Earlier this year, in April, I traveled to Boulder, Colorado to visit a friend and go skydiving. I decided to write a photo essay about this trip because it was the trip where I confirmed my desire to study abroad.
I visited my friend Erica, who was a senior in college at the time. She lived with seven girls in a house, and two semesters before I visited, many of them traveled abroad for the semester. So in the days that I was there, I got to talk to all of them about their different trips. Every story that I heard was fantastic and it really reminded me that a study abroad experience is one that I will never forget.
A few days before my trip, I started reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac, a classic novel that has been on my To-Read list for months now. I figured it was now or never, as I could relate to the main character, who was trying to find his way to Colorado from New York. Could we have been any more similar in these travels?
I arrived late at night in Denver, and as it usually is when I arrive in a new unfamiliar place, I was overcome with this feeling of bubbly serenity. It’s a very positive but hard to describe feeling. I love finding myself in new places. I’m excited, but relaxed at the same time.
On my first day there, I attended a class with Erica–an Italian class! Surprisingly I wasn’t completely lost, because I am a fan of romance languages and am currently taking Spanish classes. It was also super helpful because in May I would be going to Europe and one of the countries I would be visiting was Italy!
After class, Erica took me on a hike up the Flatirons, which are enormous rock formations that are part of the Rocky Mountains. Last year, I went hiking in California and found that experience to be very beautiful and scenic, but I would have to say that the mountains in Boulder were breathtaking. Sitting at the top of that mountain with rocks fifty times the size of me was a pretty humbling experience.
I’ve lived in and loved my hometown for over ten years now, and I always thought it was the most beautiful place in the world, especially in the fall. But this trip to Boulder opened my eyes and quite literally broadened my horizon. Now I see why Erica chose a place so far away to open this new chapter, have this brand new experience, and create a home away from home. I could have sat on top of that mountain for days.
Another reason I fell in love with Boulder was the lifestyle that people led, and the perspectives they held.
Everyone was so friendly and curious; always asking about my camera, wondering where I was from, etc.
Everyone was active; there were tons of people out hiking with their pets and friends.
Everyone was into nutrition and the environment (which I LOVED because I’m a tree hugger myself); there were different types of recycle garbage cans everywhere, buses were advertising green public transportation alternatives, everyone used reusable water bottles. Flea markets were held every weekend in downtown Boulder where fresh food and locally grown organics were sold. I could go on and on.
Boulder, CO seemed to be a few steps ahead of most places in the country. They were all about the green, active, healthy, energy-conserving lifestyle whose importance and effect too many people are ignoring.
A few days later Erica and I went skydiving in Longmont, which was a quick drive from Boulder. It was probably one of the most unique experiences and feelings I have encountered in life so far. I was so excited that I wasn’t even nervous! Skydiving has been on my bucket list since the day I started writing it. Number 5 to be exact.
I was so happy to be doing it on a beautiful Saturday morning above the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I’d like to think that Jack Kerouac would have been proud of me.
Skydiving had the complete opposite effect on my thirst for adventure that I wanted. It only made me hungrier for adventure. Not that I have a problem with that. Jumping out of that plane reminded me of the endless opportunities that the world has to offer. There are hundreds of cities I’d love to see. Maybe a few more planes to jump out of too.
After skydiving, we decided to quench our thirst AND hunger by going to the flea market in downtown Boulder that I mentioned earlier. We taste tested a bunch of different fresh foods, snacks, and organic products. My favorite part wasn’t the food though–it was the coming together of so many people in the town. People were sitting outside and eating meals together, walking their dogs, going for walks, and just being active and together. In New York, only a select few people did this–in places like Central Park or the Highline. But in Boulder, it was as daily and common as it could get. In my opinion, it was what made this little down so big.
On my last day in ColoRADo, it started HAILING! I have only ever seen it hail once in my life, and it was just as cool as the first time. This hail was less ice and more snow though. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was enough for us to enjoy the moment, have a mini-snowball fight, and dance in the hail!
My trip home was a sacred time of reflection for me. I sat on the plane and looked through pictures on my camera, reliving every moment. I clutched my copy of On The Road and channeled Jack Kerouac to thank him for his many words of wisdom about travel, and the mistakes and adventure within.
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”
“To hell with it; Don’t worry, simply do.”
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”