Ode to Being in Telluride


I’m a “doer”, I make check lists and bucket list that get checked off.

I’m a yes girl, that is always in for an adventure.  

I’m a maximizer, I don’t sit around. 

“Being” does not always come natural to me. 

The thought of sitting in a hammock on a Saturday night 15 minutes from a new town that has live music, interesting people, good food, and beer is just stupid. Others might agree and even be mad at me considering I have a shiny, silver, all-access wristband to Ride Fest wrapped around my wrist. 

But here I am, in a hammock wearing flannel PJ pants and my college sweatshirt that don’t quite match on a Saturday night, writing as I listen to the hum of the Ride Fest headliner, Widespread Panic, in the distance. In this moment, this is what energizes me. This is where I am meant to be. 

Two months ago, my college self couldn’t fathom the thought of staying in and simply being on a Saturday night. Two years ago, when I was jet-setting across Europe during my study abroad, I would not entertain the thought of going back to the hostel early to simply be. I always had places to go and people to see. 

We are in Telluride, Colorado, a mountain town known for its quaint historical character, beautiful surroundings, art and summer music festivals. Every 4 out of 5 houses in Telluride is a second home to the rich and famous. Only 2,300 residents call Telluride home 365 days a year. I felt excitement and peace rush over me as we pulled into town, encapsulated by the picturesque scene. I have always been attracted to cities with a natural escape. While Telluride is not quite a city, it’s got all you need – a couple good local restaurants, watering holes, hangouts, and shops. It’s got culture and character with a vibrant art scene and music ringing from the basement of side street bars and their big festival grounds. As for the natural escape, well it’s in every direction you look from the San Juan mountains to Bridal Falls.

I did my usual bit before I rolled into this seemingly unfamiliar town; I got the insider scoop from friends who visited in the past. First, we checked out their spots and from there, we asked the locals. With so much to do, what must I do? Quickly my to do list became too long for our three-night stay. 

On day one, I tried to calculate how we were to get it all in but a series of serendipitous events quickly took us off track. In that time, I laughed, cried, and thought - the three ingredients to a full day according to Jim Valvano. 

I am starting to accept that I don’t have to check everything off my bucket list in each stop to have a great experience. Simply being in a new place is often enriching in it of itself. Simply being in Telluride opened my eyes to a different sense of aliveness befriended the local EMS/ski patrol/pizza waiter guy and one of the band’s opening Ride Fest. 

I am starting to see that I don’t have to spend my days in my skewed view of a prescribed societal routine where Fridays and Saturdays are meant to be out socializing and doing. I don’t have to go out to be seen. I can be energized in different, perhaps even more fulfilling ways than hitting the town.

 Sure, I am a doer, a yes girl, and a maximizer, I don’t see that changing. But in this moment, I am energized by learning to be. 

To a purposeful adventure,


Katie O'Connel