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 seen him earlier within the foyer however assumed he was a part of a pair. Not many individuals solo journey by way of this desert nation.
However G will not be 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 companion. The one drawback was, he lived in Reno, Nevada.
Reno will not be a spot I’d have thought-about. All I knew of it was the freeway passing by way of on my technique 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 available in the market for a brand new place to dwell on the heels of leaving Berlin after over 4 years of creating it my dwelling base.
Why depart Berlin for Reno of all locations? Berlin is definitely one of many coolest cities on the planet.
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. After I was there, I felt like I used to be within the epicenter of all issues cool. I bought to dwell 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 surprise if dwelling in a giant metropolis was actually dwelling. So I made a decision to go away, and in between ending my lease and giving up my German residency, I met G, and he satisfied me to provide Reno an opportunity.
I had at all times considered Nevada as one thing to get by way of with a purpose 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 fallacious, and it began proving me fallacious virtually instantly:
You may say that I moved to Reno virtually 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 virtually all the way in which till the pandemic hit.
And whereas it’s been tough 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 wonderful.
There are pine bushes right here which are a whole bunch of years outdated, a few of them on my avenue. Up within the mountains, they’re into the 1000’s.
Hawks fly by day by day, cawing their presence, and I’ve noticed a bobcat on the path up in Tahoe, which should be the world’s most lovely lake.
I’ve watched as totally different birds have migrated by way of, constructing their nests and consuming the acorns this winter. I watched as every little thing 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 depend, extra mountain 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 way of on the freeway confirmed me nothing of the a whole bunch of mountain climbing trails, beautiful mountain lakes, salt pans and sand dunes that I might attain.
Rising up in higher 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 200k residents is the smallest space I’ve lived in – by far.
And tacky because it sounds, I’ve come to comprehend that it really is the most important little metropolis on the planet.
It’s sort of humorous, although nearly all 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 ultimately that dwelling will not be a lot the place, it’s a frame of mind. It’s the corporate you retain, particularly your personal.
Some locations really feel like dwelling the second you land there, and others take a while to work their approach 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 comprehend it.