get lost

Today was great. Why? Because I got lost.

Why didn't I just use Google Maps or drop a pin? ...because where's the fun in that?

Although my hike started with the familiar, it ended with quite the opposite. I went up Smuggler and instead of going right back down, I decided to take the scenic Hunter Creek Trail for the first time. The moment I turned left for the Hunter Creek trail, I had no idea where I was going--and I couldn't have been happier. It was both exhilarating and uniquely refreshing to not know where I was headed or where I'd end up. Every path I went down and every corner I turned was entirely new--something that I haven't had the excitement of in way too long before I moved to Aspen. I was 120% present; I listened to the sound of the creek and the wind stirring up leaves, I paid attention to every bend in the path and I completely forgot about everything that wasn't right there in that moment. I took my time, I had nowhere I needed to be except exactly where I was. It was bliss, and I don't throw that word around freely. I was so happy to be doing something different that I even enjoyed the fricken birds chirping along the way. It was by no means an epiphany or revelation, but it was one of  those underrated "ah-hah moments" where I learned a little bit more about myself. I took a few "wrong turns"  but I mean really, is there such thing as a wrong turn when you're exploring?

When you live somewhere for 22 years, you get comfortable--you get in a routine. You could drive to the grocery store in your sleep. You know where all the great sushi restaurants are (and the not-so-great ones, too.) You know where to fill up with the cheapest gas. You tend to stick to what you know--at least that's my problem.

In order to get out of my routine, I had to get the heck outta Dodge. Most people probably don't need to pick up and jump state lines to get out of their routines, but that was exactly what I needed. I was too comfortable, which is how I know I needed a change. If I didn't get out and experience the world on my own--truly alone, not just "studying abroad" or moving into my own place 5 miles from home--I think I would have stayed forever. I'm at the point where I'm not entirely settled in and feeling like Aspen is home, but at the same time I know that if I had the choice to hop on a plane tomorrow and head back to the Minneapple I couldn't do it. I know I wouldn't be satisfied. There are too many I-have-no-idea-where-I'm-going-but-wherever-I-end-up-is-AOK-with-me adventures to be had. Not to say that I won't end up back in Minnesota someday, but I have way too much of the world to see before I know it's where I'm meant to end up.

From here on out I'm making a promise to myself to get lost more often. To never shy away from taking the road less traveled or trying something new, whether it's hiking a new trail or moving half-way across the world.

Let's see where I end up.