I was done traveling. By the time I got back to Denver in December after a year and a half of open-ended travel, the last thing I wanted to do was plan another trip. I just wanted to be home and be there for my family. Fast forward to now. I bought a house, found a “real” location-based job, and fully subscribed to American life — Amazon Prime membership and all.
This from the self-described minimalist. From the gal who has spent around six of the past 12 years abroad. The one who has built a livelihood in the travel trade, who has filled three passports, who has moved overseas long-term five times.
Toward the end of my trip, I made three promises to myself about my travel terms.
1) The next time I do this I’ll own a home base.
2) The next time I do this I’ll be earning more money.
3) The next time I do this I don’t want to go solo.
I’m a nomad, and long-term travel will always be part of my life. So here’s the progress I’m making toward better travel terms for myself — starting with #1.
I bought a little house
It’s still strange to say out loud, to type, to wake up and realize. I can’t believe my luck. I’m so in love with these 608 square feet of space. Since I moved in about a month ago, all I want to do is make it mine. I’m nesting so hard, I think I ovulated just writing about it.
The home is a quadplex in Denver’s historic Clayton neighborhood, just north of City Park. My quarter of the building is 608 square feet, perfectly proportioned for one small person without much stuff. It was built in 1952 and newly remodeled just before I moved in. The color theme is cobalt blue and white, to match my bike.
I got a “real job” in cannabis tourism
As I searched the booming housing market of Denver, I knew my cobbled-together freelance and startup gigging wouldn’t go nearly as far her as it did in places like Ethiopia, Thailand and Bulgaria. So I started looking for opportunities locally here in town. I learned that a lot of new jobs in Denver have a green tone and a pungent smell.
The “green rush” in Colorado is real. Cannabis tourism in this state is real. And my new job as Communications Manager at My 420 Tours is real — no matter how “white rabbit hole” it feels sometimes. Travelers sign up for heady experiences like dispensary and grow op tours, sushi rolling and joint rolling class, and cooking with cannabis class. I write about things like infused pie and the Cannabis Cup leaving Denver. I love it. And business is strong. Best part: the office is just six blocks from my house.
On the up and up
By the end of my trip, I was in pretty bad shape. I had come to think of parts two and three of the journey as a “tour of defeat” after part one — Ethiopia — ended abruptly. Uncertainty reigned. Monsters invaded. Travel was taking a toll on my mental wellness. I crash-landed in Denver in December, depleted. For two dark wintery months, I holed up in the spare bedrooms of family and close friends. They supplied the tissues, I supplied the tears.
Since then, I’ve started to treat my mental foes as the real health issues they had become. Things are looking up. I found Taylor, my wonderful counselor who shares mindfulness tools and kinetic sand. I’m back on my bike commuting around town. I’ve joined the legions of runners in Denver and signed up for what will be my third half marathon. I’ve reconnected with a bunch of folks I missed dearly while I was away.
Amazing what a little Denver-style rootedness can do for a weary nomad.