Recognizing I live in a simply amazing area

I see many travel photos on Facebook posted by friends and family that are captivating. My brother David and his wife, Kim, are currently sharing their month-long travels through Peru via this social media outlet. There have been pictures of the Ballestas Islands, Colca Canyon, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

I just viewed a set of travel photos my cousin, Cathy, posted of the Slovenia countryside which has majestic mountains, deep green forests and lakes that reflect the landscapes around them.

Most of us have snapped a captivating setting with a camera to preserve the moment in time. But they are just that … one moment and then we move on unless we live in these places. Then what others bring home as a photo we experience daily.

I am reminded of this when I see tourists taking photos of the landscapes around Lake Almanor I routinely drive past. I am surrounded by scenery that is so much better than a photo on the wall … Mount Lassen covered in snow, the wetlands filled with flocks of birds along the Chester causeway, or an osprey diving from the sky to grab a fish from the water as I sit under the pine trees near a lake.

My sister-in-law wrote on Facebook after her trek to Machu Picchu, “If at all possible, put Machu Picchu on your bucket list. I’ve seen it in pictures many times before but to actually be here was simply amazing!”

I have not always recognized that I live in a simply amazing area. To have easy access to a national park is simply amazing. To be able to grab my kayak or paddle board and head to a lake for an hour or two whenever time allows is simply amazing. To live near the Pacific Crest Trail and many other trails for hiking is simply amazing.

It has taken awhile to appreciate all the opportunities I have living in the mountains. Since my move 18 years ago my lifestyle has evolved to fit where I live. I have purchased a kayak, for example. My first experience in a kayak provided no insight into the possibility that I might one day like this sport. It took place on Lake Natomas in Sacramento in an introduction to kayaking class. Paddling the lake with other novices was like being in a group of bumper boats — not only did we bump into each other but we kept yelling to the windsurfers that we did not have much control over the direction of our kayaks.

In Sacramento backpacking was far from my mind as well. Who would want to sleep on the ground, drink filtered water from a stream and prepare dinner from a dehydrated meal packet? A few years ago I was fitted with a backpack, learned how to pack it with lightweight gear and now look forward to overnight trips into wilderness areas.
Often people who move into an area that is vastly different from what they are used to have difficulty adjusting. It is easy to look at what was left behind instead of seeing the new opportunities gained.

My husband, Terry, frequently says “Instead of looking at what is not, look at what is.” Perhaps this is the criteria for a successful transition no matter what life brings.