I have to say that life in Bullhead City, Arizona is quite different from what I am used to and I have been experiencing a bit of culture shock. There are plenty of things to be appreciated as well as plenty of things that have helped me to have a deeper appreciation for the life I had built in Denver.
The skies here are absolutely incredible. Some of the most beautiful skies I have seen anywhere in the world whether it’s a sunset, a sunrise, a clear day, a cloudy day or a moonlit night. Every single day I look up in awe at the skies. And despite the extreme heat of the summers, I love the weather here. Although I am not crazy about the wind (which can be quite intense and last days or weeks at a time during the winter), the temperatures here are much warmer year round. I have always struggled with the cold temperatures in Denver (and even the not so cold temperatures) so I am loving the Arizona heat. And I certainly don’t miss shoveling, scraping windows or driving in the snow and ice. There’s a heated pool and hot tub in my mom’s gated community which has been my savior. I am there almost everyday, even now in December.
Everything here is easier…there’s very little traffic, parking is abundant and free, there are hardly ever lines anywhere and everything is cheaper. The thing that I am appreciating most is the simplicity of my life right now. Living at home as an adult rocks. I would highly recommend it to all of my friends over 30, at least for a short time. All I really have to worry about is going to work and taking care of my own social and self-care needs. My mom cooks for me, she takes care of the house and the grocery shopping and she makes sure my dog is fed and walked when I’m at work or out with friends. After spending over 10 years taking care of myself and someone else, it is such a nice break to be able to kick back and chill out a bit and sort of revert back to childhood. I know that this is temporary and my life will one day be as hectic as ever, so I am just soaking this in while I can.
But, things are different here. I sometimes feel as if I have stepped into the past. Bullhead City is a small town. A large part of the population is retirees and snowbirds, and most of the people that I have met around my age were born and raised here. Everyone knows each other, they all grew up together and the majority of the young people already have kids. I feel like an outsider here, and I get checked out more than ever before (not necessarily in a sexual way) especially when I’m decked out in my yoga gear, mala beads, etc. I look and dress differently than most of the people here and it’s obvious to the locals that I am new around here…it’s similar to the feeling of being the only white person in a foreign country.
Arizona is a very conservative state and Bullhead certainly aligns with that. I have been in Denver since I was 20 years old where it is progressive and liberal and people are open-minded, health-conscious, active and outdoorsy. It is a big city that is growing larger and larger. Bullhead is pretty much the opposite of what I am used to in just about every way and I am realizing how much I took Denver for granted, thinking that people would be the same everywhere. I will say that I am extremely grateful for both of my jobs because they’ve led me to some like-minded people. Most of the people that I’ve met at the dispensary are down to earth and seem more open than much of Bullhead. And the healing center is literally the only place where I’ve found other people as radically liberal and open as me that I can freely talk with about things the way I could at home.
Staying entertained isn’t easy. There is not a lot to do, especially for people my age. Bullhead is on the border of Laughlin, Nevada, a little gambling town that appeals to the older crowd. There is a small “strip” with flashy casinos. Inside, the casinos are old and smell of stale cigarettes but some of the bars and restaurants can be great for people-watching. The Colorado River runs along the border and when the weather is nice the locals spend a lot of their time at the river during the hot months, drinking, swimming, boating, jet-skiing. There are a lot of spots to hike that aren’t too far and hiking season lasts much longer here outside of the scorching summer months. And there are a lot of cool and unique cities that aren’t far away that I have been making some weekend trips to…so far I’ve made it to Sedona, Prescott and Vegas.
Although I never would have pictured myself living here in a million years, I don’t regret my decision to end my trip and I don’t wish that I was in Thailand right now. I know that I was led back here for a reason and I have grown so much from the experiences I’ve had in the past year. I needed to return home in order to allow myself to heal some deep and painful wounds and to begin to create the foundation for whatever it is that is next for me. And despite the sometimes strange and hillbilly ways of this town, this is the perfect place for me to that. I have to admit that there is something magical about the desert.
Things I Miss About Denver…
– The abundance of green. The trees, the mountains, the parks. Everything here is brown and I miss the green so much!
– Liberal and open attitudes. I am so used to being around liberal and open-minded people especially since I got into yoga. Not exactly the case wherever you go.
– Healthy living options. Another thing I have taken for granted in Denver. It’s so easy to be healthy. Restaurants, grocery stores, even convenience stores cater to healthy living. The closest Whole Foods (or anything remotely like that) is in Vegas which is a 90 minute drive away. And most of the restaurants are little diners serving comfort foods.
– Fun things to do. I admit that in the last couple years I lived there I didn’t take advantage of many of the fun things there are to do in Denver because I was so busy and consumed with other things…but having the option to do something if I wanted to is important. Bars, nightlife, sporting events, concerts, performing arts…
– Diversity. Not a lot of it here. And not just in race but anything different from the “norm.”