Summit to Osaka

Across the path, I walked with my pack stuffed full. Steam poured out from the red panelled room. I opened the door. The smell of fresh fluffy cotton welcomed my nose. My fingers began to thaw. I could finally feel my toes. Another laundry day in keystone. My last hours of freedom before a week of work.

Before leaving on Friday, my manager stopped me. "Hey Tyler, you mind stepping into my office?" he said, waving me in. "Hey, what's up?" I asked. Well, you've done nothing but great things for us since you got here, and we'd like to keep you on the team year-round if you're interested." I didn't know what to say. "Wow, I'm flattered. Can I have some time to think about it?" I asked. "Yeah, take your time. Enjoy your weekend." He said.

That night, I tossed and turned. Throughout the next two days, I was consumed. I'd returned to Keystone Colorado to save money for a season, and then continue on to something new. I'd been daydreaming of snowboarding. And I wanted to test a theory that place isn't important, it's what you do that matters.

In six weeks since arrival, I'd enjoyed the possibilities of my four days on three days off schedule. I'd taken a trip to the desert and explored Denver. During the holiday rush, work was crazy, but since then, my shifts as an on-call delivery/maintenance guy had turned into paid reading and writing. I finally felt like myself around the team. I was beginning to fit in.

The money wasn't great, but it was more than enough to eat healthy with some left over to save. Then of course, there was the allure of "mud season" and "summer" of which the veteran guys referred to as a time where "I once went two weeks without a single call". More paid time to read and write, and in the crisp summer mountain sun. How could I pass that up?

I told myself to take the opportunity "it's the smart thing to do." But then came even more anxiety. "What if I meet a girl?" "What if I inherit a friend group?" “What if I get comfortable?” "What if I plant roots?" "What if I stop asking questions?" "There's so much more I want to do."

Distraught, with my fingers only half thawed, I unloaded the crumpled long johns and mismatch socks. I dropped a handful. As it hit the ground, a weird clapping sound rung out. My travel wallet and passport stared at me from the floor.

DEN-KIX April 4th