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Denver, you were good to us.

Updated: Apr 29

After a year in Denver, I packed up my bags in my blue MINI countryman, returned the keys to my furnished apartment in the LoDo district, and set out on the road again.

Hard Goodbyes & Bittersweet Beginnings

I'd be lying if I said I was happy to leave. Part of me was excited for the roadtrip and to explore a new place for the summer, but the other part of me felt sad leaving. Denver was the first city I ever moved to alone, without knowing a single person. It was like starting your life from scratch, building on the cleanest foundation possible, where no one knows you or has any pre-judgments formed about you. You walk down the streets not knowing a single face that passes by, until you do. I made a lot of friends and had so many great adventures hiking, camping, and skiing. Denver taught me so much about the outdoors and I will forever be thankful for the year I had to grow and become more of the person I want to be, and to create the life I always envisioned for myself. I did over 60 hikes, and about 40 of those were with Sora. The pandemic stopped us from traveling, but I think it also helped keep me grounded and figure out what was important to me.

I became close to a select few people during my time in Denver. In a year, I made a lifelong friend, I fell in love, and I had my heart broken. When I decided to leave Denver, I was leaving someone that didn't want to commit to me or see a longterm future with me. As hard as it is, we accept the love we think we deserve. I know I deserve more than that, and something was drawing me to Seattle this summer, away from Denver and the life I created there. It's hard to let go and follow-through with the decisions you make. It's even harder when you're making these decisions alone, because there's no one to blame but yourself if they go poorly. Everyone told me moving to Denver during the pandemic was a terrible idea and that I was going to regret it. When I look back on my year spent somewhere beautiful and surrounded by endless mountains, I have no regrets. It was 100% the right decision for me. Did I fully believe that going in? No! Not at all. When I first moved to Denver I was completely alone with just Sora. I had many nights where I cried and felt extreme loneliness, missing my family and friends. However there was nothing left for me in Virginia. There was nothing fueling my passions to create - to fly my drone or pick up my camera and explore. I felt uninspired and when I got to Denver, I never knew I could feel this content and happy. I would pack up my bag/camera, choose a hike friday evening and get Sora in the car and drive by ourselves somewhere new in the morning. That feeling of being somewhere completely alone, sipping my coffee, anticipating something new, feeling nervous about being alone in the wilderness - it's a feeling I looked forward to each weekend. Every weekend I set out to explore, taking Sora into the mountains and learning about hiking and camping with each new trip; fully immersing myself without hesitation. I didn't start making friends until about 3 or 4 months in. It definitely helped to have friends fly out and visit me - those visits kept me grounded and allowed me to keep pushing through the loneliness, like a burst of hope that tells you it's going to be okay in the end. When I made friends in Denver, it made adventuring a lot more accessible and easier, and safer, but you get less choice over certain things when you travel with others. Also, I find I do my best photography and drone filming when i'm by myself because i'm not worried about people-pleasing and ensuring everyone is having a good time and not waiting on me.

Why Seattle next?

The heat last summer in Denver was brutal for Sora, and I knew temperature would be cooler up north, so that was a big reason for choosing Seattle. I really wanted to move to Vancouver, BC on a tourist visa for the summer, but the borders remained closed due to Covid, so I figured Seattle was the next best thing. The hikes are beautiful in Washington, and I have a few friends in the area so I wouldn't be entirely alone like I was in Colorado. I'm not sure what's in store for me this summer, but I'm excited about the unknown and just leaning into the decision I made and trusting that this is where i'm meant to be.


Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

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