Marketing assistant & video content creator Cole shares his journey and how he found his way to The Adventure Company!
Colorado Summer Vacation 2016
Pulling out of Denver’s International Airport last Summer with my family, I could still see the mountains on the horizon. I have experienced the grief of having to leave certain vacation areas, but this feeling was like no other. It didn’t feel right to be leaving a place where I felt I belonged. That’s when I turned to my parents and informed them that I would be in Colorado the next Summer. They looked at me like there was no way I could stray a thousand miles away from our home in Michigan. Deep down, I knew that I had to return to the mountains. If that meant washing dishes in the back of a restaurant or continuing my streak of landscaping in the Summer, so be it. Either way, I knew that I would be waking up in one of the most beautiful locations our country has to offer.
Shortly after arriving home, I wanted to start contacting companies for next Summer in the Colorado area, but it was still only late July. Buena Vista, Colorado was at the top of my list for towns to contact regarding employment. My family and I had gone whitewater rafting here and I fell in love with the area. Mountains surrounding the valley with the mighty Arkansas River carving its way throughout, painted the perfect scene for someone who sought adventure. I knew that it was too early to begin contacting companies because they were still in the process of wrapping up their 2016 Summer season. I waited a couple more weeks and then I began sending emails all over. When I say all over, I mean Montana, Wyoming, and mainly Colorado. I must’ve emailed every white water rafting company in Buena Vista, CO in hopes of squeezing into an office position of some sort. That’s when I first began talking to the wonderful staff at The Adventure Company.
They had me send over a resume for them to look over and they noticed a small section where I mentioned that I had some video production/editing skills. We got to talking a little bit more about that and it was almost perfect timing for a position they had been thinking about for the following season. They had some pre-existing footage that was awesome, but it wasn’t ever converted into any video. That is where they saw me as a valuable asset. Marlene, the marketing manager at The Adventure Company, sent me over a bunch of raw footage to organize and create some videos for them. As a student studying Marketing at Central Michigan University, I found a system to maintain my school-work load and video production for TAC. Everything went smoothly with that process and then talk about coming out to Colorado for the Summer of 2017 began.
This talk began soon after I started my sophomore year and then I realized I still had about seven months before I could actually make the move for the Summer. The whole time I was in school this past year, sitting in my dorm room, I was just hoping for the time to go by fast. At school, I was always super busy with my work load and then I also got a job working at a Subway on campus. Needless to say, this made time fly by and before I knew it, it was exam week. It was hard studying for exams knowing that I was going to be out in the Colorado mountains in just a few short days. I did fairly well on my exams which was a relief and then it came time to pack for the Summer away.
Preparing for the Move to Colorado
My parents were very supportive in this whole process after it became more legit. I had been driving a 2004 GMC Sierra pick-up truck and it had just hit 250,000 miles on my trip home from school. We knew that this truck wasn’t going to be able to handle a trip to Colorado and back. We searched and searched until my parents and I came across a 2006 Ford Escape that was in good condition at a used car lot. They were so great and purchased the vehicle for me. I immediately designated this little SUV as my adventure vehicle. After months of preparation and saving up food and materials to make it through the Summer, the time had finally arrived.
The Trip to Colorado from Michigan
I knew that I would be having to say goodbye to my family when the time came, but I wasn’t as prepared as I had thought for the actual moment. My mom was in tears and I could tell my dad was bumming. This was hard on me but I held back my emotions because I knew the experience I was about to have was going to be one of the biggest highlights of my life. I jumped in the Escape and did just that, escaped. The idea of picking up and starting somewhere completely new intrigued my travel. Breaking away from all of the societal norms and daily tasks was such a relief. After approximately 13 hours of driving from Michigan, I had finally reached Colorado. I stayed with my cousin in Denver for the first night and we took a drive up into the mountains for dinner. I felt like I was home. The peaks touching the clouds, winding mountain roads, and the energy that powered the citizens was such a stimulating vibe.
I made my trip to Buena Vista the next morning and had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road. The sights were absolutely mesmerizing and the sun illuminated the mountainous landscape. As I neared BV, I was taken up into the Mosquito Mountains which are a stretch of foothills that border the Arkansas Valley along with the Collegiate Peaks across the way. I drove up one little hill and before I knew it, I was being welcomed by the snow-capped Collegiate Peak 14er’s. It was so nice to return to Buena Vista and the vibrant town and people.
Arriving in Buena Vista, Colorado
Pulling into The Adventure Company, I had a feeling of familiarity. I had seen videos of the shop and the company grounds, but it was entirely different to experience it first hand. I was greeted by some of the staff and they were absolutely amazing. Honestly, they have to be some of the nicest people I have ever met. Mark, the owner, gave me a tour around the company and informed me on the history of how TAC became what it is today. He helped me select a trailer to live in for the Summer and I got all of my belongings moved in. I’ve gotta say, living in a trailer without electricity or water hookup was very different from any way I had ever lived. I didn’t look at it as a negative, but a new experience for myself. I think today in society, we have become too accustomed to everything being at our fingertips. We begin to lose sight of how fortunate we really are. Moving out here to Colorado has really opened my eyes to so many new things in just the week I have been here. I have already learned how to live without things I thought I would always need in life.
Buena Vista Society
This has also given me the chance to disconnect a little from technology in my personal time and test myself on the beautiful and challenging mountain hiking trails. I’ve already done a few trails in my free time and found some time to fly fish. This area is ideal for fisherman and believe me, I’m already in love. Driving around town, I have recognized that a lot of people in this area are very active people who love to hike, mountain bike, raft, fish, mountain climb, and focus on the more important things in life. In my interactions with people out here, it is very apparent that everyone wants to live their life to the fullest and they all seek adventure. Everyone is super easy to talk to and we can have very down-to-earth conversations. This is very different from a lot of people back home. I don’t blame them for it either. I have noticed that we can very easily get caught up in our careers and money, which can sometimes force us to lose the focus on the important things in life. As someone who has experienced both types of societies, I can say that the people who seek to live their lives to fullest and focus on living a happy and healthy lifestyle, directly reflect that in their social interaction.
I am beyond stoked to be in such an amazing location with great scenery, endless activities, and amazing people. I know that this Summer is going to fly by, but I intend to soak up every last second of it because I’m going to miss it so much when I go back to Michigan. I can honestly say right now that there is a good chance I will be making the move out to the mountains after I complete my schooling. Until then, I am going to live it up this Summer in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and enjoy every minute of my job here.