“I think I just want to go home.”
I recently admitted this to a dear friend after letting the words rattle around in my heart for some time.
The truth is, I think I’ve wanted to go home for a while.
Montana beckoned to me loudly last summer, but it never quite worked to get there. The one apartment I was able to get approved for (because people didn’t call me back or weren’t renting to out-of-staters during the pandemic) got swiped out from under me when someone else put a deposit down first.
Then, right as I reconnected with my ex and ventured into round two of that, the rental apps went silent in the area where I was looking.
So, I stayed in Colorado and moved down the street to a less expensive place.
I threw myself into my relationship to try and make it work, but even when things with us were good (we ultimately broke up again), I didn’t want to be in the valley anymore. It continued to feel stagnant and tired to me like it was no longer my home, yet I had no idea where I was supposed to go.
Knowing that Colorado is no longer home and being free to move wherever I want, I naturally assumed I’d try for Montana again.
After all, I love the Rocky Mountains, and I’m craving more precipitation, cooler temps, and wide-open spaces.
So imagine my surprise when the trip I planned to scope out Montana this month started feeling less and less exciting. Every time I thought about it, it made me feel the same way Colorado does: stagnant, void of energy, misaligned.
It didn’t have the sparkle, energy, or luster that it did before. ????????♀️
Talking through it out loud for the first time, it became clear.
“There’s so much that’s magical about New Mexico,” I shared with my friend. “The desert. The rich culture and spiritual energy. The colors and textures. The stucco houses, the food, the attitude. Colorado and Montana feel flat to me now.”
“I think there’s something to going home,” my friend said with a gentle knowing, “it’s a chance to reclaim old parts of ourselves that we’ve lost.”
Her wisdom hit me like a ton of bricks.
I love a lot about Colorado.
But goodness if it doesn’t feel bland to me here.
It’s very white and has started feeling quite “full of itself,” something other Coloradans looking to move have also reflected as their reason for leaving.
There’s culture, but you have to really go looking for it. It’s not front and center or woven into the fabric of everything around you like New Mexico.
And honestly, I’m tired of it.
I miss the magic of The Land of Enchantment, something I didn’t fully appreciate when I was growing up there. It wasn’t until a big corporation moved into Albuquerque when I was in high school that the city really began to grow. Before that, it wasn’t a fun place to be for a teenager. Everything closed at 9pm, there wasn’t anything to do but get into trouble, and it was dusty and dry.
But every time I’ve visited since moving away, I’ve felt more and more of the magic I missed while I was there. And it’s been so fun to see the city come to life over the years. (I’m totally that old person that drives around and says, “wow, I remember when that was just an ugly ol’ sand dune!” ????)
I lived in Colorado for about six years before moving to Hawaii, and I’ve been back for just over eight now.
And in the time that I’ve been back, I experienced more than my fair share of loss, trauma, and transition.
I went into survival mode, dealt with endless health issues, and lost so much of what I’d built along with any sense of security I had. Much of what I did to re-stabilize myself and my life still seemed to land me in relationships and positions that drained the life out of me slowly, even as I was reawakening in other areas.
I moved to this mountain valley in 2018 to reset… but when I got here, I started doing heaps of regular work for one of my clients that didn’t light me up, then jumped right into a relationship with the first man I met.
I lost myself in both.
I can define both of those relationships as feeling tucked into the places people wanted me without enough regard for who I am and what makes me happy. Both loved me dearly and truly wanted the best for me, but it felt like they wanted “the best for me” in the places they thought I fit, and that led me to deflation and depression. It also feels important to say that I’m not blaming them. It’s very much on me that I ended up in both of those “roles” because I hadn’t fully unpacked my winning strategy and subconscious patterns of self-sabotage at the time.
I can see now that over the last several years, since coming back to Colorado and experiencing so much turmoil, I lost access to the color, quirks, and texture that make me feel like me. My charm, uniqueness, creativity, and much of my flare. I’m hopeful that I will find some of those pieces again, even though I know they’ll be very different.
There’s also a lot I never experienced in New Mexico.
We hiked and camped growing up, went on school field trips to interesting places, attended what felt like every exhibit at the annual state fair, and consumed a ton of delicious New Mexican food. But there’s so much I’ve never seen.
I’ve never been to Taos, White Sands, or Carlsbad Caverns. I’ve been up the Sandia Crest a hundred times, but never by trail. We hiked, camped, and jumped off cliffs in the beautiful Jemez forest, but always in the same spots. I’ve been to so many Balloon Fiestas, but never to the burning of Zozobra. There are foothills, mountain ranges, rivers, historical sites, hot springs, and trails I’ve never seen.
And I want to.
I want to finally learn to speak Spanish, connect more with the Indigenous communities in the area, and explore all the magical places that exist.
A big part of what’s compelled me to move is needing a change of scenery: new adventures, new experiences, new people, new places. And while Montana is wide open and filled with endless activities and trails (not to mention the cooler temps and more precipitation I’ve been wanting), I think my heart is craving something wildly different yet old and familiar.
I’m not sure it will be forever because I want to own land and always pictured it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. But much of my “moving off the grid” journey and finding my new home has been out of my hands.
Nothing has gone as expected.
Nothing has been seamless or easy.
Nothing has moved at the timing or pace I’d prefer.
So, I’m surrendering.
I want to go home—and the more I say it out loud and sink into the reasons why, the more excited I am to make it happen.
And it will happen!
I have family in New Mexico (that I’ve been missing as well).
Which means I can go when my lease is up one way or another and camp out in someone’s guest room until I find a place if need be. I will go home at the end of February, and that makes my heart happier than I ever knew it could.
I want to wrench on classic cars with my dad, eat Grandma’s pozole and biscochitos during the holidays, spend time with my sisters, and get to know my little nephew better. I want to cheer for the Isotopes and see the luminarias at Christmas.
I want to swim in the colors, culture, flavors, and magic.
That’s a little over seven months away.
And it’s refocused all my energy toward really fun things.
I’m bringing back my old Colorado Bucket list and updating it with all the things I want to do or try before I go. I’m meeting lots of new adventures buddies—just in this last week alone!—so I’m sure I’ll add unexpected things as we get out and about, but I want to make sure to experience as much of the Western Slope as possible. I want to explore Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming more too.
So, stay tuned. I’ll share that list, my intentions and process, and more of my upcoming adventures in my next post on Thursday!