Finding Home November 03 2016, 0 Comments

You know you've found a home meant for you when you can't wait to get back to it.

That's exactly how I feel about Durango, Colorado. It's tucked away in the Southwest corner in the San Juan Mountains and far away from the highly populated areas in the front range of the state. Just how I like it.

Every time I leave, even if it's to an amazing place, I am excited to return to its coziness and breathtaking landscape.

How I decided to move to Durango is complete happenstance. I had been living in Buffalo, Wyoming for about 15 months. It's a pretty tiny town, especially for me coming from Atlanta, Georgia. My seasonal Summer job was about to end and I had to figure what my next plan was. If I were to stay, I would probably end up working at Pizza Hut or Subway to make ends meet. Jobs were super scare there and I knew that I didn't love the town enough to work that type of job there just to make it by.

So one day, I posted in the Dirtbag Runner's Facebook group. It said something like "looking to move to a mountain town with tons of trails. Any Suggestions?"

I got a decent amount of responses but a lot of them weren't interesting me. Phoenix, Fort Collins, Boulder, etc. Only one stood out though. Someone recommended Durango. I hadn't heard of it before, so I did a Google image search and that was enough to solidify my decision on where to move.

When I was in college, my family took a trip to Western Montana. We stayed with family in Missoula and that was my first taste of what a mountain town in the west was like. Growing up in Georgia, our yearly vacations were pretty much all to some beach in a neighboring state. My only mountain experiences were in the North Georgia mountains. Compared to the Rockies, those are just hills covered in trees. So when we went to Montana, my whole world felt like it infinitely expanded and I was completely infatuated.

It also didn't help that soon after that trip I got into reading all of Jack Kerouac's books. I couldn't stop thinking about a big trip out west every year after college. It seemed like around Springtime ever year, I got this mad itch to take off into the sunset.

More and more I was becoming disconnected from Atlanta. Traffic, people, high rises, all of which created a longing to get away. Eventually my yearly trips, weren't enough to satisfy me. I had to get out. I had to live out there. Somewhere "out there." It really didn't matter where, just as long as I had mountains in my eyesight every day.

That's what took me to Wyoming. I found a job as a hiking guide at a guest ranch for a Summer. Once that job ended, I decided to just stay there. I worked as a housekeeper at a motel, then as a reporter for a newspaper, then as a camp leader at the YMCA.
As a trail runner, Buffalo offered one single track trail in town. That, combined with other reason, is why I had to find a new place to live. To feel satisfied and fulfilled. I needed something new and I needed a place that more suited for me. It was pretty easy watching Buffalo fade in my rear view mirror. 

The more I think about the time progression of my post college life, I think Durango found me instead of me finding Durango. I took a huge leap of faith coming here. But I think you have to do that at least a few times in life. Sometimes it won't all work out. Kind of like me moving to Wyoming. But eventually things will work out perfectly for you in a way you never could have imagined.  

This place continues to amaze me. I still feel like a kid in the candy store and even if I've been on the same trail before, I'm glowing with joy from the sweeping views and mountains that surround the city. 

I just passed my one year anniversary that I just showed up in town with my possessions crammed into my car, along with my cat. And I couldn't be any happier now. After hearing my story, a lot people ask me if I plan on staying here or find another place to shortly live in. It's an easy answer for me...

I'll be here for a while.

Guest blogger,
Joey Schrichte
Follow on Instagram @ JoeySchrichte