I spent 18 years of my life in the West – the first three in Arizona and the following 15 in Colorado. But it wasn’t until I spent 3 years living in the Midwestern states of Kansas and Missouri that taught me what it really meant to be from the “Wild, Wild West.”
Let me start by clarifying: Colorado is indeed part of the West. The spirit of the West is alive and well in the Centennial State. In fact, it’s foundation is as western as it gets: much of Colorado’s first inhabitants were pioneers in search of gold. While many of these individuals had set their sights on California, when they came up on Colorado they decided to end their journey early and search for gold among the Rockies.
The West is a land of travelers. As the descendants of those with an itch to see the rest of the country, it’s in our blood. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who had not visited multiple states, or even multiple countries. While we may always find our way home, life has not been lived if we have not explored all the earth has to offer.
The West is a land of adventurers. Mountains, lakes, oceans, forests, deserts, canyons, adventure is everywhere. But adventure is not limited to exploration and physical activities. No, we go after all types of adventures, whether it be trying a new type of cuisine, learning a new language, finding where our food is coming from, or experiencing night life. Life is an adventure to be had for the Westerner.
The West is a land of innovators. Silicon Valley alone is full of bright new ideas. Our governments are trail blazers in new policy. Travel is constantly evolving. The notion of the human experience is ever changing. Innovation thrives under western skies.
Experiencing the breadbasket of America has helped me define what makes the culture of the West so unique, something I couldn’t determine if I had stayed out West. While I have grown to love the people and deep tradition rooted in the Midwest, the West will always call to me.