Embracing Nevada: A Georgia Girl Moves West

Embracing Nevada - Val in Real Life
nevada - val in real life
Becoming a Nevadan…

Twenty-two years. Half of my life.

That’s how long I’ve called the Atlanta area home. (The other half was in Florida, for those that aren’t in the know.)

And now I’ve left the southeast. Sort of…

More on that in a moment.

My tapestry…

I’ve talked about the art of living with you before in a slightly different context. But largely I see it as an ever-changing tapestry we weave as we make choices and navigate events in our lives. There are factors in life that are in your control and others that aren’t. All have to be woven in. Sometimes it works beautifully, sometimes not.

So along with this major change in my life, comes a fair bit of navel-gazing, as you can tell.

Having spent the bulk of my life in Florida and Georgia, my first trip west in 1993 was life changing. I fell in love with the western landscape while spending a few months in New Mexico and Colorado during field camp for my geology degree. The land felt comfortable and invigorating.

However, the choices and events of life—the tapestry I wove—kept me in the southeast. Despite remaining in Georgia for so long, the siren song of the west never ceased for me. In fits and starts, I continued to travel and explore the west as an easterner since that formative experience as a 22-year-old college student.

Weaving my future…

pahranagat national wildlife refuge - val in real life
My beautiful Nevada…

I’m now finally living in the west in earnest. I’ve spent a large chunk of this year making the transition but I’ve officially moved my HQ to the Pacific time zone. More specifically northern Nevada, not too far from Reno. If you’d told me a couple of decades ago I’d end up in northern Nevada—and quite happily at that—I wouldn’t have believed you. Given my love of the northern New Mexico/southern Colorado region, I would have guessed landing there instead. But here I find myself, entranced by Nevada.

Why Nevada? Over the last few years, I’ve spent more time adventuring in the Silver State and it’s proven to be an ideal location as a western hub for me. Much like my first experiences in the west, it feels comfortable and invigorating; peaceful as well as exciting. The drama of the landscape and weather, the access to exciting places to ride and hike, and the climate suit me well.

As for the “sort of” part…

rhyolite - val in real life
Quirky, intriguing, and with adventure around every corner… that’s my Nevada.

I’ll maintain my Georgia outpost for the foreseeable future. Fred and George are still based there and I’ll be back frequently to spend time with them. And they’ll be joining me out west from time-to-time for fabulous new adventures as well.

None of this is to dismiss or diminish my time in the southeast. I’ve had some incredible experiences there that have been joyously woven into my fabric. But I’ve also had ample opportunity to explore its vast treasures. As fond as I am of the south and its beauty, obviously I’ve always longed to be in the west. And I now find myself with the opportunity to feed my soul with places and experiences that I’ve wanted for over two decades in ways that can’t be achieved through occasional visits.

More to come on my new stomping ground. I hope you’ll follow along as I figure out what this next section of my tapestry looks like.

great basin national park - val in real life
Nevada is no fly-over country, trust me.


  1. Big news! There are interesting places 0 and people 0 in that area as you are well aware. Best of luck on the transition to Western, uh, Western, um,,,,, Westerness?

    1. Hahaha! Thanks, buddy. And yes, so many very interesting places, and people, here. My to-do list is extensive! If you’re ever near Reno, give me a shout.

  2. I’ve spent all my life living in various western states. Of course now, we just travel from state to state depending on the weather. I have loved every inch of the west, and always find more to explore. The people, the space, the beauty. It never ends. Welcome to the West!

    1. Thank you, Mary. I’ve explored in bits and pieces. Very excited to finally be immersed. I’ve so enjoyed the images you’ve shared from your journeys. Hope we cross paths soon. Cheers!

  3. Good luck! Now I have a place to stay in northern Nevada. Yay!

    1. Come on, dude. The Manhattans are waiting… along with endless photography opps. 🙂

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