For nearly the last year, keeping this site going has met with many challenges. Like most of us, getting out more has been almost a relic of the past, what with lockdowns, social distancing, and many changes. Maybe that is why it is even more important to push ourselves and our envelopes. Not just for our personal enjoyment, but our sanity as well.
I never realized how difficult trying to maintain a travel blog was when most of the places you could go or see are either closed or so limited that you might as well just throw up your hands and try it some other time. Many of us, myself included, have become more withdrawn. There was a time where the idea of getting a haircut was nearly impossible. People have retreated to Zoom meetings and virtual interractions.
I also went to ground for a while. My life has hit a lot of snags over the last year. I’ve experienced the end of a relationship and canceling the plans we had made to travel, just as the lockdowns were beginning. My job of 18 years at a university ended, just in time for everyone else to be losing their jobs, which has made me focus on writing full-time as a way to support myself and my family.
As prospects in the Colorado Front Range have looked bleak, especially with an expected recession due to changes in the Presidency and how executive orders will affect the oil and gas industry, everything seems a little precarious right now. My landlady began the process of selling the house out from under me too. So, I decided to move back home to where I grew up.
I am living in my grandparents’ old house now, or a section of it anyway, that has been vacant for a number of years. I am making renovations as I go and hope to share some of the progress I have made here. This house has been in my family for over 80 years. Six generations of my family have lived here. The building itself started out as a dance hall in 1913 and later evolved into a bowling alley, then a storefront for my family’s trucking business in the 1940s. It’s a weird old building, featuring a dock for freight, and some other quirky details. The old trucking office will serve as my writing office and that is where I am writing these words right now.
The old place has tongue and groove hardwood floors throughout. Thick walls of concrete and steel (which made it a real pain to drill through to install my WiFi), and so much family history. For the last month, I’ve been making the place my own and updating things as I can.
The town itself is small, with a population of only about 700 people. At 8100ft above sea level, the air is thin and takes some getting used to, but the views are amazing. Surrounded on all sides by mountains, only three roads come in to town and the nearest 7-11 is 60 miles away. Traffic is almost non-existent. So much that the first few nights here, it was hard to sleep with the silence. The white noise of the city was gone. No ambulances at 3am, no highway traffic, no trains blasting their horns at every intersection. Just the ticking of the clock on the wall and the hum of the furnace fan.
A few weeks into being here, I decided it was time to get a dog. I’ve lived without a dog for the last six years. My lease had a strict no pets allowed policy, which meant I couldn’t even have a fish tank. With the lockdowns, the option of getting out and seeing new places became limited and so I decided as soon as I could, I was going to get a furry traveling companion.
I’ll detail that trip in a future installment!
For now, I am starting over again, doing what I can to meet the challenges of this “New Normal” a phrase I dislike intensely. I don’t miss the city and feel like at this time in my life moving back home was an upgrade. Over 20 years in the Front Range was wearing on me and I consider this an opportunity to make my life and the life of my son when he is with me, much better than it had been before.
So maybe it’s possible to get out more even when you are on lockdown. I’m still pushing my envelopes, especially when it comes to figuring out writing full-time, house renovation, and reconnecting with family after being away for over 20 years. It’s an adventure to say the least!