Technically, I only visited Aspen for lunch.
My family lives half a hour from there in a valley bordered by majestic mountains, with a freezing creek running beside the house and a pristine lake just a stones throw away (if you have a good arm). The cold snap hasn’t quite hit yet, but there was frost on the ground of a morning and snow in the ranges towering around us.
It is stunning.

When I originally booked this trip, I hadn’t planned on jumping from Canada to Colorado. But with my uncle, aunt and cousins living on a different continent, I don’t get to see them much – and so I seize every opportunity I can get.
I had planned on stretching out the travel from Toronto to Vancouver, with a little more breathing space between unpacking and repacking my backpack each time I hit the road again. However, family is one of my highest values. Time and money spent on/for/with loved ones is never something I regret.

So I changed it up three days before flying across the Pacific, to make sure they’d play a part in this chapter.
And that they did.

You may have picked up in the previous entries that I have been feeling a bit ‘off’ recently…
It’s like I’ve been in a bubble of sorts. I felt almost disconnected, and definitely more introspective than usual.
I suspect it’s one of those natural cycles we all go through in life – but maybe, because I’m out of the usual grind, I noticed it more.
In the past I’ve slipped into a funk so gently I didn’t even recognise it until I was there. This time was a little different. I’m moving from place to place, exploring cities, on a big grand adventure – and yet I’m finding it hard to stay in the moment, and live with that abandoned joy I spoke of just weeks ago. It’s out of character, and caught my attention.

My time here could not have come at a better point.

These guys challenge me.
They think outside the box.
They push convention aside and find their own way, form their own opinions and see the world differently from most.
I don’t quite know how to put it into words, but jumping into their world sent a jump start through mine. Kind of.

I had a realisation that I’ve been living from a fear based mindset.
Not a nice thing to admit to oneself, but better face it and deal with it than pretend it’s not so.

I want to learn, to grow my mind and expand my thinking.
But I’m afraid.
Full of doubts that have crept in unwelcome, unannounced, and begun to take root without my awareness:

Am I enough?
Not for others, or for the world, but for myself?
And if not, what do I have to work on to become so?
How do I start?
Where do I begin?
Is it too late?
How do I get from here to there?
What does ‘there’ actually mean?

In a stunning valley half an hour from Aspen, my inner compass was adjusted back to true north.

   I am enough.
I have something to give the world.
It doesn’t matter ‘where’ to start – just do.
I can read books. Listen to podcasts. Surround myself with people that will push me and propel me into that growth. Look for where I can be a blessing.
It’s never too late, so long as I take the first step.
And then continue on, forwards and upwards.

Just in time.
Next stop: home.

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