It was November of 2018 once I was sitting subsequent to a good-looking stranger round a campfire exterior of Etosha Nationwide Park in Namibia.
I’d observed him earlier within the foyer however assumed he was a part of a pair. Not many individuals solo journey by this desert nation.
However G just isn’t your typical traveler. He’s been to The Azores, Mauritius, Tasmania, and extra alone, and he’s at all times down for an journey.
I do know this from first-hand expertise, as a result of that good-looking stranger grew to become my life associate. The one drawback was, he lived in Reno, Nevada.
Reno just isn’t a spot I’d have thought of. All I knew of it was the freeway passing by on my solution to Burning Man. I went eight years in a row with out exploring Reno or giving it an opportunity. I even tried to consider ways in which I might persuade G to maneuver elsewhere.
But it surely did so occur that I used to be out there for a brand new place to stay on the heels of leaving Berlin after over 4 years of creating it my house base.
Why go away Berlin for Reno of all locations? Berlin is well one of many coolest cities on the earth.
It’s low-cost, gritty, artsy, and the nightlife by no means ends. In my 20s, I couldn’t think about a extra taking place place. Once I was there, I felt like I used to be within the epicenter of all issues cool. I bought to stay in a metropolis that actually by no means sleeps.
However after 4 years I began to really feel like a stranger in an odd land. I missed mountains, I missed the ocean, I missed the simplicity of smaller locations and acquainted faces like I’d had once I traveled.
I began to marvel if dwelling in a giant metropolis was actually dwelling. So I made a decision to depart, and in between ending my lease and giving up my German residency, I met G, and he satisfied me to present Reno an opportunity.
I had at all times considered Nevada as one thing to get by as a way to go to Vegas or Utah. I bear in mind pondering Reno was only a poor man’s Vegas. I imagined the entire of Nevada was barren, rocky, and warmer than hell. That’s how most individuals image it.
However I used to be incorrect, and it began proving me incorrect nearly instantly:
You possibly can say that I moved to Reno nearly 2 years in the past, however I didn’t spend significant time right here till final March. I used to be lucky to have many working alternatives in 2019, which stored me away nearly all the best way till the pandemic hit.
And whereas it’s been troublesome in some ways, the silver lining is it gave me an opportunity to like my environment extra – to truly discover what’s in my very own yard right here, and it’s superb.
There are pine timber right here which are a whole bunch of years outdated, a few of them on my road. Up within the mountains, they’re into the hundreds.
Hawks fly by each day, cawing their presence, and I’ve noticed a bobcat on the path up in Tahoe, which should be the world’s most stunning lake.
I’ve watched as totally different birds have migrated by, constructing their nests and consuming the acorns this winter. I watched as all the pieces went into full bloom final spring, exhibiting me a season that I hadn’t realized I’d not skilled earlier than.
There are extra mountain lakes than I can rely, extra climbing trails than I can most likely ever cowl, extra funky little eating places and communities that I’m dying to discover. I do know I’ve discovered my place, I hope that I can discover my folks too.
Now almost 2 years in, I’m realizing how misguided all of my earlier assumptions have been. To only drive by on the freeway confirmed me nothing of the a whole bunch of climbing trails, beautiful mountain lakes, salt pans and sand dunes that I might attain.
Rising up in larger Los Angeles, it took hours to get to issues like this. Nature is far more accessible right here, and that’s precisely what I wished once I left Berlin. I simply by no means anticipated to search out it in Reno.
Reno with its 200okay residents is the smallest space I’ve lived in – by far.
And tacky because it sounds, I’ve come to comprehend that it actually is the largest little metropolis on the earth.
It’s form of humorous, although the vast majority of Nevada seems nothing like the cruel desert panorama that has come to outline it in well-liked tradition, that is nonetheless the picture that most individuals have of their thoughts. And it’s most likely all the higher for it.
And I do know in the long run that house just isn’t a lot the place, it’s a way of thinking. It’s the corporate you retain, particularly your personal.
Some locations really feel like house the second you land there, and others take a while to work their means into your coronary heart. Reno has been that for me, and I’m so grateful to G that I bought an opportunity to get to understand it.