Spending a few days in any one city hasn’t been something we’ve done too often, but Crested Butte, Colorado, is an exception. We were first introduced to the beautiful mountain town by WDAY TV News reporter Kevin Wallevand and couldn’t be more thankful to him for that. The scenery, mountain air, and generous people make Crested Butte a major highlight across the many miles Project Wildness has covered so far.
On Wednesday night we met some more incredibly generous human beings in Amber and Jake. As we left Talk of the Town's lively jukebox dance party Shane struck up a conversation with the two locals. They quickly showed interest in Project Wildness, and Amber didn’t even hesitate to offer us a place to hang out to get out of the rain. She invited us into her home and the five of us gathered to chat about travel, similar philosophies, and life in general. Jake’s questions about this project were some of the best we have encountered since the very beginning. He showed great interest and asked what, why, and how we were doing all of this. Both Amber and Jake had traveled the world a great deal but still found even the smallest details in our story interesting. Amber will leave in about a week for five weeks of travel in Europe. While she loves the beautiful town she’s called home for five years, she mentioned a feeling of stagnancy as she longs for the next big step into the unknown.
The early morning hours approached, and we silently wondered where we would be camping. As if she read our mind, Amber, a Texas native, said, “If y’all need a place to crash tonight you’re more than welcome to stay here. We’ve got the couch, floor, and a pull-out bed.” At 4:30am, the offer of a floor rings in the ears as desirable as a hotel suite. In minutes, Shane roared a snore and the rest were soon to follow.
Morning came and the sun begged our eyes open too early. Jake and Amber invited us to lunch at Teocalli Tamale, a local burrito and taco joint that sets you back next to nothing for a plate of beans and rice. We chowed and chatted up local gossip and even learned of a black bear that had found his way into a downtown tree overnight. While both Jake and Amber worked later in the day, both invited us into their workplaces later for a look around. Amber worked at The Ginger Café (Crested Butte, CO), the restaurant that Kevin Wallevand requested we check out and the reason we first visited Crested Butte.
Later, we followed Amber’s suggestion and went to eat at The Ginger Café. It’s possible their food was one of the best meals we’ve had in this whole journey. If you ever Travel Crested Butte, be sure to check it out! Before our meal was over Amber even offered her place for showers in the morning! It’s hard to tell whether that was out of generous hospitality or because almost a week of no showers really adds up. While we absolutely needed them, it was clear she offered with a sincere giving spirit. Before we left, we knew we had to recognize her selflessness in a tip. She had known us for less than 24 hours, but allowed us to stay in her home, hooked us up at the Ginger Café, and let the three of us use her shower. She trusted in strangers and gave without expecting to receive – one of the most noble traits a person could have. Amber is a perfect embodiment of what Project Wildness is all about. We can all take a lesson from someone like her and reserve judgment of others. Doing so could open up the door to new friends.
Give to others freely, openly, and honestly without hesitation or expectation.#ProjectWildness
To Pam and Hank… The two of you have been givers since I met you at a very young age. Countless times you’ve housed family, friends, and strangers just to help out, and to countless more you’ve offered. You give without the expectation of receiving anything from anyone. You simply do so because it’s who you are, and it’s the right thing to do. To your children and grandchildren you’ve passed on the love and care you show everyone around you. And what incredible results you have in every one of them. You’re true models for how we should treat others (and oftentimes animals) and for that we thank you.
To John W… When I heard you had given to Project Wildness through my friend, Cody, I couldn’t believe it. You gave to virtual strangers without any hesitation to do so. Like Amber, you put a great deal of trust in a few strangers based on their brief story. You gave without any expectation of receiving something in return. You just knew what felt right, and you acted on it. Thank you for being a part of Project Wildness, and know that what you gave went to a deserving young lady just as giving and just as kind.