My Colorado Adventure: Reconnecting with Nature and Myself [Photos]

Sometimes life presents you with curveballs and you have to just lean into it and go. I got a wild hair and started travel nursing about nine months ago after the opportunity seemed to present itself and I have loved it. I only have one week left living in the enchanted state of Colorado for my summer assignment. I moved to Denver in mid-May for my third travel nurse assignment, eager to seek adventure and to find my own way. I had never lived outside of the Southeastern U.S. and it was the first time truly being on my own in a new part of the country. I remember the first couple of nights alone, I could almost feel the walls closing in on me as the gravity of being truly alone and on my own hit me for the first time. It was a little unnerving and daunting at first but I quickly adapted.

Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs
Trial Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

I absolutely fell in love with this state and its natural beauty. I fell in love with the open air of solitude and autonomy, with the freedom of directing my own life. These last few months have been some of the best and most memorable of my life. It has felt like I have started to actualize some of my life goals. Goals of writing and starting a blog, which I did while I was here. Goals of travel, adventure, and connecting with nature. Goals of exploring internally and learning to adapt to change, thinking on my feet, and slowly learning to get a handle on my anxiety.

Garden of the Gods.
Biking Glenwood Canyon

One of the things I have loved most about living here is planning adventures while at the same time remaining spontaneous to whatever happens to come up. Some of my favorite memories were things that were completely serendipitous. I have felt like a kid again, bright eyed and full of wonder, mesmerized by the winding road and the diverse natural beauty to be cherished.

Paint Mines.
Moose in a park in Breckinridge.

I have traversed snowy mountains, vast canyons, sprawling prairie lands, dynamic sand dunes, endless desert expanses, and serene hidden mountain lakes of clear water. I have been spelunking through caves, explored gold mines, lost my mind a little in the musical bliss of Red Rock, discovered Native American dwellings and culture, and been enchanted by the countless mountain towns that feel like cozy nooks of serenity and hidden pockets of culture. I have hiked alongside mountain goats, witnessed moose resting near quiet ponds, giggled at prairie dogs, gazed upon herds of ram and elk, and seen a few buffalo. I have felt intimately embraced by nature as a part of it and it has awoken a flourishing spiritual side to me with feelings of connectedness, love, and gratitude.

Flat Irons in Boulder.

I have felt like for the first time, I am not letting life passively wander by, I am trying to take it all in, many times to the point of exhaustion. Of course I still struggle with laziness, lack of motivation, and complacency at times, but overall I have seen a tremendous improvement and I don’t want to let it slip.As my adventure winds down, I am taking time to rest and reflect. I still have a long way to go in growing as a person and actualizing many areas of my life, but I feel a sense of real change, and it took doing something that scared the shit out of me a year ago. I don’t feel like I’m in a completely better and more improved place, but I feel the earth churning beneath me with all the optimism of positive change that can come.

Mesa Verde, 900 year old Puebloan ruins.
Maroon Bells near Aspen.

I could have never imagined traveling on my own to another part of the country a year or two ago. I wanted to, but it was just not in my realm of possibilities. I was still plagued by very limiting thoughts and I didn’t have nearly any confidence in myself, in my ability to adapt to change and create something new. It wasn’t till my girlfriend at the time, Beth, convinced me that it was my life to make and that I could do anything. I owe so much to her, even though we aren’t officially a couple anymore, she is still an inspiration in so many ways. Sometimes people come into our lives who are catalysts to change, who inspire us to see our power and worth. Love and embrace these people, for they are priceless. I certainly could not have done this on my own.

Hanging Lake.
Hanging out at Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Now that I have a summer of growth and adventure behind me, so many doors in my mind have been opened. I have adapted to my job, made a handful of deeply cherished friends, and have learned to problem solve in new ways and find the whole process invigorating. I am so much more capable than I gave myself credit for and I feel this is only one small step in a lifetime of growth and revelation. I would have never known had I stayed in my hometown, at my same old monotonous job, repeating the same week for months and years. Solitude has been key for change too. There is a certain authenticity that emerges when you live on your own, TRULY on your own. It feels like you can carve your own way and situations force you to be self-reliant in ways that inspire growth.

Sand Dunes National Park.
Red Rock Amphitheater.

This whole experience has been a blessing. I feel so much more empowered. The world has been opened to me and I feel a new found sense of confidence in my ability to go anywhere and do anything. My confidence still needs a lot of work, but there is no doubt that improvements have been made and will continue to be made if I stay on this path and don’t waver. That will be my focus going forward, for I love to waver and quit early, but I am hopeful that my life has met a new standard, a new height that will lift me into the heavens if only I choose to climb each day.

National Monument outside of Grand Junction.
Cave of the Winds.

If you are a nurse thinking about traveling or if you have the opportunity either through your career or other means to get out and travel, do it! There is never a better time than right now and it’s never too late to start something new! I know this is a cliché but I am going to say it anyway: If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously I had no self-assurance that I could pull something like this off but I took the plunge and did it and I could not have imagined doing anything else.

Ouray, CO. Probably my favorite town in the state.
Grand Junction.

There is a world of opportunity, possibility, and beauty open to each and every one of us. It just takes taking that first step, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. We are boundlessly adaptable and we weave paradigm shifts left and right if we so choose. We are unstoppable. I feel like life is fun, invigorating, and whimsical again and all it took was taking a chance. You can always find a new path to betterment and the fun is in the spontaneous and serendipitous nature of the flow of life. Just go with it, get swept away by the path and see where it takes you. ❤

Summit of Mt Evans.
Rocky Mountain National Park.

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