A couple of you have posted thoughtful responses but apparently either I can’t respond or my iPad won’t allow me, which may be a function of its age. One of you mentioned that I imply that rural is better than city, which is a bit of a misread. There are those of us who love and thrive in cities, and we’d better, given the wholesale population move to same. I do argue that having access to Nature is an essential part of life. That doesn’t mean that having a farm and a plot of land is right for anyone. If you have ever traveled to Durban or Johannesburg and seen the umpteen miles of shanty towns that constitute “city life” for millions for whom one monsoon wind would remove their entire “home,” you understand my meaning. The smoke front their cook fires creates a pall that is almost its own weather system. So while some cities work well in some regards the cost to life in one is in many cases appallingingly high. Therefore, in many cases, “city life” in its best sense is available to those who can afford it. Not Vancouver or Hong Kong or Manhattan or a great many other places that cost breathtaking amounts of money. The cost of real estate alone, much less other amenities is too prohibitive. In Colorado as in many other places, the average price of a home has risen so far so fast that rental costs are rising faster than the average person can keep up with, forcing the working poor out. This was the case in the high country for years, those in Vail or Aspen needing cooking and cleaning help. Now those small mountain towns that used to have trailer parks and so-called moderate housing have been turned into AirBnB units, to the point where local firemen and teachers can’t find a rental home. I don’t argue the right of a homeowner to make money so that he can afford the cost of his $900,000 home — and that home didn’t cost that so long ago. I am simply making note. We need Nature. We all do. And the best cities make sure tha Nature is available with green spaces and green belts. However, if you have the conceit to live in a Seattle or a Denver or Manhattan or other places, I hope you have a high-paying job. I don’t pretend to have the answers here. I am simply commenting on what some of the trends are. City living for some is a choice. For others it’s the only option they see if their way of life was bought out or they were forced to sell. Again, please, this is not about being right. It’s a discussion, and clearly a valuable one.

To another poster who called me Buttercup, I’m fully aware of the impact my travel has. However I do my best to make up for it in other places. As I hope we all do. Living far more simply, consuming far less, and in ways as best I can to pay for my existence. While I have the option to do so I want to see and write about those things that matter to me as best I can. Someone needs to. Many of us need to. Because those observations teach us all. It’s one hell of a lot more convincing to read first hand reports and direct experience than someone who opines from an armchair about something they have never seen or lived. Of course we all add to the problem. By existing, by consuming, by producing trash we do. However all I can offer is a way to see. As I said, the solutions are over my pay grade. If anything what I would hope is that we develop some empathy for others who, like us, seek a better life, whatever that may look like, rather than not care at all.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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