It seems like everyone in this gorgeous state has an interesting story behind how they ended up moving to Colorado. But our cross-country move was more of an epic love story than well-executed plan.
We fell in love with Colorado in May of 2011. It happened quickly and unexpectedly, and it changed our lives forever.
How it All Began
This love story started about a year before our big move. My then fiance (Buddy) and I realized we couldn’t afford the European honeymoon of our dreams. So, we decided on plan b – staying in the condo my aunt graciously offered to let us use in Ft. Collins, CO.
It wasn’t the epic vacation we had planned. But there would be mountains and it would be a great reprieve from the hell-heat of Florida in the summer. We didn’t have any idea what awaited us, but it didn’t take us long to realize what an awesome destination we had lucked out on!
Our Colorado Honeymoon
As we took the shuttle from DIA to Ft. Collins, I couldn’t help but squeal with excitement when I saw the mountains in the distance. Little did I know, they would be towering over me in all their terrific glory soon enough.
After, getting to our place of residence for our two-week Colorado adventure, we quickly decided to head straight to the mountains. The only problem was the rental car company was closing soon. And we were about a mile away. We were going to have to hustle!
Without a second thought, we bolted out the door to try to get there in time. However, it didn’t take long for me to feel the altitude difference while we ran up the road. Hello lack of oxygen!
I had read about people having trouble with the altitude in Colorado. But I had no idea how much my lack of exercising would come back to haunt me. But it was well worth the effort. We got the car in time and were on our first Colorado adventure!
Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park
As we drove through winding mountain roads on our way to RMNP, we “ooed” and “ahhd” at everything. Every new turn was some exciting view or even the occasional moose! Well, not really. Eventually we learned the difference between elk, mule deer and moose. Usually we were just seeing mule deer – silly Floridians.
When we reached the mountains it was dark. But we could still see their vast beauty in the moonlight. And, to our surprise, we found some snow! It was just a little patch left over in the parking lot. But as lifetime Floridians we were psyched! As we played in the snow in the headlights of the car, we fell a little bit more in love with each other and head-over-heels for Colorado. But that was only the beginning.
The next day we returned in the daylight and drove through the mountains, stopping every couple of minutes for pictures. It soon started to snizzle on us (my word for snow drizzle, please alert me if a better one exists).
We felt like we had entered our own version of Narnia – it was pure magic. As we made our way up to Bear Lake, a generous gain in elevation from the park entrance, we started to see piles of snow on the sides of the road. We soon realized we were going to need to rent some boots.
Our First Snowventure!
We went back to Estes Park and got hooked up with all the gear we needed, including these crazy things called snowshoes I had never seen in person. Then we headed back up to snow-covered Bear Lake where we explored, laughed and built our very first snowman!
After only the first couple of days on our vacation we were hooked. We knew we had to move, and we still had so many more days of fun ahead of us – including exploring Downtown Denver, the Botanic Gardens, Pikes Peak, the Royal Gorge and even Whitewater Rafting!
Our Big, Crazy Decision
On the flight home we decided that no matter what it took we would move. We had found the place our souls belong in this world, a place where we feel free and excited to be alive. We were in love. And when you know you know.
As soon as we got back to Florida we started planning our grand escape back to the place we truly belonged – Colorado! I had to finish my last year of college and the hubs was working on getting transferred with work. But it seemed promising.
However, it ended up being more difficult than expected. After over a year of asking monthly, Buddy’s job was still putting off letting him transfer. That’s when we made a crazy decision.
In the grocery store while picking out cheese, we decided we were going regardless. Yea. We have big balls, we know. Luckily, after giving his job the “let me transfer or I quit” ultimatum, they finally got the transfer through just in time for our leave date.
Hitting the Road
Just a few months after the big decision, we said our goodbyes and played packing Tetris for hours to fit everything in my Jetta. Then we headed out to Colorado with an angry cat in the backseat, 20 PB&J sandwiches, 10 energy drinks and 2 hearts filled with excitement. We weren’t even nervous, I swear. We were SO excited to start our new life together. And we knew we could overcome anything.
After 30 hours of driving, ZERO hours of the cat eating or drinking (ACK!) and getting pulled over trying to speed through the land-of-nothing that is Kansas (and getting out of the ticket), we finally saw that beautiful “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign!
Loving Our New Life as Coloradans
We were so relieved to finally be reunited with the amazing, exciting state of Colorado. We were home, we were free. And we had every adventure possible ahead of us.
Love should make you excited to be alive. It should challenge you and surprise you. Love should make you a better person and fill your soul with joy.
Moving to Colorado was choosing love. It was choosing to love ourselves enough to do what was best for our spirits and marriage. And loving our friends and family enough to know the miles would never change our feelings for them.
It has challenged us to be brave, to seek adventure, make the most of every day and surround ourselves with awesome like-minded people.
I thank God for paving our path to Colorado every.single.day. I see those beautiful mountains and I smile a gracious smile, knowing they are mine… and there is still so much of them to explore.