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There's a First Time for Everything

"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives." - Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator

By: Sabrina Weng + Save to a List

Do you ever find yourself coming up with reasons why you shouldn't do something? I used to. I hate to admit it but I used to be the queen of coming up with excuses. Most of my friends can tell you that I was a totally different person in the earlier half of last year. I look back now and see how much I've grown over this short amount of time. Stepping outside my comfort zone is actually part of my comfort zone now...weird, right?

That's a picture of me hiding behind a tree in Sequoia National Park, which is quite a ways from Seattle. Who was I there with? Me, myself, and I. Who took the picture? Lenny (my tripod). Towards the end of 2018, I decided that I wanted a change. That change was a big move from Washington to Colorado. I'm sure you can guess why I picked Colorado - it's like a beautiful playground for people who love the outdoors. Fresh powder for skiers and snowboarders, mountains everywhere you look, and 300 days of sunshine (still have yet to confirm this, though). I figured this was also a good opportunity to embark on my first ever solo road trip as well. There were so many places that I had been wanting to see so I decided to pack my life into my little Prius...and go.

I spent about 12 days exploring the coast and national parks of California. Big Sur, Kings Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, Redwoods - all places that I had never been to before but wanted to explore. It's kind of funny because I actually lived in California for a big chunk of my life and didn't know there were so many beautiful places beyond the beach. It felt both nostalgic and new at the same time.  

This was the first time I ever camped by myself. I decided to be a beach bum at a campground I found that was right next to the ocean. I started a fire (still super proud of myself for that), cooked noodles with my camping stove, explored the woods nearby, and then spent the rest of the night reading with a warm cup of tea and the sound of the waves rolling in. In the morning I woke up, watched the sunrise, walked about twenty steps to the beach, and felt the sand between my toes like a true romantic (totally not embarrassed to admit that). I would be lying if I told you I wasn't the tiniest bit scared though. I felt safer knowing that park rangers patrolled the area - and with my pepper spray + karambit clutched tightly in my hands. I haven't told my mom about solo-camping yet so please keep this on the hush hush. She'd probably have a heart attack if she found out (I'll tell her...eventually). 

This was my last stop before my final destination. I came across the White Sands National Monument on The Outbound and knew that I had to see this place in person. It was also my first time exploring New Mexico and let me tell you - it definitely didn't disappoint. The pristine white sand made me feel like I was in another world. It was like paradise in the middle of nowhere. I will say that it gets really cold there at night (like, extremely cold). I probably should have worn thicker layers to prevent the nasty cold I caught but you learn something new everyday, right?

This is Narnia - just kidding haha. This is actually somewhere in the Rocky Mountains but it feels like a magical winter wonderland to me. I finally made it to Colorado and without even crying once, too! Big kid status. Was moving the right choice? Will I be able to make friends? Will I even be able to survive? These were all questions that popped into my head during the road trip. Doubt, fear, concern - it's normal to experience these things as a human being. I expect things to be a little tough at first while I'm settling in - but I know things will work out in the end. Seattle will always be home and I have a feeling that I will end up moving back eventually, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't go out and explore what the world has to offer. How else am I supposed to grow if I don't step outside my comfort zone?

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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