Hello stranger friends,
We haven’t met but since you all follow my friend Casie I think we will get along just fine. I’ll give you a little intro before I jump into such an important aspect of my life. My name is Ellie, I’m 25 years old, and have been living in Utah for almost three years. I am from the Wisconsin/Minnesota area and lived there for the first 23 years of my life. I write a travel blog Roadtripable to document my adventures by car, plane, or sometimes just hiking. Entering the blogging world was scary at first but I have grown to love typing out my travels, it feels more complete somehow to have them written down to relive again and again. A full circle feeling.
(Casie heres an answer to your “Why do I blog” challenge, maybe I’ll get around to an entire post about it…eventually!)
Casie and I are fated to be travel buddies for life since we met at the London Heathrow Airport waiting for the rest of our study abroad class to arrive. We spent an incredible month together touring England learning about history and culture. I think it is safe to say we have caught the travel bug ever since.
Alright… This is my honest truth about the good, the bad, and the really unexpected parts about living 1,000 miles away from home.
Ever since I first saw the Rocky Mountains with my family in elementary school I had my heart set on living in them. I fantasized about owning a ranch out in Montana, skiing the slopes of Breckenridge, being a park ranger somewhere out there. I could never shake the feeling of missing out…My cousins who live in Denver always seemed so adventurous and care free. I visited a lot and every time I would head back to the Midwest my heart felt sick. After college I finally I had the opportunity to apply for jobs all around the country I decided that now it was my turn to get out there and live my dream.
I applied for plenty of jobs in Colorado but when I saw a job in Salt Lake City my spirits soared. At first I didn’t honestly know Utah had mountains, I envisioned a red rock desert covering the state everywhere the Salt Lake wasn’t. When I googled the city my jaw dropped. Seriously, google image search Salt Lake City, you won’t be disappointed. I was hooked. I didn’t get the first job I applied too out here but eventually I got one in Ogden, Utah (also google this one) and have loved the mountain town ever since.
The first year here was a whirlwind. Everything was new and I was so busy starting my career, meeting new people, and exploring my new backyard. I felt like there was so much *newness* that there wasn’t any room left to miss back home. I had mountains to climb, hot springs to submerge myself in, canyons to climb, and a new dog/fiancé to share it all with. We had friends and family eager to visit us in our new home. I planned detailed itineraries packed with sites to take them too so that their visit could also be a fun filled vacation.
One of the best parts of moving somewhere that nobody knows you is the opportunity to be your realest self. There is no one who has pre-conceived notions of you and who you are. There are parts of me I didn’t know existed until now. Writing, for example, is one of them. I have thrown myself into the outdoors and have so many new passions that have become a part of me. If I would have stayed in the Midwest I know that I would not have been challenged to become this person and I love this person.
Another perk (?) of moving away is the necessity of becoming independent. I had always thought of myself this way but never before had I actually have to prove it. Moving heavy furniture? Can’t just call up the neighbor with a truck anymore. Need to make a dentist appointment? Better find a whole new provider and establish care. We even needed to set up a new bank account because my cute little Associated Bank doesn’t have branches out here. I don’t think I really considered myself an adult until I lived in Utah.
After the first year everything began to slow down. I settled into my job, the new things that had been so exciting and overwhelming became a part of everyday life, and the visitors made fewer trips. I think that last part has been the hardest, living in such a beautiful place is great but sharing it with the people I love makes it shine. To be fair, this year I had to make a LOT of trips home because I was planning a wedding in the Midwest and was meeting with vendors. I always made time to see my family and friends during these trips but there was so much to fit into a weekend that everything felt to short. I crave uninterrupted time to spend lounging with my besties or helping my mom rake the leaves out of the yard.
The longer I have been away, the more I begin to miss home. At first it was just the people. You find out who your forever family is when you live away and I don’t just mean by blood. Your forever family are the people who make an effort to keep in touch. They will be the ones who send a ‘just thinking of you’ card in the mail, a snapchat of their morning commute (the everyday stuff), or even a surprise visit. That closeness means so much when you can go an entire day without seeing a familiar face. Now, I find myself missing the Midwest itself now too; the greenness of it, the lakes to jump into after a hot humid day, and most importantly the CHEESE CURDS. I got so jealous this year of everyone that sent pictures of the Minnesota State Fair! I could do without the below freezing temperatures but even so I still feel pulled back to that frozen tundra.
The truth is that living in Utah has been a time of self-discovery, personal growth, and filled with love but I miss home to much to stay forever. I get that heart sick feeling I used to get after a vacation in the mountains for the rolling fields of the Midwest. I want to milk every ounce of adventure out of this place because I know there is a deadline for me now. It won’t be for years yet but I already have so many emotions about leaving. Joy to have had the chance to realize this dream, excitement for all the more adventures to be had here, immense sadness to leave, and a warm fuzzy feeling knowing eventually I will be near friends and family again. If you would have asked me two years ago if I thought I would move back home I would have said No, Utah is that amazing. It is still amazing but more often then not there is something that will pull you back home.
Thanks for listening to me ramble about my two homes. Maybe Casie will have me back again sometime and I can tell you more about life out in the West (especially living with all of the Mormons and their wacky laws!). If you want to hear about some of the above discussed adventures then go sneak a peak at my own blog www.wordpress.com/roadtripable where I ramble some more.