Somebody pinch me. I am really doing this. This was the Best. Decision. Ever.

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming browsing Twitter and writing this blog post. On a beautiful 82-degree Wednesday. In the middle of the day. My feet are up. Coffee in hand. Just finished a delicious muffin, too. It had cranberry in it, I think – but not sure. I’m horrible with identifying berries.

I am really doing this.

Occasionally I peek out the window to glimpse as the passers by. Most are chatting. Some are on cell phones, but most are chatting with their significant others – actual in-person conversation, a lost art in most first world countries. The sun is doing its best to pierce its way through the smoky skies that hug Jackson Hole in all directions. The mountain west is on fire. Smoke is everywhere.

Most of us – probably visitors to Jackson Hole – seem happy. Content. We’re in one of the most expensive yet scenic vacation spots in the mountain West. The Teton Mountains knife upward to the west of town. About an hour ago, we watched a large herd of American Bison (aka: Buffalo) graze a few miles off into the distance, chomping on brown grass. Aside from the ruthless smoke, everything is in order.

I am really doing this.

For the past eight days, we roamed the towns of Jackson Hole, Victor and Driggs with family – tasting the local fare and photographing the hell out of the Teton Mountains – even as smoky as they currently are. We wake up every morning with the whole day ahead of us to do with as we please. Our days are full.

I am really doing this.

Smoke filled Teton Mountains

I learned quickly that Wyoming is a proud state. They are proud of their land. Their farms and cattle. They are proud of their mountains and weather, their resorts and outdoor activities. The people here are genuinely happy to hail from this mountain west state. They aren’t arrogant, just proud. Nobody has a photograph of Hawaii on their walls here. Screw Hawaii. Hawaii isn’t Wyoming. It’s nothing like it, in fact.

This is the real Wyoming. Photos here are of the snow-blanketed Teton Mountains in the winter, ski slopes, huge Buffalo with iciclesΒ hanging from their beards and frost holding on for dear life on their fur. Breath slowly rising in the bone-chilling winter air. Or hell, just cows. Or horses. Photos here represent livelihoods in this state. It’s thrilling to witness. It’s even better to be a part of.

The men are weathered and wear old sweat-stained hats and drive pickup trucks that could tell amazing stories…if only they had a voice. Or, perhaps it’s better that they don’t. Β πŸ™‚ Dogs everywhere. Shades standard.

It’s thrilling to witness. It’s even better to be a part of.

I am really doing this.Β Early retirement.

This early retirement thing for me has been much more than simply “not working”. Through our travels, I’ve learned so much about our country. Experienced different cities. States. Communities. Talked with so many different people (which is tough for an introvert!).

For me, early retirement has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Period.

That is all…oh, my apologies for the completely meaningless stream of consciousness post. πŸ™‚

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