I passed a marker the other day. Not a marker on a trail or a road, but a marker in my mind. I have more time behind me now than I have in front of me on this journey. It hit me hard, because I don’t want it to end.
I’ve never felt like this before, with my heart torn between two places. I’ve always said that Montana is paradise on earth, and Missoula is its capitol. I miss my family, my friends, my canine soulmate.
But I’ve fallen for New Zealand. For the people here, the mountains, the way of life. It’s gotten into my soul.
I am addicted to being surrounded by people who play outside like it’s part of their religion. People who think that it’s fun to mountain bike through loose rock and knee-deep rivers and hike straight up a mountain just to catch the sunset.
I’m addicted to days that consist of practicing yoga with strong women in the morning and talking heliski marketing with smart women in the afternoon. I’m addicted to relay fun runs that traverse mountains and culminate in dance parties and pub crawls back to town. I’m in love with hut culture and hiking through stunning landscapes with my backpack on my shoulders. I want to sleep in the back of my station wagon forever. I always want the option of the helicopter.
I’m hooked on meeting interesting new people every single day, people who are finding creative ways to feed their souls, who give the word live as a verb everything they’ve got and then some.
God help me, I’m even hooked on combat skinning through New Zealand tussock just to get the view of the Southern Alps at the top of the ski tour. I am in love with these ridgelines.
After you’ve gotten a taste of this, after you’ve lived your dream, when you’ve come to see the world differently—how do you go back to your old life? How do you translate what you’ve learned when you return to the place you came from? How do you keep your new life on the same path back on home soil? How do you even define “home” anymore?
My torn heart is searching for these answers.