I was reading about how there are now anthologies of “How I Came to/Lived in/Left New York” essays (indicative of our generation?) when I thought about why I moved to Wyoming, and what writing about it would look like. One of my friends jokingly referred to Matt and me as “pioneers” before the big move. Another, as I skyped him from the new house, remarked on how much more interesting it was to hear about and, presumably, to actually be living in Wyoming compared to all the cities to which our other friends had sort of retreated – D.C., New York, Chicago, L.A. Obviously there are good reasons to pack up and head out to these cities, these beacons of the young adult pop zeitgeist – and also things like jobs, public transportation, awesome take-out, and other young adults.
Not so for Wyoming, though we are living in the most young-adult-ish part of Wyoming, I guess – a college town. I recently attended a poetry and short fiction reading in the second story of a little café/bookshop “downtown” (I use this term quite liberally, like an Applebee’s line cook with a salt shaker). Matt and I went to an Indian restaurant across from campus not too long ago, and it was pretty great, except for how this was the first time I’ve ever been able to specify that I wanted my food especially spicy.
Of course some of my being in Wyoming has to be because I fancy myself a certain type of person – the type of person who can just up and move somewhere where they have no family, the type of person who spends their weekends camping and skiing and rock climbing. The type of person who adopts a mutt from the shelter right after graduating from college. The type of person who has their hiking boots by the door and a daypack full of old, squashed Clif bars, a questionable water bottle, sunscreen, toilet paper, and extra layers ready to go.
But I’m also the type of person who can be made upset by something as simple as passing a really cute-looking coffee shop in a little town, and it’s morning in this hypothetical, and I haven’t had tea in a few days because we’ve been camping, and all I want is a damn good London fog and a flaky breakfast pastry, even if it tastes like it was injected with old lumpy jarred jam that’s still kind of cold.
I love climbing, and being outside in the sunshine and the quiet, and the long, long view, but I also love taking pictures of my dog’s adorable lopsided face as he sleeps on the ground at the base of a climb while I’m supposed to be getting ready to belay.
I love reeking of campfire and sitting in a big puffy jacket under the stars outside my tent cupping the last bit of cheap beer in between my cold hands, but I also loved sitting in the café of the art museum in Hamburg, drinking white wine and sipping curried soup at what must have been three in the afternoon while reading short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald in these gorgeous tan leather oxford flats that were definitely too expensive but looked awesome with my dark indigo skinny jeans.
I think it’s fair to say that Wyoming is somewhat closer to the campfire and not as much to the wine/soup/art/oxfords, closer to the climbing (literally) and further away from flaky breakfast pastries, though I’ve found a good place to get a pain au chocolat in town when I need one, which is more often than I’d like to admit (Mondays are hard!).
I’m in Wyoming for the same reason I went to Bosnia, Slovenia, and Croatia. I’m in Wyoming for the same reason I started climbing. I’m in it for the adventure!