I can’t believe it’s already June 2016. I’m in the Rocky Mountains amidst thigh-high purple lupine and rustling aspen leaves. It definitely feels like summer. However, back in the middle of February, when I first returned to the United States, it was a culture shock to fly from Nairobi, Kenya to Boise, Idaho. Contrasts were everywhere: hot to cold, chaotic to calm, equator to mountains, black to white, foreign to familiar. I had come back to the U.S. to ski, regroup, and decide what to do next.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or my domicile, but I did know that I was ready to get back on my skis. So, after spending a night at my brother’s home in Idaho, the next day I got into his Subaru (which he graciously loaned to me) to drive six hours to Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Wyoming. Two days earlier, I was watching giraffes in the wild and now I had an eye out for moose on the road. It almost felt like time travel.
I always say that skiing is “my thing,” and I do love it. I skied until the end of April at twelve different ski areas in the western U.S. and Canada. I was in heaven and finally knew for certain—I didn’t want to live in Portland anymore. The renter in my house there was to leave at the end of June, so I decided to sell it. If all goes as planned, we’ll close on the deal in a few weeks and I’ll be truly homeless.
I put a lot of miles on that car in the past few months, traveling to and through Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and Oregon, as well as the Rocky Mountains of Canada. The sky was so big and the distances so vast, I sometimes felt like I was back in the Mustang region of Nepal (until I remembered I was in a car on a paved road and could easily get a cold drink and gas when I wanted). The snow-capped peaks and steep, mountain passes were a joy to see. The long, straight stretches of road through the high desert had me trying to identify migrating raptors sitting on every other utility pole. And yes, the deer and the antelope played, moose often crossed my path and herds of elk waited on the side of the road while I drove by.
I’ve come to grips with what I already knew: when it’s time to settle down, if it isn’t overseas, it will be in the Rocky Mountain West. I love these landscapes.
I’ve decided to spend the summer in Idaho and Wyoming, enjoying the outdoors as much as possible and I promise to share more of my adventures. Because although it’s familiar to me, every day there’s something different to notice, something you might be interested in reading about. Especially because I have readers all over the world now, some who have never been to the U.S. I can only imagine what they must think based on television shows and our political scene.
But the truth is that we have a lot going for us here in America, despite the dirty laundry and negative issues that the media focuses on. (In fact, I’m quite happy we have a media that can report on such things—not every country can say that.) The scenery and nature is as unique and special as that of other countries. We have diverse cultures to experience. There’s a vast variety of local and artisanal foods, wines or beers to taste. It’s not a bad place to be!
But my international wanderlust hasn’t been satisfied yet. Unless I fall in love with a person or a place here in the U.S., I suspect that in September I’ll get on a plane to cross another ocean. But I’ll cross that divide when I come to it.
In the meantime, I’ll keep watching my email so I can follow Travel Rule Number 1: If somebody invites you, go.