Announcing a bittersweet shift from snowy Colorado mountaintops to humid Floridian flatlands

If you haven’t figured it out by now, my life is a constantly evolving adventure. It’s taken me from the shores of the Atlantic to the rocky cliffs of the Pacific, from lazy living in Tallahassee to a spontaneous move out to Denver, and on more whimsical outings that I can remember.

And along my journeys,
there is always an element of constant change.

As with many of my announcements, this may not come as a shock to those who chat with me frequently, but may come as a surprise to many of my readers. It is with a heavy, bittersweet heart that I announce:

I’m leaving Colorado next week.

But I just got here. After a very short six months of living, exploring, and adventuring in and around Denver, Colorado, I am packing up my meager belongings and preparing to return to the southeast.

But I just got here! I roughed out the frigid winter months, braved my first snow season, and here I am, gearing up to ditch the Rockies right before the spring sets in. The gorgeous warm months in Colorado are part of the reason I moved out here, and now I’m leaving before it even begins. Sigh.As my lady friend Gina Bégin discovered during her own unexpected move, part of being a full-time adventurer is rolling with the punches – whether you feel particularly fond towards those punches or not. A combination of losing some freelance markets while LivingSocial ‘rethinks’ their business strategy, and coming upon a project in South Florida that I feel truly passionate about influenced my decision to pack up and head ‘home.’

These next few weeks will be an absolutely whirlwind for me. In two short days, eight of my climbing buddies from Tallahassee will be visiting for their spring break – which means a lot of climbing, and not a lot of time to prepare for moving. If I survive the week, Niko and I will be driving from Denver to Florida on March 9th. I’ll then spend a few weeks in Tallahassee preparing for the annual Save the South competition at Tally Rock Gym before finally trekking down to Miami to unload my carload of junk.

So what comes next?

After my frantic move across the country, I’ll be alternating between bouts of working in Miami and traveling around the southeast for climbing. I’ve already got an April ladies’ trip in the works; a week or so of camping and climbing in Tennessee and Georgia, followed by a ‘writer’s retreat’ in Chattanooga while shacking up at The Crash Pad. Other than that, I plan on spending the rest of the year training for climbing.

And naturally, a few cross-country road trips for conferences, outdoor expos, and generally adventuring are also on the agenda – but you’ll just have to stay tuned for those.

Send good travel vibes, I’m certainly going to need them!

It’s official: I’m moving to DENVER for fall, baby.

Let’s play a little game – You’re going to pretend that you didn’t see the answer capitalized above, and you’re going to guess where life has decided to take me based on five clues/photos.

So, at this stage of my life, I clearly need to high-tail it out of Florida. My tan lines can’t get any deeper, I’ve nearly had my fill of Cuban food, and the mountains are calling my name with earnest. The option to move to San Francisco was looking like the best plan for a while, and then something unexpected fell onto my plate. Shall we solve the no-brainer mystery?

I’ll be shipping off to a city where the springtime brings fat bundles of delicate blossoms sitting right in front of your door step. Even the weeds that cover kitchen windows glow with the glory of living in such fresh, elevated air. Except I’ll be living here during the fall, so it’ll look a lot more like this – and I’m certainly not complaining. Celebrating my 23rd birthday in an autumn wonderland? Yes, please.


When it’s rainy outside, this city still delivers climbing. I can head to a local playground for some sweet artificial bouldering in Central Park, or I can head to the indoor rock gym(s), Rock’n & Jam’n – yes, there are even two different locations to chose from. Of course, I’ll be toting a sizable supply of Tally Rock Gym rubber in my chalk bag to keep the mojo flowin’. Oh shoot, I need some new outdoor gear – no worries, I’ll just take a little drive down to the Boulder Sports Recycler to snag some discounted swag.


Better yet, when it is sunny outside in my new city, I’ll have a buffet of options for outdoor climbing. Within an hour’s reach, I’ll be able to travel to more crags than I could ever possibly conquer. The above photo was taken in Chautauqua Park, better known to climbers as the Flat Irons. Then, there are places like Boulder Canyon and Lincoln Lake – which my future housemate keeps torturing me with photos of, like this one (that she didn’t take) – but I am now determined to find myself a goat while I’m out there. The best part is that my darling housemate is a local whiz when it comes to the best climbing spots in the area, so I won’t be a fish out of water when I move up.

After all the climbing I’ll be doing, mama’s gonna work up an appetite – and my new city is bursting with edible options. Take the kalamata olive bread I scooped during my last visit in May. Do you see that beast? These folks don’t skimp on the olives, and that is something I can stand behind. Not in the mood for baked goods? That’s alright, I can just stuff my face with green chili and mash from Bull & Bush Brewery, or perhaps I’ll cool down with a scoop of homemade frozen flavors from Sweet Action Ice Cream. In the mornings, I’ll take a stroll down the street to Cafe Europa and sip on black tea while I do my daily writing tasks.


Excuse me while I get sentimental, but one of the greatest parts of my move will be the people I’ll be fraternizing with, like my dearest, most beloved McGoo – when he’s not too busy jet-setting all over the country. Skype is simply not enough to quell my need to hang with my Colorado boys, so it looks like I’ll just have to relocate and join in on the fun. There’s McGoo, and Rob, and my new housemate Sara, and it’s going to be a glorious experience to dive into a new social scene and experiment with all sorts of new people.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m moving to Denver! Thanks to a very conveniently-timed sublease opportunity, I’ve decided to pack my Scion up with the bare essentials, and I’ll be residing near Wash Park from September through December. I plan to head out a few weeks in advance, and spend my time meandering up to colorful Colorado during the last bits of summer. The entire fall season will be spent playing in leaves, sipping on espresso, writing religiously and taking thousands of photos that will clog my hard drive with autumn hues and Denver discoveries. Then, just in time for the real winter to set in, I’ll retreat back to Florida for a few months of hibernation before my next big adventure.

Can I express again just how incredibly excited/anxious/amazed I am? Life threw me quite a curve ball, but I think I’ve come back swinging. Not to mention the fact that it takes less than one beer for me to get lifted up in those Colorado mountains – it’s going to be a good season for this spud, and I expect everyone to visit.

Top 6 Reasons I’m Moving to Chattanooga

I didn’t come up with this plan on my own – in fact, I probably never would have realized how perfect Chattanooga is without outside influence. However, as soon as someone asserted that Chattanooga would be an ideal city for me to live in, everything clicked. How had I not seen it before? Everything about the Tennessee city is screaming my name. The local food scene, the amazing aquarium, the buzzing downtown area, the proximity to sweet climbing – it all makes sense. So here you have it, the Top 6 Reasons Why I’m Moving to Chattanooga:

1. Downtown Chattanooga

If you have never visited Chattanooga, you are truly missing out on one of America’s best ‘little’ big cities. The downtown district offers the best of both small local community and big city conveniences. Locally-owned boutiques sit beside apparel chains, yet the city achieves a seemingly perfect balance between the two different worlds. Strolling through downtown is easy and charming. One of my favorite shops is the mismatched book store on Broad Street, which is overloaded with a cluttered haven of books, knitted goodies and all sorts of trinkets. Local art adorns countless street corners, and some buildings have been entirely dedicated to artistic causes. The community here is humble, friendly and not the least pretentious.

2. The Food

By now, you should have a fully realized understanding of my passion for eating. I may be startlingly thin, but don’t let my skinny appearance fool you – I am a lean, mean eating machine. Chattanooga boasts some of the best grub in the southeast. First, there’s the Chattanooga Cupcakes shop that serves outrageous bakery creations. Then we have local grubberies like Lupi’s Pizza, comparable to Tallahassee’s hometown favorite Momo’s. If you’re looking for something more upscale, the Terminal Brewery serves the most fantastic – and beer-friendly – food in town. I ate there for my 22nd birthday dinner with Niko, and we still talk about our delicious meal of juicy burgers, sweet potato fries, freshly-brewed beer and tantalizing hummus. I can only imagine the culinary spread that awaits throughout the rest of Chattanooga.

3. Climbing Accessibility

One of the biggest drawbacks of living in Florida is the distance between my house and a decent crag. It’s at least a 5 hour drive to the nearest climbing area, which is a big bummer for days when I wake up craving some real rock. Living in Chattanooga would put me within day-trip distance to excellent spots like Little Rock City and Rocktown. Imagine, waking up on a Saturday morning to perfect weather, and being able to load up the car with gear and simply head out to climb in the boulder fields for a day. After a long day of crushing rock, it’ll be a short drive to the comfort of home. Chattanooga claims to have a pretty sweet indoor gym as well.

4. Chattanooga’s Beautiful Outdoors

I will defend Tallahassee’s modest attempt at autumn until I become blue in the face, but there is no denying that Chattanooga offers a vastly greater fall experience. The trees blaze with fiery shades of orange, red and yellow. Aside from the stunning fall foliage, the Tennessee area is home to a host of different natural wonders. You’ve got the Tennessee River, rolling mountainsides, roads winding through steep forests – it’s all right in Chattanooga’s backyard.

5. The Farmer’s Market

The tomatoes I bought at the Chattanooga Farmer’s Market during my birthday weekend were undoubtedly the best tomatoes I have ever tasted. The little cherry variety came in lush golds, deep purplish greens and bold reds. The market is bursting with fresh, local produce. Everything from string beans and sweet potatoes to warm loaves of bread and bison jerky can be purchased for an extremely reasonable price. I would love to have a reliable venue to stock up on quality food. I could seriously eat those tomatoes forever.

6. The Tennessee Aquarium

Words cannot describe my love for the Tennessee Aquarium. Personally, I think the word ‘aquarium’ is inappropriate for the facility; it’s more like an underwater and above-ground wonderland. Not only do they have enormous tanks filled with marine life, this establishment houses a beautiful butterfly garden and a sweeping collection of amphibians and reptiles. I could get lost in there for hours. I recently spoke of a little fantasy where I became the night staff of the aquarium, and hung out in the jellyfish exhibit with all the lights off except the changing colored glow from the jelly tanks.

My list of reasons could continue for quite some time. There’s the ridiculously affordable mountainside housing, the friendly community of green-minded people that inhabit the city, the beauty of the Tennessee River, etc. I may be nestled in Tallahassee for another year or so, writing for an online travel guide company, but the promise of Chattanooga will keep me forging onwards.