I have lived in Steamboat all of my 18 years, and in less than two quick weeks I will leave the mountains and snow for the city and rain.
I thought the transition would be easily made, and I really thought I was tough enough to leave my comfortable home, family and friends and the small-town atmosphere easily and jump into college life. Although I'm excited and ready for the change, I'm also scared and nervous and already missing my hometown.
When I was younger, I never saw the beauty that Steamboat had to offer; I never realized how lucky I was to call this place my home. Traveling always excited me and my younger brother, who was surprised that Kansas was so flat, and Nevada was so boring, and San Francisco had so many people. But we would always drive over the pass and be relieved to see the tall mountains and green (or white) surrounding our little town.
I'm used to long cold winters filled with powder days, snow boots and class trips to the ski mountain, as well as quick warm summers filled with days of floating down the river and hiking to Fish Creek Falls.
Not only is it the beauty of the town that is so addicting, but it's the atmosphere (which these days is harder to find, but if you look in the right places is still there). I think many take for granted the avid arts community, the western heritage and the advantages of knowing almost everyone in your neighborhood and in your graduating class.
Knowing everyone has its upsides and downsides, but no matter what, it's hard to leave behind the classmates I have grown up with. We are scattering all over the country, from West Point, N.Y., to San Diego, from New Mexico to Oregon and from Delaware to Boulder.
We have seen our hometown change from an innocent perspective. We have grown up skiing, hiking and mountain biking something not many people have done, and are finally learning the value of our small town, now that it is coming to an end.
Granted, it is changing, but too many times people look at the bad rather than the good of the community, and now that I'm leaving, I see that I too have taken my town for granted and only been interested in the downfalls of the community.
I will miss knowing everyone in my class sometimes knowing too much. I will miss being able to walk down the street late at night not worrying about safety. I will miss only driving a few short minutes to go hiking or camping. I will miss watching a real rodeo and even knowing some of the people riding.
I will trade all that in for another community full of people and exciting things to do; studying and having fun, but not one of my family members, friends or classmates nor my love of my hometown will be replaced
There are countless things to be missed. Put yourself in my shoes and look at the beautiful place around you and remember how lucky you are.