Fourteen days since I packed my rented Jeep Grand Cherokee full of my earthly possessions (and some new ones from Amazon), said my goodbyes to family, and set off east towards Denver. Naturally I decided to make the 18 hour drive in one go.

I would look a little worse 24 hours later

I fear I am approaching the conclusion of the age where I still have both the desire and the energy to pull something like this off without dying, so I’m taking full advantage of it. The highlight of the drive was undoubtedly zooming over the Rockies with the moonroof open, EDM blasting at full volume, and the stars twinkling out as the sun rose over the snow-capped mountains.

somewhere in the Rockies

The first day was hellish. Sleep-deprived and crazed from the drive, I met my landlord who gave me the keys and left me with a stack of legal documents to sign and return. The rest of the day was a blur of moving boxes, hopping around town to buy toilet plungers and soap, finding internet, and scarfing down food. And as if my day weren’t long enough, I also decided to make it out to a film festival happening at the local university that night.

Dakota Ridge Trail

Here we are, two weeks later. I feel less crazed. I have a couch. A desk that moves up and down with motors. The new Apple monitor in all its glory. I’ve assembled a bed frame and my kitchen is starting to shape up. Having my own space is frankly, incredible. There is a single door I can lock, which nobody but me and the landlord has a key to – who are subject to strict rules about when they can and can’t enter.

Solo living is new to me. In the five years since I moved out of my parents’ home, the longest I’ve spent alone was 2 weeks (the first time a New York hotel and then again in Mexico City). The rest of the time was with roommates, coworkers, friends, romantic partners, and hostel strangers. And for the most part, it was delightful! I think back fondly to the many wonderful morning coffee chats, afternoon walks, and group dinners.

assembling things can be a pretty calming activity

But there’s a also certain sense of calm and space I am discovering when I get to exist without having to be considerate of others in the same space. If I want to vibe to music and walk around in my underwear eating chips, I can do that. If I want to make burritos at 2 am, I can! If I want to curl up in the fetal position in the shower, I’m not holding anyone else up from making their meetings on time.

This isn’t purely about coordination and logistics. As wonderful as my friends are, seeing them first thing in the morning before I’ve had my coffee; before I’ve processed my dreams and entered into consciousness makes it harder to focus on inner work. Here I can go hours without having to say anything to anyone or needing to make myself presentable. I can just… exist.

yes it's beautiful and yes it's worth it

The spot is great. I can walk to grocery shopping / the gym / coffee / bars, and bike to anywhere in the city. More importantly, I can get to three different trailheads within 25 minutes on foot and be in a hammock at the top of a mountain in under two hours. I’m glad I trusted all the friends who said “Jon you seem like the type of person to enjoy Boulder”. Well, you were right.

I’ve also started meeting people! Almost two years of bumping into people in the oddest, most remote contexts has made it easier to fall into conversation with anyone, about anything. Either covid has made people a lot more chatty or I’m now the chatty one and people just reciprocate — either way, it’s fun and it never ceases to amaze me what a simple hello can turn into.

I love people's front yards here!

I’m excited and optimistic for this next chapter ahead. I have several projects warming up and I finally have the space to take care of plants. If you find yourself in Boulder, say hello! The couch is a convertible futon-bed and friends are always welcome to crash.