After a four year hiatus, I am thrilled to have returned home to Colorado and to the Colorado Water Trust. In 2017, I left my full-time position as Development Director at the Water Trust to travel with my family on a world journey that would take us to 20 countries on five continents. With only backpacks on our backs, my husband and two boys and I left our comfortable home in Louisville, Colorado and spent the next year hopping from hotel to hostel to RV to AirBnB throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Morocco. During that time, I helped out at the Water Trust with grant writing and social media. I researched and photographed rivers I visited around the world and shared them on Instagram. That year-long journey was filled with amazing experiences big and small and was by far the best thing that my family and I have ever done.

Upon returning to the U.S, I got a job in the travel industry. All was well until 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a halt. I found myself in lockdown in a 750 square foot apartment with my husband and two kids and no job. I went from jet setting around the world to not venturing further than the grocery store for months on end. With travel no longer an option and many of life’s distractions out of the way, it became an important time of self-reflection and learning. I was able to focus on what is really important to me and my family closer to home.

In 2021, we decided it was time to return to Colorado. We were fortunate to find a home in Lafayette and have settled back into life as we knew it before our world journey. The experiences of the past four years have definitely changed me – I believe for the better. But throughout this time, my love for Colorado has not waivered. Colorado is an amazing place to live with extraordinary natural beauty. And our rivers and streams are what allow us to call this great state home. As drought conditions worsen across the West, the work of the Water Trust to restore flows to Colorado’s rivers in need is more important now than ever before and I am honored to be a part of it, investing in this place I call home.

As we approach the end of the year and Colorado Gives Day on December 7th, I hope you’ll join me in focusing on one of the most important local issues: namely the state of water in the West. As extremely dry conditions and increased demand threaten flows on our state’s rivers, your financial support will help Colorado Water Trust keep our rivers healthy and flowing through win-win, collaborative projects that benefit people and the planet. Please join me in donating to the Colorado Water Trust on Colorado Gives Day and make an investment in the rivers that allow us to call this great state our home.

Megan Begley is Donor Engagement and Communications Manager at Colorado Water Trust. She can be reached at mbegley@coloradowatertrust.org.