I'm glad I was here ~ Colorado and this big ol' world we call home

We spent the first three days of our road trip driving, arriving in Colorado Springs just after midnight on the third day. When we have miles to make we don't mess around. You can read how we get from point A to B in these long road trips in this post I shared on Instagram. (We are "get in the car and drive" kind of folk.)

Colorado is our first trip destination, spending six nights in Colorado Springs, followed by two nights in Durango.

We stayed in Colorado Springs because this is where our friend Matt lives. We met Matt on the Appalachian Trail, he was more than a trail acquaintance he was trail family for the last three months of our hike. Matt works with YWAM, and it was our partnership with YWAM (and Matt's personal and direct support) that helped us finish the trail.

During my injury, it was Matt who drove me around in the YWAM vehicle to keep pace with my family. It was Matt who helped me find places to pitch my tent for the night and his steady and kind presence was a security and balm during my separation from my family. Damien and the kids hiked with the YWAM team et al. for the last part of the trail and it was these friendships and companionship that kept them all going. We couldn't have finished the trail without their friendship and support. Our family went through an experience with Matt that we have shared with few other people.

It's been three years since we've seen Matt.

YWAM has a campus in Colorado Springs, this is where Matt lives. The base is an old hotel that's been converted into a living quarters for YWAM staff and a training school for students. Matt hosted us for our time in Colorado Springs in his bachelor apartment on the YWAM campus. (He slept in a friend's space so we could use his apartment. So generous.) It was tight quarters even with the girls sleeping in a different room, hosted by another YWAM staffer.

But we were grateful for the place to stay, a place to land for a week to explore Colorado as part of our western road trip. And it was so wonderful to see our dear friend again, someone who was a big part of our lives during a very crucial time.

I didn't know what to expect in Colorado. This is our first time here. This part of Colorado and Colorado Springs has a lot of beautiful places to explore and we did that as much as possible.

We spent time at Garden of the Gods nearly every day. We took evening hikes at Palmer Park and Red Rock Canyon Open Space. We ate breakfast burritos at Taco Express. We explored Manitou Springs and spent a day in Boulder. The kids went to the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum and spent a day rock climbing with Matt.

And we worked. Damien did what he does, computer programming and web development for clients. I got groceries and cooked meals in the staff kitchen at the campus (Matt's hotel room converted to a bachelor suite doesn't have a kitchen). And we dealt with our house in Maine.

We have a house in Maine. It's the home we lived in and when we left Maine to move back to Canada we were not able to sell it, because of the downturn in the market, and so we kept it and have rented it out for these last six years. Sometimes it's fairly smooth sailing being absentee landlords, and sometimes it's not. This, our first time visit to Colorado, was one of those times when it's not easy, when it's a lot of hard work. A lot of phone calls, email, uncertainty, and important financial decisions. We're in the transition between property managers, there's maintenance work that needs to be done, and we had an urgent emergency situation this week also. It was a stressful week.

Damien and I tag-teamed our responsibilities to make sure the kids had a Colorado experience, and that the days weren't just spent hanging around the YWAM campus doing "work". Between the two of us, a fair chunk of our time in Colorado Springs was spent dealing with our responsibilities as income earners and home owners, "adulting" as it's referred to these days. There were project deadlines for clients, failed hot water tanks, crossed lines of communication, research and files to read.

This is part of the deal. Part of the deal of making travel and adventure possible.

I shared a post on instagram this week, a photo of the desk where I was parked for two days these week, working. In that post I wrote,

We have squeezed in all the Colorado goodness we can, this morning the kids are rock climbing with our friend who has been hosting us. We've taken early morning walks and evening hikes, we spent yesterday in Boulder. But there's been grocery shopping and laundry and client deadlines and house emergencies. ...I'm still grateful to be here, to have seen this place and squeezed all the goodness I could in the few days we had.

I'm still grateful to be here, to have seen this place and squeezed all the goodness I could in the few days we had.

This is a philosophy for living, so I wrote it on a quote card. Normally, I keep a stack of these little blank index cards at my desk. On the road, I keep them in a special pocket of my backpack.

I write quotes, mantras, truths-to-remember, and ideas to ponder on these cards and use them as bookmarks, pin them to my inspiration board, and magnet them to the fridge.

This card is a reminder for me of the gift of life.

I am so grateful to be here, to see this place (the world we call home), to squeeze all the goodness I can into the few precious years I've been given.

Onward to Durango

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  • Laura Stiller

    Laura Stiller on July 11, 2017, 2:51 a.m.

    My family (four kids ages six and under and a husband) is on a five week road trip around the eastern United States. I'm writing your new mantra on a card for myself because while my friends all think I'm on a massive vacation, it very much just feels like life in a new place. Kids still want to eat three meals a day, they still whine, the toddler still poops his pants and the baby still needs a place to nap. And yet I'm so very grateful that in between all the very normal, mundane tasks of my day I'm getting to hike a mountain or see a beach or explore a new city. Thank you always for blogging and sharing! And next we are determined to make it to Montreal to house sit! Y'all should just swap with us and head to Texas (although there's not too much outdoor life in Dallas).


  • Amy W.

    Amy W. on Aug. 1, 2017, 11:23 a.m.

    Oh, I wish I had known your itinerary! I have been following your blog and your family adventures for years, you have inspired me so much. If you come to Colorado Springs again, we would love to host you in our town in the mountains just west of the Springs. We went on an adventure of our own this summer and without knowing your mantra from this part of your trip, I came to a very similar place of enjoying and soaking up where I was and who I was with. Thank you, Renee, for your years of inspiration and guidance and hope.


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