Morgan Sjogren ➸ Running Bum

Writing to protect the soul of wild spaces

‘Sponsored by Zappos’

Prior to the pandemic my home was the road. Though I travelled far and wide around the west and world, I began to narrow in my homeland as the space within the Colorado Plateau. This dynamic 130,000 square mile landscape, where the desert meets the mountains, has been shaped by water and wind over millennia. While it’s geography gave me a boundary on my self-selected territory, the complexity of its terrain that wrinkles, uplifts, and folds into itself to form canyons and mountains provides ceaseless wonder.

Then this spring at the first mention of the word pandemic my world, like everyone’s, felt like it closed in on me. Home suddenly became centered in one place, in one town, in one climate zone for the first time in my recent memory. My Jeep battery even died because I didn’t drive anywhere. Though I’ve contemplated the need to settle down, I always figured it would be on my terms someday when I felt ready—not dictated by world events. 

When many of the wild places I also call home were shuttered to non-residents, I felt remarkably displaced even though I was living in a real house full-time. I grieved the way my life used to be. I feared losing the grit and self-reliance I’d honed from living out of doors. What would become of the spark that ignites my spirit when exploring wild places? I also felt lost without my typical coping mechanism for stress–constant movement.

In this newfound stillness I am slowly finding comfort in the familiarity that comes from sensing the change of seasons in a consistent place–Autumn kissing the Aspen leaves with their first colors, the crisp feeling in the air, the shift in the angle of the sun’s light. This physical presence throughout seasonal change is one way I’ve learned to recognize home as a nomad.

I’ve pulled on new layers of myself in these seasons, in this unprecedented year. The knowledge of myself that comes living alone in the wild, has been heightened by the contrast of centering myself and home to one place alongside a man I love dearly. Nights at home together by the fire are cozier than they once were alone in the back of my Jeep. A life of adventure and independence can dwell alongside one of shelter and companionship.

With this newfound comfort I am reconciling my fears–I have not ever lost my ability to drive my life off-road beyond the confines of one place. Even when I am sheltered in place, my words run wild–everywhere.

When I look down at my Ruby Slippers, Merrell Jungle Mocs, it all makes sense. They are super soft and cradle my feet like pillows, stylish when paired with my “going out clothes”, and the durable exterior tread can help me stay afoot on even most rugged terrain. I click my heels together three times, whether in the living room or out on a steep trail, and I can assure myself that in both cases, “There is no place like home.”

Shop for your own pair of Merrel Jungle Mocs (what I think of as my all-terrain slippers) through Zappos here:

Zappos offers fast and free shipping, a 365-day return policy and world class customer service!

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