Everyone wants me to write, to take pictures, to send them stuff and capture everything but I feel very internal. I'm taking everything in but not sure if I can spit it all back out again, at least not extremely comprehensively. Sometimes I feel as if I'm doing something truly brave and everyone is excited for me. And sometimes I feel like I've just made it really easy for everyone to forget about me. I'm scared of disappearing. I keep going back and forth between freaking out that I'm doing this insane trip, worrying that I'll feel all alone and anxious– to feeling almost blissful, ready for the challenge and happy to take in all that this life has to offer me. Often it's simple: sitting and reading a book while looking out at nature is so peaceful and therapeutic. Sometimes I am really excited to be on my own, to not have to answer to anyone right now but myself. And sometimes I wish that I didn't have to think or work so much, that someone could make me breakfast, give me a kiss and tell me that everything is going to be okay. I guess that's called growing up.
I recently listened to one of my favorite podcasts: the NPR Politics Podcast. (Side note: I would marry Sam Sanders in a heartbeat but I'm pretty sure he's already married...and too old for me.) I loved hearing a bit of Obama's speech in Dallas during the memorial for the police officers who were killed. He said that "words are inadequate right now" and I connect with that so completely. I want to scream about all of the racial tension, heinous treatment to people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals etc. There's so much to yell about but my words often feel empty when I do say something. I worry that I will be looked down upon or with disgust because I don't publicly post or say certain things but I really feel sometimes that I'm meant to speak with my actions and not my words. Especially as a straight, white individual, I feel it's not my place to speak on these issues that I don't personally know that well. I'm trying to figure out my role in all of this and sometimes I think that means simply connecting with others. There's so much to be done but when I exchanged nice words and smiles with the gas station attendant (I don't know when I'll get used to that) the other day I felt like that genuine moment could move mountains. I'm not saying that I won't speak out, use my vote or voice to fight for others but I want to make a stand for personal connection– with people you love and strangers. I want to make a stand for it because while I'm going through a time of heartbreak– in more ways than one– those times of personal connection are what really gets me through.
My good friend Jocelyn came with me on the beginning of my adventure and we only stayed one night in Arcata, Humboldt County. However, it's not hard to get the overall vibes of the area and it was full of beautiful scenery and lovely people.
Tomo Japanese Restaurant — A hole in the way place with fantastic vegetarian sushi!
Arcata Scoops — This place is fantastic! Homemade ice cream and cones. I had their vegan mint chip flavor and am usually not a mint flavored fan, however, their organic ingredients were subtle and delicious. The shop has a wonderful commitment to sustainability.
Wildberries Market — I could kiss their bulk section! Such a cute little market with really friendly employees that were very excited when Jocelyn and I brought our own containers!
Renata's Crepes — Super yummy place that uses local eggs, meat and produce! They were happy to put cheese on the side for Jocelyn as we shared a savory and sweet crepe together. They also have a buckwheat batter option for those who are gluten free.
I'll admit, my introduction to Portland was Portlandia so I was expecting to only encounter pretentious white people but there of course is much more to the city. There are areas that are much more diverse than I expected and people that are much more welcoming or accommodating than I expected. A pleasant surprise! My favorite part of my stay in Portland was walking around the neighbor hoods or sitting and drinking a cup of coffee, just being and observing.
Powell's Books — Tons of used books, audiobooks and more to look through. Jocelyn and I split up and I scoured the sustainability and environmental studies sections. I went back a second time and sat in their cafe until I finished the book I was reading called There Goes Gravity. It was nice to observe all the people excited to be in a world full of books— lots of interesting characters including one man who was making beautiful little sculptures out of paper cups and napkins as he danced in his seat to the music on his headphones. I made eye contact with him a few times, and he each time had a huge smile on his face, but nothing creepy or annoying, just thoroughly enjoying himself!
PSU Farmers Market — I loved walking around this market on an overcast Saturday morning. Overcast skies are extended mornings to me and feel so cozy. This weather reminds me of home, the Bay Area, and makes me feel safe. There were some great street musicians performing and so much yummy produce!
Ovation Coffee — This was an unassuming looking place but with extremely friendly employees and really good coffee! Got hemp milk latte and so excited I was able to have that option. Can we talk about hemp milk for a second? I know that there's a bunch of people rolling their eyes to the thought of it but hemp milk is awesome! It is far more sustainable than almond milk and has protein in it, which for those of you who are vegan/vegetarian, is really helpful. I also have noticed that every latte I've gotten with hemp milk in it has been the tastiest EVER, just sayin.
The Bye and Bye — This place has delicious vegan "bar food". I walked there for an early dinner and got a meatball sub with chips and house-made salsa! There's a really nice patio area and it's all pretty open so I sat, read my book and drank wine for a little bit after I finished eating.
Shipwreck! — This place it adorable and sells vintage (and "modern") clothing . There's lots of 40s and 50s items which tend to be a more "cutesy" vibe that I don't always subscribe too, but I found a really cool black jumper. Good vibes and great music being played.
Extracto Coffehouse — I had another delicious hemp milk latte! Also a place playing great music because Portland knows good indie music.
Blossoming Lotus — I expected this to be really "crunchy granola" but it is very classy and simple, in a nice area and good food/service.
Mcmenamin’s Bagdad Theater — This is a super fun theater where I saw Ghostbusters. If you sit in the balcony seats you can order dinner and it will be brought to you! I had a beer and delicious Kale Cesar before the movie, it was sort of the best thing ever except for I definitely had to pee half way through the movie (those who know me are really not surprised.) When I was ordering beer I asked for a recommendation and the guy working was really nice and explained what hops are to me without shaming me for not knowing before...apparently I like hops. Noted.
Sweedeedee — Wow, there was a long wait but I brought my book and sat in the grass until they called my name. There weren’t that many vegan options but I still wanted to go because it had so many good reviews on yelp. Even though it was a long wait and my meal was simple I’m really glad I went. It’s such a cute place with incredibly nice staff and yummy stuff!
Red E Cafe — Never have I had so much coffee than when I was in Portland... I got a latte in my to-go mug from a really sweet barista who didn’t make fun of me when I didn’t realize the menu was right in front of me. There was also some cool art by a local artist on the walls!
Cup Coffee Co. — Incredible service and great coffee!
Week 1 Playlist
Music plays a big part in my life, especially when I'm alone. I've decided to put together a playlist each week of what I'm listening to. These are songs that I heard, played or thought of this past week while traveling:
- Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield
- Ramble On by Led Zeppelin
- Freazy by Wolf Alice
- Eventually by Tame Impala
- Hang on to the Night by Tegan and Sara
- Elastic Heart by Sia
- Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) by Digable Plants
- Just Sayin/I Tried by The Internet
- Hiijack by Sza
- Taro by Alt-J
- Garden by Hinds
- Trying by Bully