I’ve been changing my online identity today—almost a month late. One at a time, my social profiles are being updated from “US expat in Dublin” to “Iowa via Dublin via Colorado” or some other such attempts to be funny in 160 characters or less.
It’s about time, as it’s been three weeks since we went wheels-up at Dublin Airport, closing the Irish chapter of our lives and heading to the Wild West in Colorado for new and exciting opportunities. Since then, it’s been difficult to think about anything but the here and the now; nostalgia for the long, cool days of the Irish summer and eager anticipation for our new adventures in the Rocky Mountains will have to wait until we have brain-space for them. Right now, life is a whir of decisions and paperwork and listening to tinny hold music on the phone.
Just like it was when we moved to Ireland.
In Dublin, we waited at the immigration office; in Colorado, we waited at the DMV for our car registration and driver’s licenses. In Dublin, we spent money at an alarming rate buying towels, kitchen supplies, and household staples; in Colorado, we are spending money at an alarming rate on Craigslist and consignment furniture and touch-ups on our new house.
And in this new house, we are spreading out for the first time in three years. I finally have my own space in which to do my thing—I’m not sure yet whether to call it an office or a playroom. My wife and I don’t have to spend all day and all night in the same cramped living room, sharing one tiny, uncomfortable love seat while trying not to be distracted by what is happening on the other’s laptop. (Heck, we have so much room now we’ll need to tweet at each other when dinner is ready.)
Needed a crt TV for my old consoles. Craigslist provided. pic.twitter.com/2VhAsXKvF7
— Active_ate (@Active_ate) July 2, 2016
Also for the first time in three years, I have the full freedom to do whatever I want with my days: I can (and will) go back to working with students in public schools; I have a car and can (and will) drive to explore the wildest hiking trails the Pikes Peak region has to offer; I can (and shouldn’t, but will) play all of the old video games that have been languishing away in storage, carefully wrapped and preserved in plastic tubs with my chef’s knife and my home-brewing equipment.
I’ve had a few opportunities to explore the attractions of Colorado Springs—itself a tourist town, but with a very different flavor than Dublin. Back in April, and again since dropping anchor, I walked through the touristy bit of the famous Garden of the Gods park at the foot of the mountains. In the future, I’m hoping to walk every inch of those trails, and I’ll always be a little bit nervous watching the daring rock climbers squeezing themselves up through narrow cracks in the sandy red rocks.
We even—maybe a bit hastily—climbed the Manitou Incline at the end our of first week here at 6,000 feet. This famous ascent rises 2,000 feet (610 meters) over a one-mile (1.6 kilometer) hike. Consider it one of the world’s largest, stationary, outdoor StairMaster machines climbing into the thin Colorado air. Active hikers though we were, walking this particular mile stretched us to our limits; after two hours, we were stopping every few steps to take a minute of gasping breaths trying to pay off our significant oxygen debt.
But there is so much more to see and do here in the Springs and beyond. Rest assured that I’ll be diving into the tourism and travel scene headfirst, and covering it all here and on my social channels. I can’t yet say what my life will look like in six months—or even six days—and that’s a good thing.
With this permanent relocation, I’ve officially made myself ineligible for the whole Digital Nomad thing—no more weekend trips to Denmark or Scotland just because I feel like it—but I’m looking forward to living (and sharing) the settled life. Besides, you don’t have to get on a plane to travel and explore. We all have new and exciting things waiting for us just outside our doorstep. I’m home now, and ready to see what’s waiting for me outside my own.