Go West

It’s been three years. 

Three years ago, Stephen and I were in the height of that blissed-out-love stage. (I still laughed at his dumb jokes, he happily ate every meal I cooked, even when I unknowingly used his most hated foods…) “Let’s go on vacation together,” he said one night after work. I glanced up from what I was doing. “Really?” I said, unsure if I was ready to make the leap into ‘couples who vacation together’. “Don’t worry,” he said, flashing that boyish grin of his. “We’ll open it up to friends, too. No pressure. But you and me, on vacation. What do you say?” 

I wanted to go to Costa Rica. I think back on that now and it sounds so silly, but yes – I wanted waves, tan lines, tacos, and surfing. I wanted to smell like sunblock, walk barefoot, hold tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas. I wanted Hola and Adios, handmade rosary beads, stray cats and locals. Islands and the beach were all I had ever known. “No,” he said, matter-of-factly one day at work. What??? I had already started my ‘get-bikini-ready’ workout! “I don’t want to go to Costa Rica in the middle of February. I want to go to Jackson Hole.” I didn’t respond, because I was too busy finding a computer not near his and typing Where is Jackson Hole? in Google. 

“You want to go to Wyoming?” I said, moments later. “Yeah,” he answered. “You, me, skiing, hot chocolate, falling snow. It will be romantic.” I think the look on my face probably summed up how I was feeling: Confused. What happened to salty kisses and sand between my toes? I had to Google a map of the United States to figure out where, exactly, Wyoming was. Even my geography was confused. 

After a few days of thinking it over, I decided to cave. Not only did it seem to fit our budget better, but I could see how happy the idea of going to this mysterious place made him. When I told him I was in, I remember thinking that I wanted to see him that happy forever. 

I wish I could put into words what happened when we went to Wyoming. Perhaps it’s better to just share the blog post that I wrote upon our return: The Pepper on My Pasta with My Peas, from The Adventures of SoulRebel

with Bounder, my favorite pup
look at how young mancake looks!
gondola summit – I love this photo of us


One week three years ago was all it took to change my life. We went to Wyoming and fell deeper in love, not only with each other, but with life. Six months later, we quit our jobs, packed up the car, and drove. No place to live, no job prospects, barely any money. We spent two weeks touring the country – Nashville, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Austin, California… Visiting friends, hiking, camping, drinking cheap beer and eating food cooked over an open flame. I’ll never forget arriving in Wyoming and realizing that we were going to live there. I was so nervous. We went from taking our first vacation there to officially living together. Then we went from officially living together to officially living life together. 

It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it. We survived depleting bank accounts, holidays away from family, the passing of two grandparents and the death of a parent. We survived because we were thriving. Together. 

We skied until the tram closed. We drank Pako’s IPA until we had the giggles. We ate bison and elk until we were stuffed. We hiked and fished and camped and climbed and skied and ran and floated and biked and loved.

A year and some change later, we decided to move home. Perhaps because we didn’t want to become immune to the magic and solace that our little mountain town holds for us. A safe haven, whenever we need it. I’m coming for you, Wyoming. I’m ready for you to work your magic. 

until next time,

-S

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