Chris Lindner

Blog #9 August

 

Arriving back from my East Coast trip in May, I boarded a plane to Australia in June with no return date and no place to call home. Actually I'd been homeless since we moved out of our house in Vegas back in April. My girlfriend (Jodi) had quit her job of 5-years in Vegas and she was living with her friend while I was in West Virginia for the month of May. When June came, we set off on the next chapter of our lives together without knowing where we would end up. She has a CHT (certified hand therapist) license that qualifies her to work in about seven different countries throughout the world, including Australia. The plan was for her to look for a job there amidst climbing and surfing around the country. Australia was stunningly beautiful, with a wide variety of new birds chirping in the trees and critters creeping on the ground. We rented a little camper van to live out of, which was cozy and perfect for the two of us. After a few weeks, the job openings were few and far between, so we decided we'd rather live, work, and climb back in the United Sates. We booked a ticket home, called the trip a "worthy vacation" rather than "a place to live," and ended the trip just shy of six weeks.

Photo courtesy of www.craigingramphoto.com.au

Nonetheless, Australia was a blast, and it went something like this: We flew into Sydney, surfed and bouldered around the city for a couple days, and then drove 12 hours down the coast to the Grampians outside of Melbourne. We really enjoyed the bouldering there (particularly in Hollow Mtn Cave), then decided to check out the Arapiles not too far away. We did a bit of trad and sport climbing there, then cruised back up the coast to see the sport climbing mecca of Nowra. We checked out the Blue Mountains, then toured a few more urban bouldering areas around Sydney including the Balkans, Jessica's, Sissy's, and the Villas.  We spent the last couple days surfing and chilling at our friend's beach house before jetting back to San Diego.

Photo courtesy of www.craigingramphoto.com.au

Photo courtesy of www.craigingramphoto.com.au

Searching for a job, my girlfriend landed four interviews in the U.S. after we got home. One in Colorado, two in central Oregon, and one in Alaska. We had no idea where we would be living next. The first interview took us to Gunnison, CO. I've spent close to six months in Rifle over the past 13 years or so, but other than that, I haven't been to too many other places in Colorado. I was eager to check it out. We drove to Gunnison a week before the interview to check out the small town (population 5,400) as well as tour the local climbing areas. We checked out Hartman Rocks (in town), God's Crag (closest limestone sport climbing), drove over Engineers Pass (roughest 4x4 road of my life, up to 12,800 feet!), and checked out the iceless ice park at Ouray which is super famous in the Winter. We saw the breathtaking north and south rim of the Black Canyon (about an hour to the west) which houses Colorado's tallest rock climbs up to 2,300 feet. I certainly approved of the climbing potential in the immediate area along with the legendary Rifle and the Fortress being an easy 3-4 hour drive away. Plus, we are both really into snowboarding, so having the world-famous Crested Butte Resort a quick 30-minute-free-shuttle-ride away from our doorstep sat really well with us. My compromise for Jodi climbing with me all of the time is that I have to go snowboarding with her once in a while, so having Crested Butte being our local mountain wouldn't be half bad.

Jodi's two-day interview went perfectly well and they offered her the job. We quickly signed the lease on a quiet little one bedroom apartment just a couple blocks from the hospital she'll be working at, then drove back to San Diego to gather our belongings. We drove both our trucks and a U-Haul trailer back out to Gunnison and moved in just a couple days ago.

I got a membership to the local gym which is on campus at Western State College (4 blocks away). They only charge $30 for 6 months for non-students. Crazy! It's a sweet little gym with all the needs for training (campus board, hang board, and decent bouldering). I'm going to get my training going for the next couple weeks, then start making my way out to wealth of excellent climbing around here for the start of Fall.

Life gets pretty crazy sometimes, and the last couple months of vagabonding has been stressful, exciting, and exhausting. I'm really happy with where I'm at now in life. From not knowing where life would bring me a couple months ago, then winding up in Gunnison perfectly happy... it's taking a while to set in that I actually have a home again. It's a reminder that life is a river that makes its own course, and sometimes it's best to just let it flow, stay positive, and admire the outcome. I'm in a quiet little town that I can ride my bike to the store, gym, pub, post office, etc. I enrolled in an online program at a university to finish the last two years of my software engineering bachelor's degree, and I started school this week. With a more permanent residence, and several climbing and academic goals on my plate, I feel my life is going to thrive in the coming weeks, months, and years. The next chapter begins... Life in Colorado!

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