When I was 19, little, shy, extremely terrified me set off on an adventure to study abroad in Boulder, Colorado. And it wasn’t what I expected.
And by that, I mean it was so much worse.
I feel really bad saying that, because it was no one’s fault. I was too shy, I had numbing anxiety and depression, I realised I was really bad at making friends. I only spoke to a couple of new people really, I didn’t get on with my flatmates, and I went some days without speaking to anyone at all. I cried practically almost everyday and in general just had the worst time of my life.
But in my mind, I find it so easy to separate those feelings from the other feelings. The peace at wandering up Pearl Street. The sense of being so small and inconsequential where hiking at Chautauqua at the foothills of the Flatirons, but in a good way. I fell in love with Boulder in a way I’ve never fallen in love with any other place I’ve ever been or lived.
I came out of the year more independent, resilient, and aware of how capable I am to persevere and push through when things get hard compared to when I went in. I would change so many things about that year in a heartbeat. But not the setting.
Boulder is a magical place. It takes up the majority of my heart, and recently, I’ve been doing stupid things like looking at photos, and searching for Boulder related artwork for my room, and seeing how much flights are. I don’t have the opportunity to go back anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it.
That year shaped me so much, and sometimes it physically hurts my heart that I don’t have plans to go back. I need to feel so immersed in beauty and nature and adventure that all my other troubles disappear. It’s amazing how a place can make you feel like you are destined for something else, how it can clear your mind and lift weights off your shoulders, and I feel so incredibly lucky to find a place my heart calls home.