Selling the Vespa for a guitar was a tough decision but at that point in my life I was easier to sway than Nepalese prayer flag on a hippies front porch. So away with motorized/2 wheeled travel and in with my budding musical career. I started putting in some really "hard" work and and eventually I was able to play approximately 2 songs marginally well.
As I realized that being a musician was going to take longer than a few weeks I started drifting to the mountains. The mountains have been in my blood for a very long time. All but one of my vacations as a kid were spent in the mountains. My father hates sitting still and the idea of beach vacations made him cringe. One time we went to my grandfather's condo on the beach in Florida. All I really remember from that trip was my mom wrecking the station wagon into a parking garage pole while were were headed to get donuts. Needless to say, that didn't help my dad love being in Florida. I must have inherited his feelings about beaches because as soon as I started thinking about college I focused all of my effort in the west and was accepted to CSU. I moved to Ft. Collins in the Fall of 1994 and never looked back.
After switching majors to Natural Resource Management I started spending all of my free time and a fair amount of class time in the hills climbing. I climbed every chance I had and eventually was able to lead 5.11 which for a fat kid is pretty good. Climbing completely consumed me. I think that the fact that it is a sport that doesn't allow you to think about anything else while you are doing it is what drew me. All of life's cares and worries go away while you are on the side of a cliff or mountain. Your life completely depends on being focused in the moment on what you are doing. This is the same thing I love about riding motorcycles and would become a theme throughout my life.
As my college career began to close I just wanted to be outside. Despite a great internship with the City of Ft. Collins that was promising to become a good job I asked for a semester with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) for my graduation present and then promptly planned another 2 month in S. America while I was there. I would be gone for a total of 5 months in countries that spoke a language I didn't understand. I one of those people who LOVE change more than any single thing and this was EXACTLY what I wanted. I even talked my girlfriend into spending approximately all of her money to come down and meet me for the final month of traveling after she graduated the following semester.
That trip ended up being one of the most important and amazing things to happen in my life. The craziest and most life changing things happened South of the equator and I can't wait to share it with you. I am going to stop now and devote the entire next post to that trip.
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