Our Saturday mornings always begin at the coffee shop. After a four day road trip from the East Coast, hunting down this key spot was a top priority–we found Bonfire Coffee. This morning, as we’re sitting in the cafe lounge, Jon passes me a copy of the Aspen Times and points to a full color photo of a vividly bright rainbow draped behind the gondolas of Aspen/Snowmass. Insignificant as it may seem, this silly photo makes me realize that our life-changing move, made with such little thought, was the best thing we could have done.
When we were back home, right outside of Baltimore MD, it was easy to get caught up in the hustle of city. Jon’s job was in Baltimore, and I worked in a grey cubicle for a web services firm not far from DC. Neither of us had a window at work. Rush hour traffic was just a way a life. When you’ve spent 8 hours looking at nothing but walls, and are now strategizing routes to escape a nasty end-of-day commute in stand-still traffic, you don’t stop to marvel at the rainbows.
This all put a very bad taste in my mouth. I had been spoiled. I had lived the dream! I worked through college at a bike/ski/snowboard shop–it was where Jon and I had first met and connected over our shared passion for the outdoors–and it was Fun. Winter meant working with friends and buying shop-passes to ride the smaller mid-atlantic mountains all season. Summers were filled with early morning bike rides, race events, camping, and downhill trips–you couldn’t beat it! But eventually I graduated college, and we both began making incremental sacrifices for the nine-to-five career.
The fun was slipping through our fingers. Now Jon spent most of January-March at trade shows and was lucky to get in 2 days of riding. Sometimes I would take off work fifteen minutes early and drive an hour and half for a few slush runs down Liberty Mountain before making the trek back home. Weekends became precious, cherished, time to inject adrenaline-addled joy into our lives. My job became just a job. His job became just a job. We visited our old shop frequently and dreamed of our glory days.
Then it suddenly struck us that what we were doing made no sense. Why would we work so hard to do what we love only a few times a year? Isn’t that why people work so hard? for the freedom to do what they love? We had cultivated stable, salaried positions in an unstable economy. Was it naive to want more? Was it selfish to say what we had was not enough? The East Coast resounded “YES YOU FOOLS!”, but we said No. And we decided to move to Colorado. We cast a state-wide net of job applications, and six weeks later we landed in Basalt with a road-weary kitty-cat, four bikes, five snowboards, some clothes, and not a single piece of furniture.
Jon gets to work with kids, coaching a sport he’s loved and played for over twenty years. And I get to live the dream once more! Joining Bluetent has been like re-uniting with distant cousins. It takes time to really know everyone, to get adjusted and catch up, yet there is an u
ndercurrent that binds us all together. It’s tricky to put into words what exactly this is– an idea or philosophy, a certain quality of life or level of joy, a balance, a passion, a respect, an energy–perhaps all of these, and something else that can’t be labeled. It’s best understood and acknowledged through participation, so stop by for a lunch-time bike ride! Crack a beer on Friday! And experience innovation inspired daily by a wildly spectacular landscape!
In this place there are no grey walls to battle–they’ve been replaced with a mountain view. Here, it feels instinctual to share any good-ness that you find. This must be how a full color photo of a rainbow gets printed in the local paper. Every creative must embark to find their source of inspiration. For me, it has always come out of joy. And for that, we are certainly in the right place.