Photo: Will Wissman
With nearly 10,000 miles driven so far this winter and one flight to the other side of the world, the interpersonal complications of travel seem to be setting in.
On one hand, this is the freest time of my life, that I am lucky to have and completely grateful for. I have no commitments, no weight, no plans (although loads of baggage). My only master is Mother Nature and I am free to make moves completely at the whim of the NOAA forecast. Because of this unrestricted lifestyle, I get the goods as much as possible. I have skied most of the epic days of the season in Utah, I got face shots galore in Japan, I have rushed to Jackson at the mention of precipitation, I have hauled ass to Canada for heli time, I slashed blower pow in Aspen and I even drove all night to catch the one storm of the season in Tahoe, just to drive all night back to Utah 3 days later to ski what may be the best day I have ever had.
For all intensive purposes, I am winning. Killing it really. Healthy, carefree and storm chasing. This is what it is all about right? Dream catching to say the least…
Then there is the other side, the lonely side of travel. Before a short but sweet 3 days at home, I hadn’t been home in 2 months and a week. I had scarce slept in the same bed for more than 2 nights and I had begun a morning routine of spending about 30 seconds trying to figure out where the hell I was. Comfortable as it may be to essentially live out of your Subaru, as dirty rumpled bits of my life fall out of my car on to some random slushy street, I begin to feel homeless. A lonely wanderer only passing though… I miss my bed, my friends, my cat, my community. I miss routine and the familiar comfort of home. As much as I travel, and as much as I stay in certain places, I do begin to feel at home away from home. Then there is the stinging realization that I will have to soon leave these communities as well, and when I am home, I will miss the people from the road.
I would never consider myself a homebody and it surprises me wildly that the wear of travel has begun to surface. Nor would I have it any other way. I know come late spring, after about 2 weeks at home, I will get antsy and begin to crave and plan the next adventure. In light of this juxtaposition, I am finding a new appreciation and desire for balance.
The road is wonderful. It is heart warming to think of the pockets of friendly faces that scatter the west. The times I share some of the best days of my life with complete strangers reminds me of the power of the love of our sport and the way this world can bring people together.
For all those who have let me stay at their place, listened to my cat jokes on the chair or chivalrously broken the trail in front of me, thank you. All of you have make me feel welcome no matter where in this crazy world I am. To everyone at home, I miss you so dearly and I think everyday how lucky I am to have the most amazing place and people to go home to. The value of community has never been more clear to me and I am learning to build that into my life no matter where the road takes me. The cliché you need roots to have wings fits this scenario perfectly.
For me, balance is key. Appreciating the gifts of adventure and of home equally, enjoying each as much as possible when they are in front of me. The voyage does not stop here for me. There are still many miles to be driven, many snowflakes to fall and many more great days to be had. And while I look forward to the rest of winter with brilliant anticipation, I also look forward to spring time and the nice relaxing settle down of coming home.