ON SOLO TRAVEL, CHANGE + MOUNTAIN VIEWS

I’m one of those weird people who welcomes change. I think it's vital to growth. I think it's one of God's most impactful tools. I think evaluating your life every once in awhile is essential. I think change is how you evolve past who you were yesterday. Some of the greatest, most life-shaping things I’ve experienced have come from earth-shattering, ground-breaking, I-did-not-plan-for-this type of change. I’m what you could call a champion of change. I encourage it. I’m energized by it. I embrace it.

In August, I was rocked by an overwhelming, almost suffocating urge to make a change. I was bored with my day-to-day and started evaluating how I spent, more like wasted, my time. What I ached for was adventure and connection. Call it a quarter-life crisis or whatever but I could not shake the feeling that my life was becoming one big mess of dirty laundry, black coffee, mortgage payments, and bad first dates. 

I wanted less stuff and more experiences. I wanted to do more, be more. I wanted to put less emphasis on achievements and more on breakthroughs. Less checking the boxes and more drawing my own. I've always had a vision in my head of the life I wanted. I'm a planner, it's what I do. I never wanted to just let life happen to me, I wanted to be intentional with it. I don't want to settle down with someone, I want to take-off with them! I don't want to do mindless work but work I believe in. It’s one thing to sit and daydream about the life you want. It’s a whole other thing to do something about it. Daydreaming is easy. It’s what we do when we zone out during rush hour or who we think about during a painfully stale second date with someone you know you have no future with.

Over time, I felt depleted by tasks, to-dos, and the eye-opening awareness that I was wasting my time on things that didn’t fulfill me, on people who drained me. This humbling realization ignited something in me. 

It was a sticky summer night on my dear friend’s, Sarah and Gerrid’s patio when I told them how I was feeling. We sat there sipping our cocktails as I made myself completely vulnerable, almost transparent. If there’s one thing I’ve been blessed with abundantly, it’s friendships. Real, always-have-your-best-interest-at-heart friendships. I cut myself open and spilled my guts to them right then and there. I’ll never forget how they were completely tuned in to what I was saying, genuinely wanting to help navigate my next steps.

We all have these concocted ideals of what we want our life to portray. I want people to look at me and say, “that girl right there, she does what she says she’s going to do.” I have a list in my phone, a list of places I want to see and things I want to do. So after an incredibly energizing conversation with Sarah and Gerrid, I drove home and essentially threw a dart at that list.

Travel alone.
Climb a mountain.
Swim in Bear Lake.

Colorado it is.

I opened my laptop, pulled up Priceline and found a flight. I sat there for a good 45 minutes staring at my screen contemplating the purchase.

Thoughts filled my head: “What are you doing?” “Really Brezinka? You? Climb a mountain? Lol.” 

I can honestly say I have found nothing more liberating than traveling alone. It’s not that I’m anti-social or wouldn’t want to share these experiences with someone but there’s something to be said about the freedom that comes with being on your own schedule, navigating up mountains over highways and byways. My goodness it’s insanely empowering.

When I landed in Colorado, I picked up a rental car and just drove. I spent a lot of time in Rocky Mountain National Park, hiked St. Mary’s Glacier, listened to an Eagles cover band in a little bar in Keystone, went to a concert at Red Rocks, dove into Bear Lake, and climbed 14,271 feet to the top of Mount Evans. I'll never forget standing there watching the clouds make their way through the pines. Or how the frigid water of Bear Lake took my breath away. It can only be described as someone dropping cinder blocks on your chest.

The mountains made me feel so small in the best possible way. They swallowed me up and moved me to tears. I’ve never experienced that before. Something so unimaginably beautiful that tears literally fell from my eyes and down my cheeks. I thought that type of stuff only happened in the movies. I’ve never felt more alive in that moment; but at the same time, it was hard to breathe. A paralyzing contradiction of emotions that I didn’t know was possible. A concoction of sensations I never knew I needed. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.

God’s beauty blows my mind every single time. He was the rolling clouds and the massive mountains. He was the tall pines, the quite snowfall. He was the unexpected hail. He was everywhere, He was everything. The enormity of it all stopped me in my tracks. I just stood there on top of that mountain, never more alone but never closer to Love. Trust me when I say, if you're looking for perspective of any kind, go stand on top of a mountain and watch how all those little thoughts bouncing around your head and wreaking havoc on your heart suddenly fade away.  

This is the point I'm trying to make: If you have a vision of the kind of life you want or the kind of person you want to be, then do it, be it. It’s that easy. No one is going to do it for you. You can’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. I could have very easily sat on that patio and chalked a new way of living up to wishful thinking. But I didn't and you don't have to either. If you want a life of love and respect, adventure and peace, or whatever have you, cultivate it. Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. Cheesy I know, but I’m going for it. 

Three months later and I still draw energy from that trip. The reality of what I experienced out there keeps me grounded when I start to worry or get anxious. It reminds me how incredibly small I am and how graciously good He is. It illustrates that He's everywhere, in everything. That no matter the situation or circumstance, He’s always working behind the scenes. It’s a freeing feeling, a peace that surpasses all understanding. Something I hope every single one of you comes to experience.

Having a purpose bigger than myself, real connections in my relationships and peace every day is the kind of life I want to live. It's not about having more stuff. It's not about having more money. And it's certainly not about the to-do list. It’s going to bed knowing you spent your day loving and living as hard as you could and being grateful for every single moment along the way.

This experience is something I never want to forget and thanks to the ladies at Be You Jewelry, I wear this reminder around my neck every day. 

The mission of Be You Jewelry is to BElieve in YOUrself. Their (handmade/customized) products are fabulous and I highly recommend checking them out. They'll tailor your piece specifically to you, and I just love that. It's the perfect gift to give and right now till November 30th, you can get 20% off your order when you use promo code: STYLED2016.

Tell them Carli sent ya!


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