The following is an unedited, stream-of-consciousness personal journal used to experiment with different subjects outside of assignments and to practice free-writing. It shouldn't (at all) be viewed as a portfolio of polished work.

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Last Chair


Today is the last one in my house. It also means I am closing in on what might possibly be my last few days in Utah. As I write this, the snow is finally falling outside my window- reminding me that any other day I would be up enjoying almost a foot of new snow. But not today. Today I am packing.

I've been trying to avoid leaving the state I love for about a month and a half now, but things seem to be working against me in that direction. It's not that I'm scared of change, nor that I mind moving... it's just... it's ski season. And it's not even that. It's Utah.

I love my state. Everything I want is here- mostly. I miss some people back east, family included, but here I have rock & ice climbing, skiing, mountain biking (this winter we can do all in one day), whitewater kayaking and friendly faces who give you a grin in passing on the trail. People here understand, no explanation needed, why you're out getting dirty, dusty or covered in snow. People here understand why you throw yourself into the elements. People here get why your face only has half a tan and your hair is disheveled- no crazy looks attached.

For the first time ever, I'm scared of change. I'm scared of the east coast- where I will likely be moving this week (yeah, I'm still clinging to Utah as much as I can). I don't know what to expect except what I've already experienced... people the opposite of what I've had here in Utah. I shouldn't generalize, but my whole family is from the eastern seaboard, stretching from Quebec to Florida, and all points in between. While they may admire some of the things I do, they don't agree with the outdoor lifestyle. "Two weeks of paid vacation is plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors!"

Just rip my heart out, why don't you?

It wasn't my choice to leave. In fact, part of it was forced. The other part was fate, though I fought it tooth and nail. I look around at the boxes piled up and the newspaper covering framed photos of my life and wonder if this is all part of some greater purpose. All I know for sure is today is promising to be the best ski day so far this season and I'm writing a post- about moving. While I'm surrounded by hard edges and corners, others are enjoying a day of deep, soft, pillowy white clouds of snow. Irony.

It has come to the point of unbearable. My life's dream is deep in these mountains. My future was wrapped around the rugged crags and peaks. But what can you do when life throws a curveball (or five)?

In order to alleviate the pain, I've dedicated my thoughts to a path of looking at this as an extended The Most Epic Trip. I'm going east to learn new ways to be outdoors, new areas to explore, and perhaps discover an even tighter knit group of outdoor folks. I'm going east to finish the winter season to overcome my fear of skiing on ice (something I never get at Solitude). I'm going east to be with family and get things in order. And finally, I'm going east to build a business that will allow me to never be in this situation again.

This is my home. I moved here for a reason. I don't know why I am being taken away from Utah at this time, but nothing is going to keep me away.  *Insert Arnold Schwarzenegger here* My life is tied to these great mountains, this champagne powder, this place filled with friendly faces who understand. Without the outdoors, I cease to be me.
Fresh snow panorama at Solitude this week
So starts a new chapter of 451 & Gina Bégin- an exploration of the east. I skimmed this chapter a few months ago on the trip but now it's time to dive in. I really hope you all will join me- I'll need your support... maybe as I drive east, you can throw some Hi5s in passing.

Utah- go enjoy the snow. Maybe I'll see you out there for one last run.

40 comments:

  1. Great post, good luck out east!

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  2. Beautifully written as always, but the melancholy is tangebile. I certainly understand having made a life for myself in the west how tough it would be to leave. If you can remember that you create your own happiness. Nothing around you can dictate your state of mind. Go East, be happy, thrive and live life on your terms however and whenever you can. GOOD LUCK!!!!

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    1. Good words, Fred. Thank you... I will try to continue living by those thoughts. :)

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  3. Gina, your outdoor family is here for you as you start this new adventure!!!

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    1. Thank you, Kristie. I always feel a lot of support from the outdoor community. I appreciate your encouragement!

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  4. You can always come back around to the state you love - life is cyclical. What part of the east coast are you moving to?

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    1. Not sure yet... my life is always a minute-by-minute play.

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  5. Good luck Gina!!! Change can be scary, but you always seem to shine in whatever it is you do. The East Coast is gaining one amazing woman!

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  6. Whenever I leave for a trip, someone reminds me that the mountains will be here, waiting. Unchanged.
    Wonderful post and best of luck. See you soon.

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    1. Brody, it means a lot coming from someone I know loves many of the same things as much as I do. I especially appreciate the end... makes it seem like just a short while and I'll be back. Thanks for slashing a turn in my honor, my friend. :)

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  7. Good luck, Gina. You are still young and have a lot of life left in you, so I have no doubt you'll be back in Utah. I hope our family gets to live there again someday too.

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  8. as a Colorado boy, who spent a year in DC, I can say its an experience worth having. The search for " your people" out East will change you for the better :)

    http://www.dirtbagdiaries.com/a_successful_life

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  9. Can't wait to help you leave Utah with a bang! We'll send you out in a furry of steep and deep powder filled turns! And the east isn't so bad, I'm always keen on an adventure if you need one

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  10. Bummer...you'll be missed Gina.

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  11. I think looking at it as an extended part of your trip is a great idea, because that's almost exactly what it is. Remember how I said yesterday that adventures aren't a vacation - it's a way of life.

    And as a lifelong East Coaster and New Englander (the specific group on the East with the worst reputation for being the least sociable), I can promise you that you absolutely will find like minded people who just get it with no explanation needed when it comes to a love for the outdoors and adventure. If you end up considering New England, I'd be glad to point out a few good areas.

    Good luck, and Utah isn't going anywhere at all!

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  12. Some of the most beautiful days I've ever had hiking were out in virgina and I miss it still as well as california. But everywhere is beautiful. Even when Jake moved from Utah to oklahoma of all places he talked non stop and still does of how great it turned out to be. If someone like jake can love oklahoma, you can make it work anywhere.

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  13. Some of the most beautiful days I've ever had hiking were out in virgina and I miss it still as well as california. But everywhere is beautiful. Even when Jake moved from Utah to oklahoma of all places he talked non stop and still does of how great it turned out to be. If someone like jake can love oklahoma, you can make it work anywhere.

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  14. There's not too many people that can talk me into eating a roasted ant. You'll be missed.

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  15. Also...jake came back to Utah...though he might go to iowa next. So it could be worse.
    Also...I envy your mobility. It's something I dream of doing, moving within days. So exciting!

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    1. It is an adventure. This one I didn't choose, but I'm sure where ever I end up on this little trip, I'll make the best of it and hopefully meet some great outdoor people in the process. I guess it's just time to learn the rolling hills of the Appalachians a lil better. :)

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  16. Remember, you have a climbing/hiking/skiing/adventure buddy here in PA. I need more people to explore with!

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    1. I definitely do remember that, Patrick! I'm holding you to it. :)

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    2. Good, I need more enablers! haha.

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  17. I feel sad and I haven't even met you! Your positive attitude and energy shine through your words whether on Twitter, FB etc. Utah and the outdoor girls here will miss your energy. Safe travels to you...
    Skibarbie

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  18. Powder, and maybe an early up chair ride before you leave? Those 8 am chairlift rides an hour before public have made people quit their jobs back east to and stay here. Maybe this will have the reverse effect :)

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  19. I feel sad and I haven't even met you! Your positive attitude and energy shine through your words whether on Twitter, FB etc. Utah and the outdoor girls here will miss your energy. Safe travels to you...
    Skibarbie

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  20. Maybe it's time to hike the AT?

    Good luck to you, Gina! I'm sure you'll find the outdoors, and people to enjoy them with, wherever you end up.

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  21. Hey Gina:
    I've had to leave & say good-bye many times through my travels in the US & the World. I still am not good at it, nor have I ever gotten used to it. So I understand your anguish about leaving someplace you love so much.

    However, you will find happiness wherever you go, I am sure. And at a future time, it may be right for you to return to UT.

    Keep your eyes open & welcome the change as you may surprise yourself and find some place out there even better than you ever thought possible.

    In the meantime, if you catch the first morning flight into SLC, you can be making pow turns by noon!!!!

    Lane

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  22. dont leavvvveeee

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  23. Everything--every change, every trip, every day--is a new adventure. And you'll do fabulously with this one!

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  24. only for now. we know u will be back! :)

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  25. You just dimmed the lights on Utah.. Enjoy your time with your family, sometimes they are all we really have

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  26. Outdoor Lovers on the East Coast are waiting for you Gina! Lots of "support groups" hit the trail every weekend of the year!

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  27. We'll miss you out here, Gina. Best of luck.

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  28. I'm super sad :( Enjoy the ride though! You never know where life will take you :)

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