The great Wild West and gun slingin’, horse ridin’, tobacco spittin’ cowboys.
Ask anyone outside the good ol’ stars and stripes what they think of the Western US, and they’ll surely paint you a picture with their knowledge of the great Wild West and gun slingin’, horse ridin’, tobacco spittin’ cowboys. Ask anyone within the US and well, you’re never really sure what you’ll get.
The idea of moving west appealed to me while deciding where to move upon my return to the states after a gap year in Europe. Maybe I was missing something quintessentially American, maybe I was nostalgically reflecting back to the summers spent camping in the west with my family growing up, or maybe it was the spirit of discovering the unknown that is still thriving here that drew me in. The more I researched the never-ending list of places to re-locate to in the States, I found that Colorado seemed to be a pilgrimage for some of my favorite people from every walk of life, so Denver was the natural choice.
Move to Denver and you’re sure to find two things immediately: someone who is already newer to the city than you, and the ever present question: “What brought you here?” For some, it’s the proximity to the mountains and the winter sporting they boast, for others it’s the sense of adventure, and still for others it’s an escape from the exhausting hustle and bustle of your standard American city while still keeping its cultured and metropolitan vibe. Whatever way you cut it, there’s always something that brings us here besides your usual long-distance boyfriend/girlfriend and/or .
No matter the driving force, behind most there is the element of adventure which has trickled down from the days of the cowboy saloons and the gold rush. The dream of the past is still alive. Today’s “immigrants” pushing the new frontier have morphed into a twenty-something craft-brew loving outdoorsy concert goer in search of a new life, to pursue their interests, and to find themselves. We’re all young a vibrant and looking for something you can’t find just anywhere else.
As I reflect on the last year of my life that I have spent in this ole “cow town” and the reasons why I am choosing to stay, the very first that come to mind are the people and the place. The mountains have a sort of magnetism that draws young people in from all over the US and, once they’re here, pulls them back out and into the wilderness. These adventurists and travelers and spiritual seekers have found inspiration and a home within these fault lines. More and more we are realizing the importance of connecting with our natural surroundings and the role the elements can have in our development and mental and spiritual health. It’s inspiring and captivating and, at times, even overwhelming in the best possible of ways.
What results is our own breed of “nearly natives;” those who have moved here and embraced Colorado and everything it has to offer, yet still pining for the day that we can recognize each pass and peak as if it were our own from the start. Because of that, the communities built here are strong. Our friends become our families since the ones given to us are distant. The warmth and openness of this new generation is astounding and something you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. For every new transplant, we have been there before; friendless, jobless, and maybe even homeless, freshly arrived in Colorado to just “try it out” for a couple of months. But then, you might never want to leave.
Article written by MEREDITH TODD.