Mother Nature smacked me in the face as I drove over the Galena summit and into the Sawtooth Valley. Snow-capped mountains replaced skyscrapers. Wide open spaces replaced sprawling suburbia. Meadows bursting with wildflowers replaced parking lots. Wildlife replaced people. That summer at the ranch changed me and the crew became my family.
Nightly bonfires, the absence of cellphone service, adventurous fellow millennials, and the hundreds of acres of trail and natural beauty had me showering less and living more. That rustic country experience further fueled the spirit of adventure that has me exploring the world and travel writing today.
My friends and I jokingly call our home here Neverland, an imaginary time warp that confuses the days and all inklings of time passing. It’s strange to me that this lifestyle which in so many ways contradicts most people’s perceptions of “real life” is the life that fills me up and overloads me with a burning desire to live and love and, most importantly, to never stop yearning.
I was 20 yrs old and hittin’ the road. Excited would be an understatement, though I won’t discount the nerves. The American journeyman, adventurer, and wanderer has usually followed some kind of internal compass which more often than not has pointed west. Growing up in Western Oregon, I had little option but to head east.