“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” -The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
As much as you can plan for things, the only thing you can really count on is that not everything will go as planned. Before I left to spend my summer working on a guest ranch in Wyoming all I was focused on was running. So the only things I was thinking about were hiking and running all day when I got to the mountains.
I fully expected that my life would be almost the same as when I left. Wake up and run, work all day, then repeat. In my case my work would be hiking all day. Living the dream as I thought. Even all summer long I thought it was crazy I was getting paid just to hike with guests of the ranch.
But there was one thing I never thought about before arriving there. The people I would meet.
I never thought that the first person I would meet, who had to come pick me up from where the driveway turned from pavement to dirt because of the conditions and my two wheel drive car wouldn’t make it the final few miles to the ranch, would be my best friend over the summer.
I never thought that there would be a girl, who I met during a first aid and CPR class who was my partner and we had to put each other’s fingers in our belly buttons to help find the sweet spot for the Heimlich maneuver, would be the girl I would completely fall for.
I never thought I would become so close to some guests that they would offer their place if I needed a place to stay only after knowing me for a week. Or that a guest would tell me that the morning’s sunrise hike was one of the beautiful she had seen. Or that I would hear a guest tell me that she couldn’t have done the all day hike without me and my encouragement and that she never thought she had it in her until after the fact.
The sad part about all of this was that I didn’t have the realization until about three-fourths of the summer was over. I was completely burned out from trying to bust my ass running. I was in bed early so I could wake up early and run. Sleep was my main focus when I wasn’t running, hiking or eating. Ultimately, I decided that a break was much needed from running and it was kind of getting in the way of enjoying my time there. And I realized that I was completely missing the point of being out there.
Everyone knows that I believe life should be lived passionately. No matter what your love is, completely dive in and immerse yourself in it. But something this summer has taught me is that it’s the people that are in your life that matter the most. It’s the shared experiences that make life wonderful and I think most of life’s greatest moments are when you are with someone.
I hope I get to keep in touch with all of my new friends and that our paths will cross again some day. I had one of the most amazing summers of my life this year. The people I worked with and the guests that I met made it unforgettable. And because of the people, nothing will ever compare to my experience working in Wyoming.
“Happiness only real when shared.” -Christopher McCandless