Day one of my trip to Pacific Northwest has been a 24 hour window of many ups and downs, both literally and figuratively.
I was leaving Cincinnati with a a lot of emotional reasons why some time away on the other part of the country would be good. Completing one full year at ArtWorks has been both fulfilling and frustrating. Both hopeful and stifling. While I feel very good about where I’ve been able to land after Grad-School the past year has been nothing short of ups and downs. Life ahead of me looks bright, but I very much needed some time away from work and professional endeavors. Several dating relationships have begun and ended in the past year. My hope a year ago was that I would take this trip With someone special rather than continuing to travel the world solo. I’ve had amazing opportunities to see this world of ours and it has enriched my life immensely. However, at 30 I’m tired of seeing beautiful vistas with me, myself, and I. They all agree, it would be better to share the breath taking moments of discovering our world with someone who excites me to discover their world. I left Cincinnati in the midst of a new relationship that had taken a very sharp and unexpected turn to confusion-town. Disappointing, confusing, and any other adjective that says “yeah, just go chill on the other side of the country…. don’t sweat this one for right now.” I’m still traveling alone, but I’m more confident in my ability to read my position in relationships. Sometimes I disappoint, sometimes I’m disappointed.
So nonetheless, getting to Portland when I did was a welcome change of pace. My cousin Laura and her husband Davey have got it made. All of the thought processes I have regarding “standard of living” versus “quality of life” they’ve got it figured out and it’s amazingly refreshing to see. I’m sure neither of them make a ton of money, They are squarely in the modern “middle class” making less than their education and capabilities justify but enough to provide them the means to have an enjoyable life. And boy have they! They have a lovely bungalow home in North Portland in the St. John’s neighborhood. It was probably a kit home back in the day when Sears Roebuck would sell kits and people would assemble their hours themselves. Yeah, those were the days. They work when they need to, but their life is squarely focused on the the things that give them pleasure: fishing, their dogs, their dream of running their own farm, time with each other, and the joys of nature. Never once do you perceive that they are in the pursuit of wealth. They are in the pursuit of happiness. Awesome.
It’s a funny thing when you wake up on the west coast at 4:15 am and realize that you’re body is waking up at its normal time (7:15am) but since you’re on the west coast, it’s earlier. After some coffee and and egg breakfast, Laura and I headed over to Forest Park for a hike/run. I’m not much of a trail runner, but I love running through the woods. There was a great semi-paved (gravel) road within Forest Park that allowed for a picturesque 4.5 mile round-trip run. This will be repeated.
Then it was a bus ride into Portland and let the day come to me. I’ve allowed technology to steer by day more than I initially intended. Between bus directions, a map to get my bearings, and a few brewery recommendations I really dropped the ball with my intention to just talk to people to find my way around the city. I’ve not been as ambitious with that as I have on previous trips.
I.Rode.The.Streetcar. WOOOOOAAAHHHHH!!!! The streetcar and the light rail just sorta blend in here. Which is what should happen. All of the hullabaloo over the streetcar pisses me off for no other reason than it boils down to a “car-entitled” transportation culture versus a “there are other viable options of moving from point a to point b” transportation culture. Yes, the streetcar likely spawned some transit-oriented-development in Portland, but more than that the various modes of transportation available here reflect a true freedom of choice in mobility. “Freedom” and “Choice” are rhetorical terms that conservative, generally anti-multi-modal persons like to throw around. But really it’s the other way around, when your ONLY viable mode of transportation is the automobile, you are imprisoned by giant corporate car companies, oil conglomerates, insurance companies and other private entities. Having options like a streetcar, to me, is real freedom of choice.
Laura and Davey are grilling salmon tonight. I’m stoked! I need to get back that way. OUUUUUUTTTT!