Why I left the “best cities in America” to live in rural southern Colorado

Denver and Colorado Springs the best cities in America? I can hardly stand to drive up there now! I know those places may be good for businesses and careers, but for actual ‘quality of life’? Forget it!

The air is so dirty up there you can smell it. The traffic and noise is unbelievably bad unless you compare it to other cities like LA. I find it interesting that young people love the high-stress atmosphere of cities like Denver. High anxiety just makes me tired these days.

When I last visited Denver and Colorado Springs, I could feel the stress building in my body immediately. First just getting there is so stressful, because of the intense traffic from Pueblo north on I-25. Then the air starts smelling really bad, and my fellow drivers start crowding in on me, pressuring me to drive faster than I feel is safe. Most city dwellers would disagree with me, but the point is we humans don’t fully realize how much stress we live with daily, until we try living without it.

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The view from our new home!

I moved to Walsenburg Colorado in June 2014 to build a solar home down here. The culture shock was strong and immediate. Each morning when I went outside, I would think, “Where am I?” The pace of life here felt so foreign. Now I call it slow and comfortable, but back then it took me a while to appreciate the lack of constant pressure, noise and traffic. Yes, the trains were noisy in town, but I’m originally from Kansas so I like the sound of trains.

IMGP4362When our new home was finished, a stressful process in and of itself, we moved out to the foothills. Now I spend hours just staring at those incredible mountains, with their ever changing cloud and weather patterns.

The silence and beauty of this area takes my breath away daily, but in a good way…   “Goodbye city life!”

How did I end up here, feeling so fortunate?

laura-rasta-xmas-2012-croppedI’m a newcomer to rural southern Colorado.  After two years I decided to compile a short journal about the ups and downs of moving from a good-sized city to rural America to build a passive solar retirement home:             A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado  Please share this information with your friends if they are considering similar life changes. Feel free to contact me directly to discuss any of these challenges, and to order your own signed copies of any of my books!              Cheers, Laura Lee  (email me: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com)

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14 thoughts on “Why I left the “best cities in America” to live in rural southern Colorado

  1. I think the world has changed enormously because of our ability to have a full life through things like blogs and blogging friends. And slowing down and enjoying life is exactly why I love retirement. Every once in awhile I realize I’m still living the good life eight years after I left my job! 🙂

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    • Hi — can I ask what kind of Internet access you have? I’m guessing by the view from your house, you live in Navajo Ranch? I have an ‘off the grid’ cabin over by Silver Mountain that I use in the summertime, and I deeply love it there, but end up in La Veta at the laundrymat for Internet. Just found your blog today, enjoy the chance to see photos of my other home. Ellen

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  2. I am quite content in my home of 38 years in the suburbs of Seattle, where we have a half acre to garden, a supermarket three blocks away, a shopping mall a mile away, and the city center just a 35 minute light rail ride away, while from my house I can’t see any of all that.
    I’m glad you found your paradise.

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  3. As a Walsenburger born and raised, I have to tell you that you violated a key code of the West by advertising our secret piece of heaven. Shhhhhh! We really don’t want to invite attention to our mostly undisturbed homeland. I am glad you appreciate it and the view but it is people like you that provide a map for developers and such. Please keep your wonder to yourself. Now shhhhhhhhh! Or before long, Texas, Kansas and California will ruin it they way they did Ft. Collins and Denver!

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  4. First of all Jay, please tell me the source for your “Code of the West” because, according to the Internet, no written code ever actually existed. The “Code of the West” on our county’s website does not say telling others about living here is a “violation” of anything. That must be your own code…If this place is a secret we would not have found it on Google under “cheap land in Colorado.”
    But you do bring up a very interesting question. Does Walsenburg want to build a strong economic base and grow back to its previous glory, because right now it has turned into a convenience store stop along I-25. I think I will pursue this topic further by interviewing various other citizens and get back to you on this. Good research topic!

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  5. My family is from Huerfano County, and I have lived in Walsenburg for 23 years. I’ve watched the micro boom and bust of population, and while I would love to see growth in our community, I don’t want to see big box stores or life in the fast lane. I like our crazy quiet part of Colorado.

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