Vermont was full of firsts for me. My first birthday in the RV. My first time catching a fish from a kayak. My first large-mouth bass. My first time fly fishing. My first Vermont grand slam. My first time swimming at a nude beach, nude. All equally as amazing, yet such different feelings.
There is something so distinct about this state that I can’t quite put into words. I have never felt so in touch with both nature and myself. Maybe it’s the constant rivers and creeks flowing through backyards and under roads, maybe it’s the sun setting behind the mountains, maybe it’s the amazing people we’ve met along the way. There’s a unique type of happiness that can be found here.
At home, I was always on the move bouncing between one thing to the next with my friends. We had a routine. We’d get off work, go straight to the beach and then hit the bars or a friends house to hangout, staying up until three or four in the morning enjoying each others time and I loved every second of it. But, out here, I am alone in my thoughts more and everything is done at a much slower pace. I find myself getting lost in my head quite often when I’m surrounded by nature, sometimes even when I’m working, but it’s hard not to with such eye-capturing views around me.
The world isn’t meant to be industrialized and populated everywhere and Vermont really put that into perspective for me. There are more people in Indianapolis alone than there are in the state of Vermont. An entire state doesn’t compare to a populated city. That’s so special to me. It brought me back to what I imagine my ancestors felt when hiking or fishing for a living, for their health, their well-being. Of course, you can’t compare the two, evolution has made that impossible. But this journey is already changing me and forming into the person I feel I am meant to be.
I knocked off four different species this week — the large-mouth bass and a Vermont grand slam which includes a Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and a Brook Trout all caught on the fly and in the same body of water. We took lessons from Tom Rosenbauer and Shawn Combs at the Orvis headquarters in Manchester where they taught us everything we needed to know about fly fishing and then took us to catch wild fish in the creeks. They really did a fantastic job and our results showed that. On my first cast into the creek, I hooked up on a Brown Trout — the only one of the day and the largest fish of the afternoon. Shawn and Tom were raving about how coordinated we were and how quickly we picked up the technique. We really impressed them but I think I impressed myself more.
Learning from Tom Rosenbauer was an honor as well. I didn’t realize how famous he was in the fly fishing community until after we were done fishing with him. He is an icon and a professional fly fisherman, an author, a kind and humble man and an excellent teacher.
I may have found my new passion in fly fishing. There is something so rewarding about being able to snap the fly into a little crevice between the rocks and pull out a two or three inch trout. Who would have thought catching a small fish would feel so gratifying? It’s an art I never understood but can tell I will love. It’s kind of like speed dating but with fishing rods — if the fish doesn’t bite by the third or fourth cast, move up the creek to another pocket of water and try again.
Vermont has stolen my heart in a million little ways. Thank you.