When I was fifteen my parents asked me if I wanted to move across the country to Utah. I said yes.
I grew up about seven miles outside of Boston. I took the public bus to school or walked, the train was a straight shot into the city and a quick walk from my house. In my area of town, the majority of the houses are duplexes...so two families live there, usually one above the other.
My mom loves being outside and both of my parents are health fanatics so they would always be running, walking, biking, rollerblading, etc. to get from place to place whether it be to walk the dogs or go to the grocery store. I would usually get dragged along, thus I have seen myself as a generally fit person. I do have asthma, but now a days who doesn’t?
Anyway, when I was fifteen my family and I picked up everything, stuffed our life into two cars and drove across the country to our new home in Park City, Utah. Park City is located about forty-five minutes outside of the state capital, Salt Lake City. Park City has three large ski resorts along with other mountains for training. In short, there are a lot of mountains.
Professional athletes come to the high altitude to train and work on their breathing and stamina. Almost everybody in Park City is active in some way whether it be mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, tennis or any other sport. The kids I went to school with were all in shape and seemingly lead very healthy lives. There was one Starbucks in the town and they recently opened a Burger King. It isn’t some tiny town with lots of ski bums living in huts, Park City is expansive with many newly constructed areas both residential and entertainment. Park City is also incredibly wealthy. Celebrities fashion the town, especially around Sundance (film festival) season. A listers such as Michael Jordan and Justin Bieber, to name a few, own houses there.
Many kids I knew had the ability to have personal trainers and all of their parents sure as hell had them too. People loved being outside though. Unlike Boston or New York where the weather is unpredictable and the people are always rushing around, Park City was sunny almost every day and strangers would stop you mid-hike or in a store to have full conversations with you. Everybody was much more laid back and genuinely happier than those at home.
I moved back to the boston area a year later because I wanted to finish schooling here but a few things have stuck with me:
The vibe on the west coast/the western part of the country is way more relaxed which is a much better thing to be around.
I have never been in better shape in my entire life than when I lived in Park City. I also had very no problems with my asthma, I may have gotten one cold all year, and my skin was brilliant.
Wealthy is healthy.
Close communities that need to rely mainly on themselves (since the next town over is fifteen minutes on a highway) lead to happier families and a nicer way of growing up.
Overall I believe that, as much as I love where I live now and think that Boston is an amazing city, if I had spent my entire adolescent life in Park City, I would have a higher quality of living which includes being healthier.