One of the best parts of my job is meeting new people from all walks of life. And another great part of my job is walking all parts of the earth. Yes, real estate agents sell houses, but mountain agents also frequently sell lots of land. As you can imagine, this is a little easier in the summertime than in the wintertime… but it’s kind of fun in the wintertime too. I like to give potential buyers tours of my lots so that they understand everything and if they have questions, they can mostly be answered right there. So, on any given day, I may be walking these lots (57 acres total) with multiple people whom I’ve never met. And there is a lot of walking to be done. On the way up the hill, I’m doing all of the talking (pant pant)! But at some magical point, the buyers’ questions have been answered and then the chitchat begins. Here are some things I’ve learned through that chitchat.

As I’m walking downhill, I overhear the two men behind me talking. One says the word didgeridoo. Now, it’s not common to overhear that word. And you can’t just let it go by! I turn around and say, “Kudos to you for working the word didgeridoo into a sentence.” He replies, “Thank you. I was just telling Matt about my didgeridoo lessons.” Now I have a confused look on my face and I feel like someone’s yanking my chain. The man goes on to explain that he has recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea. He was told by his sleep therapist that there has been medical research showing that learning to play the didgeridoo improves sleep apnea. It has to do with the circular breathing that you use when playing the instrument. It strengthens the muscles in your airway and is a non-invasive way to treat sleep apnea. And now I consider how I’ve learned my one thing for the day and should probably just go home because it’s not going to get any weirder than that.

On another foray into these lots, I’m accompanied by a few Israeli businessmen. They are looking at building a luxury tiny home community in the foothills. It’s a beautiful fall day and the last of the golden aspen leaves are still clinging to the trees. Thanks to my Jewish upbringing, I learned a few Hebrew words. I figure that I can impress these men and they’ll be so surprised that they’ll pay double the asking price for this land! Unfortunately, all I remember is thank you (Todah) and hello (Shalom). Not really enough to impress, but at least they knew that I was grateful. And it was fun listening to them chatter in Hebrew and try to imagine what they were saying to one another.

On a bright crisp day after a heavy snowfall, I ventured the long way around these lots with a local man looking to build an earthship. We tramped through deep snow and had to stop several times to catch our breath. As we were walking up the road, I kept promising the ultimate view. The anticipation was building and multiple times we caught a glimpse between the trees, but when we finally reached the top, we could see a literal picture-perfect view of Mt. Evans. Then we got to talking about how to build a house to maximize the view. I have always been intrigued by earthships and green building techniques. This man had intimate knowledge of the process. Earthships or earth homes are designed to be maximally energy efficient and use the sun exclusively to heat the home. I learned that when I recycle my LaCroix cans, I shouldn’t crush them because there may be someone digging through a trash pile looking for cans for their earthship and crushed cans are unusable. I also learned that true earthship homes can be expensive to build because they require a specialized building crew, but that you can make up that cost quickly by skirting utility bills.

By far my favorite day hiking through these lots was with a new friend and colleague. You know those people with whom you always have something to talk about? Conversation is easy, honest and open and there is never a lag. The sun is shining, we’re walking alternately between snow and mud, breathing crisp air and enjoying the feeling of our bodies straining up the hills. It was one of those days that gives you a reset so that you’re ready to jump back into your busy life with fresh vim and vigor.

Yep, I love my job.