Just Say Yes to New Adventures, it's Worth it


Will McKay

Sometimes picking up everything and moving is terrifying, complex, impulsive, and totally worth it.

Sitting here on my laptop staring out at the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado is surreal to say the least. In no way would I have pictured myself here about two years ago. However I made the decision to jump the midwest ship and sail into the mountain ranges of the west. 

To start off, my name is Will McKay and I'm an adventure photographer and student based out of Boulder, Colorado. Currently I'm studying environmental science and journalism at The University of Colorado Boulder and I'm loving it.

Now lets bring it back about two years. At this point in time, I'm a senior in high-school in Davenport, Iowa. Great place for raising kids and retiring, however not the best place (in my opinion) to live out a thrilling life full of skiing, climbing, backpacking, and pursing adventure photography. And the reason for that is that it's about as flat as Nebraska and that's no exaggeration. Seriously, it's like a wood table with spilled salt, except the wood is Iowa and the salt specs are the (few) hills. Asides from geographical struggles of my home state, I was stuck. I knew I wanted to leave but it's difficult leaving your best friends and family that have surrounded you for your entire life. They've been there for the good, the bad, and ugly. Leaving them all behind for something entirely new and foreign can make you feel like you'll puke your guts out, just as you would on an excessively fun Friday night. 

This new and foreign thing was Colorado. Yeah, I'd visited for skiing and hiking but I didn't really know anybody asides from two cousins I saw maybe once a year. So one could say I was equally excited to the point of screaming and terrified to the point of retreating to a dark closet to hide when I received an acceptance letter from The University of Colorado Boulder.

For me, this was an opportunity to leave, find myself, and grow as a photographer. I know most never get the chance to do the same, thus I was extremely lucky and felt the need to make the most of this sole chance. 

So I packed up and left at the end of the summer. Aside from the goodbyes and tears streaming from family members and friends, it wasn't as bad as I thought. Instead of feeling sad and homesick, I was the definition of hyped. This was a new beginning. A beginning that would lead into unknown territory. And I loved that.

I feel that when I hear people talk about leaving their hometown for something bigger, better, and new, the "but" always trails behind. Somehow there is always a reason not to leave, and I feel as if that is a valid yet troublesome issue. There are always opportunities to try something new, whether that be moving cities, states, jobs, or passions. The issue, I find, is that people have trouble with change. And that's totally understandable. Who doesn't love being comfortable and secure? It's in our human nature to be attracted to the idea of comfort.

However sometimes it's better to step out of that comfort zone and just say yes. Just say yes to life. It may work out well and it may go to complete shit, but at least you gave the effort of following your dreams or passions instead of letting life roll by. So break out of that comfort zone and just say yes, it's worth it.

By breaking out of mine, I've found friends that I can call family, a girlfriend that is beyond stellar, and a life that I'm truly proud to live. Not to mention the killer 300 days of sunshine in Colorado...

Published: August 23, 2016

Will McKayStoryteller

Environmentalist and Photographer. @wills_stills

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.

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