Two weeks ago, I spent an entire week in the most spectacular city of Snowmass, Colorado.
I attended a workshop on collodion, taught by one of the most influential people in the photographic world, France Scully Osterman. It was really something else to be at a place like Anderson Ranch, around other artists who see the world sort of on the same wavelength as you. I absorbed every minute of it.
Being 2,300 miles away from everything I was familiar with was completely terrifying at first. Having to go on a plane for the first time in 13 years, and having to do so by myself was more nerve-wracking than I ever pictured it to be. Seriously, it was so awful (though the ride back wasn’t so bad). Then I started meeting people at the ranch. I went to explore the city and a few caves with my roommate and her friend who I had only met an hour earlier. I went to a concert and a fancy bar/restaurant with people I had met at lunch. Then on my last night, those same guys from lunch and I decided to go on a spontaneous hike to the top of one of the many mountains in Snowmass, then stayed up talking til almost 4 in the morning with other ranch scragglers we made friends with that night. I couldn’t believe myself. It started to seem crazy that I never even had a second-thought about going to a college that wasn’t a 25-minute drive away from my house. Why did I choose to stay in Little Ol’ New Hampshire when I could have been thrown out of my comfort zone and forced to actually talk to people and hang out with them if I wanted to live a normal, somewhat social life? I feel like I always have a fall-back plan here, and that was what I needed three years ago. Here I don’t need to meet new people or make new friends because I already have them. Years ago I couldn’t emotionally handle being anywhere that wasn’t familiar and all I wanted was consistency. At least that’s what I thought until two weeks ago. What I never realized is that I have been the consistency all along, but everyone else’s lives here have moved on. If two people get on bicycles and one person rides off and the other one doesn’t move, the distance between the two bikers only get bigger. If that one biker had started going at the same time the other biker did, the distance would have been the same the entire time. Right now I feel like the biker who got on the bike but never moved because I wanted consistency when all of my friends wanted change. Maybe that’s why I feel so distanced from everyone.
Now everything seems so much better in Colorado. I had no ties, no commitments, and no obligations. I was there to make art and make friends, and I did exactly that. Can I do that more often? I think my next stop is Australia.