On shortcuts and adventure and deciding with your gut

10 years ago today, I woke up somewhere outside of Moab, Utah. I’d made a navigational error the day before (a “shortcut,” I’d thought), and after a harrowing hour-long fishtailing traverse over a gravel mountain pass in Southwestern Colorado, I drove as far as I could before my eyelids began to fail me. I unloaded my dog and my Geo Tracker at the first empty bed I could find (using a phone book!), which was in a run-down RV park/cabin complex on the north side of town. I was terrified and regretting my decision to move. So was the dog, who peed all over the cabin in an act of defiance.

When I awoke I was surrounded by an incredible beauty of red bluffs and cliffs and mesas. And I thought, “Maybe this will all work out after all.”

The next day I would arrive in Portland. I had no job and no plan. I moved here for a relationship destined to fail. I was 23 and absolutely clueless.

This is how I’ve lived my life. Random decision after the next, turning around only when it doesn’t feel right anymore. Following dotted lines on maps because they look like shortcuts (note: these routes may be more direct but they are not paved). But somehow, Portland never didn’t feel right anymore.

And then, three years ago today, I woke up and married this guy. Of all the questionable decisions I’ve made in my life, the one to keep on driving that morning was likely the one that ended up, eventually, making me the happiest of all.

Photo credit: Bryan Rupp, www.bryanruppphotography.com

Photo credit: Bryan Rupp, www.bryanruppphotography.com