Introducing Friends – Tracey Flower – Bright Stars Big Mountains

Last month I was inspired to start a “Meet a Travel Blogger” series by a new friend, Kana Imamura. This month I decided it was a great opportunity to feature a dear friend, Tracey Flower who writes at Bright Stars Big Mountains. I’ve known her for 6 or 7 years, and have always enjoyed reading her blog. Honest and heartfelt are two adjectives that come to mind when I think about her writing. I am looking forward to having her back in Colorado and I hope you enjoy getting to know her!

Tracey Flower, Bright Stars Big Mountains

Tell us about yourself.

Tracey with her close knit family.

Let’s see… I’m a writer. I love being outdoors; going for a long hike or bike ride is my favorite way to relax and re-energize. I’m really close to my family, I’m the oldest of four kids – two sisters, one brother – and we all got a long pretty well growing up and then grew up and somehow ended up still really liking one another, which makes holidays and family get-togethers really fun.

What motivated you to start your blog, Bright Stars Big Mountains?
Tracey Flower, Bright Stars Big Mountains

In the beginning I started it because I wanted a reason to write, you know, something to keep me accountable. For awhile I thought I did it because writing helps me sort through my thoughts and understand how I feel about things happening in my life and in the world. And, that’s still a big part of it, but somewhere along the line I realized I enjoy sharing those thoughts, ideas and feelings with other people. I hope that what I have to say might resonate with someone else or start a conversation.

Where is home?
Tracey hiking in Colorado with wildflowers and mountains in the backdrop.

I like to say my roots are in Michigan but my heart is in Colorado. I grew up in South Haven, Michigan, a small resort town on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the southwest corner of the state. I went to college not far away from there and then moved to Vail, Colorado right after I graduated. I lived there for just over ten years before moving back to Michigan, to Grand Rapids, a little over a year ago. Now, I’m getting ready to move to Denver. So, home is something I’ve thought a lot about, especially recently. Here’s what I’ve realized: I’m at home when I’m with my family, with my parents, my siblings, my niece and nephew, all of whom live in Michigan. But the only place that’s every really felt like home to me is Colorado. Home is equal parts in the mountains and with my family, even if those two things aren’t always in the same place.

Tracey, hiking in Moab, Utah.

So you aren’t a travel blogger, but this is a travel blog, so tell us about the place or places that have impacted you most.

Moab, Utah is one of my favorite places in the world. I have a lot of good memories from trips to Moab. My friends and I would always go out there for a long weekend after ski season ended – it’s about a four-hour drive from Vail – to thaw out. I love the landscapes there, the red rocks, the snowy peaks in the distance, the river winding through it all. It’s a really special place.
Yosemite National Park in late April/ early May when the waterfalls were near peak flow from all the snow run-off. Photo: Tracey Flower.

Yosemite National Park is another favorite. I went there for a yoga and hiking retreat last spring and it was a pretty amazing experience. It was late April/ early May and the waterfalls were near peak flow from all the snow run-off. It was spectacular.

I also visited San Diego, California a few months ago, which was significant because it’s the first trip I’ve ever gone on alone. I’ve been trying to get up the nerve for awhile to do some solo traveling so it felt good to finally do it. And, of course San Diego is just beautiful. Before I went I was told I should eat an acai bowl – which they serve at pretty much every cafe or coffee shop in the city – early in my trip because it might be all I want to eat for the duration of my stay and I did on both counts, so I’ll just pass that tip along to anyone visiting San Diego for the first time.

Where are you headed now?
I’m kind of in the middle of some big changes right now. In addition to moving to Denver, I recently decided to shift my career from working in nonprofit organization management to being a full-time freelance writer, which is both the most exciting and most terrifying thing I’ve ever done.

Anything else you would like to share?
In light of all the changes in my life right now I’ll say this to anyone out there considering taking a new path, which I know can be so scary: just do it, and if you try to do it and chicken out, just try again. I knew pretty soon after I moved to Grand Rapids that it wasn’t going to be for me, but it took a few attempts to finally hit go on a change of direction. Also, don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking about you and your choices. This is not the first time in my life I’ve realized I was in a place I didn’t want to be and decided to change that – I transferred from one university to another my junior year of college and then transferred back after one semester – all that matters is that you can put your life together in a way that’s meaningful to you, to paraphrase my favorite quote from Fred “Mister” Rogers. If it makes you happier, or even if you think it might make you happier, it’s worth doing.

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Introducing Friends – Tracey Flower – Bright Stars Big Mountains

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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