Reflections on a month in Grand Lake, Colorado

Shadow Mountain Lake – Grand Lake, Colorado – May 2022

Shadow Mountain Lake – Grand Lake, Colorado – May 2022

It’s been two weeks since I returned to Minnesota after spending a month in Colorado. And I have a confession: it was a trial month for my big “year of traveling around the country.” I already had things scheduled in Minnesota during June and July. This trial month was a huge success, and I know I’ll be continuing my cross-country adventures soon.

Part of me still can’t believe I sold my house, became a digital nomad, and lived in Colorado for the month of May.

When I found the place I ended up staying at on Airbnb, it seemed too good to be true. An entire month in the quaint town of Grand Lake during the quiet off-season 7 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park for less than my housing expenses were in Minnesota?! Yes, please!

The two-day journey to Colorado was fun—even if I almost ran out of gas and got stuck in a May blizzard. After settling in at my Airbnb, I finally had time to unwind. And believe it or not (I’m sure you can believe it), after just 48 hours I knew I could easily spend the rest of my life in the Colorado mountains. Heck, after two weeks I almost bought a place of my own!

A month of learning

Welcome to historic Grand Lake

Adjusting to being a stranger in an entirely new area for an extended time was a lot easier than I anticipated. It helped that I was very deliberate about what I packed and how I packed it. Once I do this a few more times, I’ll write a post about packing. I definitely overpacked for my May trip—but I’m glad I had so many layers since the weather fluctuated from snowstorms to 70-degree days! And I already have a random list of additional items for next time, including chip clips and dish towels.

I learned that I don’t need a lot of things to be content. Give me a comfortable bed, wireless internet, Netflix, and unlimited opportunities for places to explore, and I’m set!

I cooked nearly all my meals at my place—in fact, I only ate out two times during the entire month.

Even though I’m an introvert, I was able to effortlessly talk to strangers I met—local shopkeepers, neighbors, or people I met at trailheads. Probably had something to do with the facts that I knew I wouldn’t see these people again and I could always retreat back to my quiet place.

By the end of my stay, I was able to drive everywhere I needed to go—grocery store, gas station, and favorite scenic overlooks—without even thinking about directions. I could wake up in the middle of the night without lights on or fear of running into something.

The biggest thing I learned is that I love this new adventure I’m on. I had a feeling I would, but of course, there’s always a part of you that is anxious, pessimistic, and scared. I learned I’m not ready to settle. Next time I want to move somewhere after only being there a couple of days—and I know it will happen!—I’ll quickly remind myself this is a long-term journey.

So, what’s next?

I’m back in Minnesota for all of June and most of July. My newest nephew was born last week, and I got to meet and cuddle with him yesterday. 🥰 I’ll be in Duluth this weekend to cheer on a couple of friends who are running the Grandma’s Marathon. Then we’ll head to a cabin for a week.

In July I’ll be road tripping with my aunt back to Colorado for a week to visit my cousins. I’m excited to see my first show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Duluth’s own Trampled by Turtles.

My next month-long Airbnb rental starts on August 1, and I hope to stay on the road until November when I’ll come back to Minnesota for a bit. I’m close to finalizing the bookings. Pacific Northwest, here I come!

Until then, I hope to have some adventures close to home. Even though I’ve spent my entire life in Saint Paul, there are lots of places around my hometown and home state I’ve never been to. My mindset since the start of this adventure has been to embrace the unknown. I’m enjoying seeing places new and old with a fresh perspective and through the lens of an adventurer, and I’m excited for what’s next… even if I don’t always know what is next.

Thanks for joining me on this journey so far. Here’s to more adventures!

San Antonio River Walk
Fiume Pizzeria and Wine Bar
San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio River Walk
Arneson River Theater
Arneson River Theater