4 years ago, I took what I would consider my first solo trip. I woke up excited at 4 AM to drive from Longmont, CO to Salt Lake City, UT. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was ecstatic to be doing it.
Little did I know, my “campsite” was in an industrialized area, where you could walk to almost anything you needed. They had a pool, ice, campfire wood, running water and a little grocery store.
Regardless of how unprepared I was, I had the time of my life. I felt euphoric and became emotional at the beauty of the landscapes. I hiked Frary Peak Trail on Antelope Island; which was the hardest hike I had done so far. I became dizzy a quarter mile from the top and passed out before summitting. I was the only one on the trail and scared myself into hiking down before anything worse happened.
This was the beginning of a very long journey through sickness and disease, but at the time I just figured I pushed myself further than I should have. The whole trip was empowering, and at the top of Antelope Island, I literally felt myself on top of the world.
Flash forward 4 years. I find myself driving the same long road out to Utah, in the same scorching heat, but this time I have a friend along for the ride. We had the time of our lives, and although tragedy struck at the most inopportune times, it is truly what made our story worth telling.
After almost dying in the Colorado River near Glenwood Springs, we nearly lost our tent in the same river near Moab, UT. Our lack of luck with water followed us as flooding chased us from Moab to Zion to St. George and eventually ended up in Las Vegas asking “how did this happen?”
Nature tends to bring out the deepest thoughts, and we had the most genuine conversations about life, love and happiness. I knew something in my life was missing, but couldn’t put my finger on it at the time.
I was beginning to realize that my relationship was ending and that a new journey was approaching, but again, couldn’t pinpoint the path. If you look at a picture taken on that trip, and a picture taken now, you can see the change in happiness (and weight).
Time travel to today, Utah has pulled me here once again. This time the universe isn’t dicking around. The universe has made it clear that this is where I am supposed to be. Let me tell you how.
When I chose to go to New Zealand, I had my mind set on New Zealand. When it didn’t work out, I had every intention of moving to Vermont, a place I had never once set foot in. I was pulled to go on a road trip and once I got there, I was disappointed and knew I couldn’t live there. So I set my sights on Montana. I had been there before and I loved the Flathead Valley. I loved the scenery and the amount of outdoor activity they had.
Everyone gave me a million reasons not to go there, but they also gave me a million reasons not to go to anywhere else in the world, so I wasn’t listening anyways.
I began searching for a job in Whitefish, the town I had once visited on a ski trip with college. I found the perfect CPA firm, the perfect apartment rental and I fell in love with the idea of Montana. Unfortunately, the apartment rental never called me back, the real estate agent and recruiters I talked to were very unpleasant and the CPA firm I applied at suddenly “didn’t have space” for me.
I began looking elsewhere. I applied at any CPA firm within 30 minutes of a ski resort Out West.
I got an email back from a firm and checked out their website. After looking at it, I wondered why the hell I ever applied. I had no intention to apply to one-man CPA firms, and this firm didn’t even have a careers page, let alone a job posted. I agreed to a phone interview, seeing it as an opportunity to practice my interview skills, if nothing else.
It was perfect. It was the CPA firm I had been looking for. Small, flexible, personable and laid-back, but yet professional, community-oriented and educated. After 10 minutes chatting about my experience and education, and another 30 chatting about life and travel, I left the conversation confused. He wanted to meet me in person, but I wasn’t even sure I wanted to live in Utah. Why did I apply at this firm?!
I took a leap and decided to make a trip out to Utah to meet this mysterious CPA who seemed to have it all. I booked the cheapest flight to the cheapest city with the cheapest car rental and packed my bags. I would fly into Las Vegas, rent a car, and drive up to West Haven, UT. I started checking my network to see if anyone could help me save a little money.
Little did I realize, the little girl who made Mesa, Arizona manageable for me during the toughest time of my life, grew up and moved to Utah. After 8 years of not talking much, I reached out. “Absolutely you can stay here!” was her response.
As I drove into Utah, I remembered the beauty that brought tears to my eyes when I moved out to Colorado. The type of happy cry that says “you are exactly where you need to be”. I drove through the mountains and into Salt Lake City with a smile on my face. When I arrived at my friends place, we picked up right where we left off. Which meant staying up until 2AM for 7 days straight to catch up on 8 years of drama and heartbreak.
I met the CPA firm the following day and fell in love. I could see the mountains from my desk, the people were respectful and kind and there were even pets in the office, albeit they were scaly or slimy, they were still there. Again, I had an overwhelming feeling of being exactly where I needed to be.
On July 26th, as two more planets were added to the three already in retrograde and the blood moon came upon us, my friend did a tarot card reading for me.
The past signified a grand journey, one that I needed to take to understand myself and escape a mental prison. It showed that I took steps to be on my path to enlightenment and was joyous, content and showed gratitude for that journey. Whoa.
The present told me to be aware that I second-guess myself, but to realize that I don’t need to right now, I need to trust my instincts. Historically, I would believe it wasn’t the right time or there was a reason not to move forward. Wow.
The future showed me to be kind and to keep those around me close, to build new and lasting relationships with those in my immediate circle. It invited me to deal with challenges in a kind and understanding way. I’m not crying.
I ended my working interview auditing a local beauty pageant, an eye-opening and interesting experience to mark off my never-have-I-evers. As I left my friend’s place, I was offered a temporary place to stay, a bed for the future and a friendship that I believe will withstand a lifetime of whatever the universe throws at us.
I was drawn to a free campsite in Southern Utah at Koosharem Reservoir. I set up my tent and looked out in awe at one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen from my bed. As I drifted off to sleep, I watched star after star pop up until the nearly-full moon drowned them out with its powerful glow. I awoke in the morning to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains and again, may or may not have shed a tear at it’s beauty.
The next day I hiked Lower Calf Creek Falls at Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and again, the overwhelming beauty left me literally jumping for joy, sharing kindness with every person I ran into and smiling the entire way.
As I approached the waterfall, and felt the cool mist on my face, I breathed a sigh of relief. I have once again found my happy place.
I may not always know where I am going, but I know when I am where I need to be.