When I moved to Portland in August of 2009, I didn't have a plan. A few months earlier, my brother had told me he skied Mt. Hood in the morning and camped on the beach that same night. How cool, I thought. And so when the time came, I packed my little white Subaru with all of my belongings and headed west. My brother flew to Colorado to make the drive with me. He likes Phish. I like country. So we compromised and played Bruce Springsteen's "Working On A Dream" album on repeat for damn near 18 hours.
I didn't know what to expect or how long I'd stay. I just knew that I needed a change. Or rather—I thought that one day I'd return to the safety of the landlocked Rocky Mountains. Ask anyone. They'll tell you that Montana was always supposed to be my forever home. So with that in mind, I figured why not give the west coast and city livin' a shot for a year or two?
But I fell in love with the quirky wonders of Portland and two years became five. And then when the traffic became too heavy, the rent too high, and the bar scene old, I made another leap. I moved one step closer to my lifelong small town dream—to Central Oregon, to Bend, an outdoor adventure mecca. I skied about 50 days, made friends with the local baristas, ran along the river trail, and then six months in, following a series of serendipitous events, I took another leap. North and west to Sequim, a little town on the edge of the Olympic Peninsula. Population: 6,700. Median age: 57.9.
And that's where you'll find me now. Finding my home on this little slice of paradise. Where the mountains greet the sea. Where the cashier at the grocery store knows me by name, the daily news headlines include things like, "Carved Wood Bear Returned to Diner," the nearest Target is an hour's drive away, and where there's only one stand-alone Starbucks in a 300-mile stretch of the highway that connects us to the rest of the world. And where everyday, small things—a wave passing the neighbor's, a conversation with the convenience store owner, a Washington license plate—add up to make this place, this utterly magical place, feel like my forever home.