Walking in Denver03 October 2013
Once again, being a couch surfing host gave me a reason to get out of my apartment and be productive. And on such a beautifully sunny day, who wouldn't want to go for a stroll?
This time I had the opportunity to host Alma and her little dog, Itzel, who were heading up to Portland from Oklahoma. They had a day to spend in Denver so I offered to be their guide.
But during this tour I realized, even though I've almost been living in Denver for 2 months now, I feel like I hardly know the city. Do you know what I mean? Like, I know it's a big city and there's probably a lot going on but where? How do I get to know a city when I have no reason (school, work, etc) to compel me to learn the streets and neighborhoods? I don't have any classmates or coworkers inviting me to so-and-so bar. All I have is Google and the Denver events calender to figure out what's going on in this city.
And I suppose a lot of my problem is my line of thinking. So often I feel like I'm looking for a story instead of just enjoying my new hometown. Thoughts like "But if I can't blog about it, what's the point?" and "If I'm not developing content for my website, I might as well just stay at home and write." constantly float through my mind and dictate what I do each day. That in combination with being broke makes it hard to get out and explore.
So what did we end up doing with our afternoon in Denver? Well first, we walked the 16th St mall. This is a completely pedestrian street that's brimming with shops and restaurants. There's always something to do or you could just sit and people watch. Note: Denver has some really interesting people. I asked one guy if I could take a picture of him and his dog and his response was "yes but don't put it on the internet- I have two felonies."
After some walking we worked up an appetite but luckily there are many food options along the mall. And with it being open air, there are lots food trucks along the way to try (Denver has a thing for food trucks, btw). From cupcakes to BBQ, there's literally everything. We decided to try takoyaki, a traditional Japanese street food. Verdict? Loved the flavors but couldn't get over the creamy center. A bit of a disappointment for something that I had dreamed of trying for so long!
After that was a bit of wandering that led us to the Oktoberfest! If you didn't know, this area of Colorado is known as the Napa Valley of Beers or the Denver Beer Triangle for the massive number of breweries that are located here. I guess that explains why the inhabitants love beer so much? Every other weekend there's some sort of festival going on that gives the denizens of Denver and excuse to try a pint of some new beer.
It was pretty entertaining to stroll through, even though I wasn't drinking. There was polka music and traditional foods and even a stein holding contest. Once we had walked around a bit we decided to call it a day and head home.
So, what did I learn that day? I learned that being a travel writer is harder than I imagined and that simply being in a new place doesn't write a story for you. You have to be proactive and go out there and find a story. In truth, I have no writing or journalism training so this is all a learning experience for me.
I may not have it all together but there's one thing I do know: This is my dream career and I'm going to make it happen. I might mess up, run out of money, and get lost but it's all worth it. I will learn from my mistakes and keep trying!
How do you get to know a new city?