. I’m constantly challenged and inspired by my surroundings. I feel like I live where I was always meant to be.

Through our business we meet people from all over the country. Most of them express envy for where we live and tell us how much they would love to live in the mountains one day. To that I say, don’t spend your entire life wishing and dreaming. Take steps, baby steps or a giant leap, and make it happen. If you have a burning desire to be somewhere else, to do something completely different, don’t hold yourself back from being the person you were meant to be. Most likely that will mean making big sacrifices, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “having it all” but I’ve found that with great sacrifices come great reward.

The other night Mark and I were discussing what our lives would be like if we lived in the suburbs of Denver. We could afford a much bigger house and probably fulfill our dream of owning an airplane. Our business’s market would be larger and high season longer, bringing us more income. While those things sound nice, we’re perfectly happy letting all that go for our life in the mountains. It’s just that good.