Some of my favorite memories were made in wide open spaces. From rides in the back of pickup trucks, to nights on the margarita deck of our friend's ranch, to post-breakup drives on highway 287 with my friends, wide open spaces have consistantly played a role in the times in which I was my happiest. Consequently, it came as no surprise to the people who know me best when I chose to go to the University of Wyoming. While I don't mean to offend any city dwellers, nothing beats the beauty of the great plains. Here's why everyone needs to get out in the middle of nowhere:

1. Scientific studies have supported the idea that focusing your eyes on far distances helps to reduce anxiety.

2. You feel like you're in a rustic Santa Land when it snows and the winters are magical.

3. To be honest, the spring isn't that bad either.

4. ...or the summer...

5. ...or fall...

6. In the words of Natalie Maines, you've got "Room to make big mistakes." Want to teach your 10-year-old brother to drive a truck? You can. Want to set off illegal fireworks? You can. Wide open spaces make room to bend the rules.

7. Clean air -- you can't get it in the city. Even my small suburban neighborhood lungs can tell the difference in the air quality.

8. There's no better place to watch a storm come in. While extremely intimidating, nothing compares to the power of an incoming thunderhead. Just be sure to have some cover.

9. There isn't a night without excellent stargazing. With no lights to drown out the sky or buildings to block your line of sight, the cosmos demands its presence over golden plains.

10. Open space is timeless. Typically, this kind of landscape looks exactly as it did 150 years ago and it will look the same in another 150 years. How awesome is that?

11. Sunsets and sunrises make everything look cool. Silhouette pictures, anyone?

12. You can embrace your country-life-alter-ego. Given the fact that open space is not so densely populated, it can be easily arranged to experience this side of yourself with no witnesses if you're a bit too shy to let your inner Tim McGraw or Miranda Lambert out. (However, plenty of my friends would testify to the fact that I am not so ashamed of this.)

13. It's an introvert's paradise. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the noise and pushiness of urban settings. You don't have to go far before you get some peace and quiet to recharge.

14. You can stumble upon strange places. I'm never prepared for how quickly the landscape changes from canyon, to red rock, to the snowy range, to open plains on highway 287 between Fort Collins and Laramie. Vedauwoo seemingly pops out of nowhere on I80. "You never know what you're gonna get."

"I wanna look at the horizon and not see a building standing tall. I wanna be the only one for miles and miles." -- Natalie Maines