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Ozark Adventures

Going somewhere new the journey is never straight forward and arrival can be scary as hell. I recently moved to an wild part of the country; southern Missouri, an isolated land, the Ozarks. I live in the middle of nowhere, thirty minutes from a soggy grocery store and over an hour to the closest Wal-Mart or anything you would consider an actual town. There’s no cell service, my driveway takes twenty minutes to get down (if it’s not wet) and the slightest breeze knocks out the power.

Upon first arrival I asked myself why I made this decision to leave behind the familiar for something completely new. I left great friends, someone I loved, what was I thinking. All I was moving on to was a job I wasn’t sure I would like, in a place witch roads like roller coasters and stray dogs and bike packers around every blind turn. Not even going to start on the tics.

Feeling alone and melancholy was not the way I had pictured this summer adventure going. This place is just a means to an end, but it seemed like it would be fun. There was mountain biking and rock climbing in the Ozarks, what could be bad about it. My first month here was miserable, I couldn’t get over leaving friends and therefor didn’t want to make new ones, the work was boring and monotonizing, and there was a steep learning curve to remember all the plants. Mix that with a first serious girlfriend and a seemingly unjustifiable reasoning for breaking up and there is a recipe for feeling like shit. Maybe that sounds a little too dramatic, I was desperate for connection and couldn’t satisfy what I thought was a need, so I freaked.

As the weeks wore on and I talked to a few friends about how to reconcile with a place I was a wreck in I began to look at the isolation as a tool, a time to be with myself. I started to develop something of a direction and a more realistic perception of the world and myself. Living in Florida for the past year taught me a lot and being so isolated in Missouri I had time to reflect. I started running more, it began as a fun way to explore the preserve we’re on and turned into a way of coping with separation and anxiety. Runs were a way to be alone, to differentiate between rational and irrational thoughts and scream like a wild coyote when I needed to; self-powered adventure through pristine forests and foggy fields. The physical helped initiate the mental and I got better at, dealing with myself I guess, rolling with the belief I could conjure up what I dreamt. I should be clear, I’m not setting out to change myself, just keep progressing.

For most of my life my decisions were based off what seemed like the most fun at the time, that was the whole reason I thought I would have a ball in Missouri. Now I was realizing I needed something bigger to work towards; having none felt like floating through the world, never meant to be anywhere or with anyone for an extended length of time. All these jobs, and relationships, they were never building to anything inside of me, and without that recognition of their significance, I got bored. I don’t want to be bored anymore, not ever.

So, after working on the heartbreak, the loneliness, and the disconnect I began to feel some change in my person. I went from being so anxious I couldn’t stomach food or spend a minute with my own thoughts to learning how to relax in the afternoon sun, listening to the whippoorwills call for love. From crying daily to becoming comfortable with myself and situation through evening walks with the elk. Little by little my mentality became more disciplined and I started to search for what I wanted out of life. “Assert yourself in your discipline passionately.”-Brendan Murphy. That’s where I am at now. The world is crazy, moving somewhere new is never easy, sometimes hardly worth it, but around every corner there is something to be discovered and learned, and that makes it all worthwhile. Go out and explore, cheers!

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