Humans of Durango

New beginnings and experiences arise every day for every person on the planet, whether they’re simple and meaningless or significant and a defining moment in that person’s life. No matter the size of these daily encounters, they impact our lives in some way or another. In this issue of Humans of Durango, El Diablo asked random locals about new experiences in their lives and how it shaped them as a person.


Girl with Blue Shirt:

“My children have moved away and so I’m starting a new life without them. It’s exciting, but a little bit sad at the same time. It is forcing me to reinvent myself and figure out what it’s like to be me, not necessarily somebody elses mom but just me. A little bit of time just shows you that it’s all still good and you’re happy that they’re finding their own way without you. Don’t be afraid of the future and embrace it and make it as good as it can be.”


Girl with blue eyes:
“I want to say mountain biking but that is such a boring Durango answer. I recently started going to see a chiropractor. Let’s go with that. I would say it has made me think more just about how the whole body is connected and how our brains really do power our bodies and that having a little pinched nerve or tightly slanted vertebrate can make you spacey or any number of things. It just made me expand my awareness.”


Guy with sunglasses:
“I just recently started brushing my teeth which is important. It was recommended by my friend. Ah, no. Clipping my nails, brushing my teeth… I don’t know. It’s just the same old, same old. Oh, I bought clothes recently. And I don’t do that, that’s a new thing. I made a little trip up to Denver, the big city, and not trying to brag here but spent about 400 dollars at Nordstrom Rack to treat myself. And them someone called me a basic b**** after that and I was like what? Like of course you spend that much at Nordstrom Rack, you’re a joke. And that person was a ninth grader. But it was exhilarating to buy clothes, that’s why people do it. And then right after I left, I started to get sad. The high of buying clothes was over. No, it felt good overall. It’s good to buy clothes.”


Man with white beard:
“I’m getting old, I’ve done just about everything. Well, I travel all over the world and I’m actually going to some countries that I haven’t been to before. I’ve been in China, Philippines, Peru; lots of places. The coolest place I’ve been is probably Peru. I liked it a lot. I lived there for a year. I worked in a medical clinic in a village. But I would love to go to New Zealand just for fun. I’ll still travel for medical missions, though, and I’m a missionary, actually, so I go for lots of different reasons. I’m getting ready to go to China and the Philippines in October. I don’t really have any fears when I go to a new country, I just love traveling and I’ve always been kind of a daredevil. It’s just a new adventure for me. So don’t let fear stop you.”


Woman from India:
“I lived in Boston but I’m originally from India, from Mumbai, or Bombay. But I’ve been in the US for eighteen years now, so it’s been a while. I think just the fact that I moved from India to the US was a completely different experience for me. I literally moved two bags and I came to school. I came to go to business school on the east coast for my masters, it was my graduate program. So I moved to New Haven. I went to Yale. It’s a great place. If you have to start over again, it’s good to go there. I had been to the US a long time ago before that, but it still didn’t feel that different. There were different parts that felt different. I think it was just getting used to a totally different way of living. I don’t think you realize it when you’re in the moment. I think after you have change, you have perspective and you can say ‘wow that was tough’. You don’t realize you’re going through a culture shock or some sort of adjustment because you’re living it. I really wanted to do my masters here in the US and India was just opening up at that time, this was 2000, and so we were just opening up economically. I was just on a high so I didn’t really think of the challenges or how difficult it would be. If you know how hard it’s going to be, you’ll probably get scared, but I wasn’t scared because I was looking forward to something different. So you just can’t be fearful of failure. When you’re starting something new, things will not go as you plan so it’s best to have a goal but be open to changes and life taking its own path. You won’t always come out on top, so don’t give up if things don’t go your way. Things didn’t always go my way and I always knew they happened for the best because when one doors closes, another one opens.”


So you just can’t be fearful of failure. When you’re starting something new, things will not go as you plan so it’s best to have a goal but be open to changes and life taking its own path. You won’t always come out on top, so don’t give up if things don’t go your way. Things didn’t always go my way and I always knew they happened for the best because when one doors closes, another one opens.”


I feel like I grew up because this experience. I always look at my life in two phases: the life I’ve lived in the US and the life before that. I had a very good life in India, I came from a good family, had a good education, had a good job, it’s just that I’m just a different person now. I also feel that socially it’s a lot more free in the US. I think that really made a difference to be able to live life on my terms.

Guy with dreads:
“When I was twenty, I quit my normal job and started doing trail work for national parks and have been doing that ever scene. I’ve worked in a lot of parks. My favorite one is Olympic National park, in Washington, which is where I’m from. It was scary when I started, just going somewhere where you don’t know anyone. Back home, everyone has this preconceived idea of who you are and then you go somewhere new and you’re actually who you really are. The people I worked with are the best part. Being with good people and learning more about myself from people I don’t know than people I’ve known for like fifteen years is really special. And it definitely got me outside more, so it opened up my mind to something different. I wasn’t a woodsmen type of guy, I didn’t like sleeping in a tent or anything, until I got out there and had good experiences with those people. Now I’m more comfortable doing that than doing anything else. When you’re starting something new you just have to have an open mind and if you feel uncomfortable that’s okay, I mean you learn from it. Even if you’re doing something that you learn you don’t want to be doing, you learn from that. Just keep moving forward.”


Girl with long blonde hair:

“I just recently go into backcountry skiing, I’ve never done it before. I’m from Chicago, so it’s a really flat land, and my friends at school were like let’s go backcountry skiing, if you’re up for it. And we just had an awesome time and now I love it. So I went to school up in Fort Collins at Colorado State. I’ve skied in Cameron Pass, a couple of places in Wyoming, and just kind of up north a little bit. It was awesome. I had no clue what I was doing but it just felt so cool to climb up the mountain and then ski back down. I think I just realized that I’m with people that I trust and they want the best in me so I shouldn’t be scared. I trusted that they’d put me in a good route and not down some super crazy shoute. I was surrounded by people I really liked. And now I’m obsessed with skiing and I just want to work at ski resorts all the time. I found a new passion and realized that I could do more in the backcountry that I thought I could. If you’re starting something new, just go for it. Don’t let the uncertainties stop you from doing it. Everyone gets nervous, I was super nervous before backcountry skiing for the first time, but then at the end I was just so happy I did it.”


Wilderness Guy:

“Something that I started new in my life was deciding to leave everyone and everything I knew to go connect with nature in an intentional way through learning the plants and making medicine with them and learning how to trap animals. I knew that I just really cared about that. I just had to go find people who could teach how to do that.  I moved to Washington to do that with Wilderness Awareness School and spent seven years doing that. I think it gave me a lot of language around ideas that I already had but didn’t know how to express. It helped me to make sense of experiences that I’ve always had that felt normal to me but sounded weird to other people. Whether it was seeing a wild animal and being really excited about it and wanting to go follow the fox, in a way, or even just listening to someone tell a story about crows chasing hawks. I heard that story on a recording and told my mom about it and as I was telling her about it a crow flew across the sky. So as I was telling my mom what I had heard I was interrupted by it actually happening. So experiences like that became really normal, over time. I had one friend who had gone ahead of me by a couple years, so hearing his stories and having that connection meant that I didn’t have to leave everything behind. That sometimes makes all the difference. And the fact that Wilderness Awareness School is a community and is entirely focused on catching people who are going and doing something seemingly crazy and bringing them together. People who are starting something new in their lives should just take the time to really figure out what makes them happy and what makes them feel useful, and those might be separate things. And figure out what makes you feel alive and what makes you feel sad. Just really actually ask those questions of yourself and hopefully you have people in your life who you can ask in your life and ask like hey what do you see because we get really caught up in what our process is and other people can see things a little clearer sometimes.”


Space Camp Lady:

“I would say this space camp sponsorship. I started Four Corners Space Camp because I wanted to help kids who were interested in math and science and engineering. It’s energy draining and exciting at the same time. You get as much energy as you give – conservation of energy! I recruit locally because a lot of people haven’t heard of the camp and it’s in Huntsville, Alabama. I taught math and science at Miller Middle School for along time and I’ve been in administration. I followed in the footsteps of someone who’s done it before, I really relied on my mentor. And I really believe that by recruiting the kids that are interested in this, it feeds the Aerospace program at the high school. This program gives me hope. I think it changes me because I’m a messenger to say that kids these days are smart, they do care, they have vision. I think kids get a bad rep, but they’re our future. If you want to start something, I would say to make sure it is a passion because the hard work that it takes is really hard and if you have a love for it instead of something you’re not really interested in it’ll fizzle. It’s your passion for it that’ll make it continue.”


Sophia Holt:

“Well, this season in DHS Troupe 96 I have taken on the role of apprentice to the Dramaturg. The real Dramaturg is Stella Potemkin. That role is the person that like analyzes the script and looks at the historical aspect of it all and make sure it all adds up. For example, in our play right now, 9 to 5, it’s set in 1979 and we’re looking at specific things that need to be aligned with that time period or they wouldn’t make sense. So for example, the printers that we’re going to have in the show are going to have to be printers that you would’ve seen in 1979, not like ‘80’s printers or a different technological type of printer. It’s really fun and it’s new. The Troupe hasn’t had one in the past. I think it’s pretty common in theater, I assume it’s very common in real theater. It feels cool because I have an important, new role and I’m excited for what it holds. I interviewed for it, and I didn’t want to at first because I thought someone else would get it and thought I would have some competition. But then they told me I was the only one up for the position so that kind of took away the fear. And now I know a lot more about 1979. No, it’s actually put a lot more responsibility on me because on previous shows I’ve only been on a crew or an apprentice, but this is like the real deal. People depend on me. I guess if you want to do something new in your life, just go for it. You never know what’ll happen. Don’t let your fears get you down.”