Fort Collins versus life outside of two small Colorado towns

Yesterday, while waiting for Mike in the car at the Big R store in La Veta, I started thinking about how our lives would be different if we still lived in Fort Collins. We only go into Walsenburg or La Veta Colorado every few days when we need to do something or buy something. We generally go to Walsenburg for groceries and La Veta for the library, the great bakery, yoga or to see my one friend there.

It seems funny that after over five years I still compare in my mind how my life has changed by moving to rural Colorado. If we were still in Fort Collins we would be spending a lot more time standing in line in traffic. That’s for sure! And that is what I so wanted to leave behind. Of course I rarely had trouble breathing in Fort Collins, but I was breathing in lots more toxins everyday there.

Mainly I remember standing in line for just about everything in cities. Sure there are lots more choices of placing to go to buy things, but there were almost always lines at the grocery store or anywhere else. I have had to get used to NOT HAVING crowds and lines here. I still sometimes think, “We better hurry. There might be trouble parking or lines…” But then I remind myself that there never are lines, even at the two stoplights in Walsenburg, which we can generally avoid by going a different way.

Mike and I talked about it on the way home from La Veta yesterday. We agreed that the only time this rural area gets “busy” is in the summer. That is when the city people come down to escape the city. Then things do change a bit. The summer busyness sometimes reminds me of cities, because city people are so pushy and anxious all the time. Their life back home does that to them. How do I know this? Because I used to feel this way myself.

Especially with the difficult changes in my health in the past few years, I feel I belong in a place where things move much slower and the people I meet are more likely to help me when I need it. It is definitely less of a ‘dog eat dog’ world down here. It’s like when we still lived in Fort Collins and we would drive down here for a few days. I always noticed when the traffic on I-25 switched from “Get the f*** out of my way!” to a more relaxed, non-judgmental style of traffic. I still notice that now when I need to go up north. I truly dread the traffic up there now.

That is one of the many reasons I LOVE coming back home.

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.


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!”

Laura and rasta close upCheck out my new book:  A Memoir of Retirement: From Suburbia to Solar in Southern Colorado  and share this information with your friends if they are considering a move to rural America. 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: