“Don’t know why anyone would want to live out here,” the tourist informed me. “There’s nothing but limestone and lizards.” If only he’d really looked – there’s so much more. Every time I take a hike, even if it’s one I’ve done dozens of times, I find something new and wonderful. Driving to work can produce jaw dropping moments, whether it’s a sunrise over the Chisos Mountains, a startled mule deer, or a small cactus bloom that wasn’t there the day before.
My name is Malynda, and since 2000, I have lived just outside of Big Bend National Park. I came here as a visitor and decided to try to stay and make it my home.Terlingua isn’t necessarily an easy place to live and there’s a saying that you don’t get to decide to live here; the desert decides whether it will let you. The desert has dished out some pretty harsh lessons over the years, but apparently decided I was worthy of staying. Summer temperatures regularly reach 110 degrees, the nearest real grocery store is 80 miles away, the nearest movie theater and shopping mall is over 200 miles away, and everything in the desert will either stick or sting you. Furthermore, decent jobs are few and far between, and like many permanent residents I have two, and sometimes three, jobs. Currently, my main job is as a paramedic with the local ambulance service, but I have also worked as a river guide, a high school math teacher, and an accountant. Multitasking and flexibility is a requirement. My friends and former coworkers back in the big city think I’m completely crazy, but I love it here. I get to live in a continually fascinating place, populated by some incredibly talented people. So, come take a peek at life in Terlingua and the Big Bend. There’s no place on earth like it.