My next to last day in the wilderness of the Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, I had some words with the Universe. Right out loud I told her that I’m open and ready ready ready for whatever she has in mind for me and my life. (I may have been a little impatient and frustrated…) The next morning, when I woke to the pitter patter of rain on my tent, I heard her tell me it was time to return to Portland. I have to say I was surprised by this. I didn’t know I was…well, ready to go back just yet. But I did know I was tired of being wet. I love rain (the rainy seasons of the PNW have never bothered me; I’ve always found the rain cleansing and rejuvenating), but living in a tent in the outdoors in the rain is much different than occupying an actual home in a rainy place. Raincoats and canvas tents, even with hard tops and bottoms, only provide so much protection from the elements, and wet clothes don’t take long to smell up a car. So…I heeded the message. I packed in my tent for the “last” time, shed some tears at the idea of bringing my journey to an end, and set my sights (and GPS) on Oregon.
I had a mix of emotions all of the five or six hours I had to drive – and I drove it in silence, without the radio. I stopped a lot, paying extra close attention to all the sights and sounds and also my sensations. I had so much to think about. What a journey I’d taken!
It seemed to work out just right that I left Washington from the east side of the Cascades, as I got to re-enter Oregon in the Columbia Gorge and head to Portland on the route I’d come to the city just over four years ago. That drive was beautiful then, and it seemed even more vibrant to me after my journey – the trees, the rocks, the cliffs and waterfalls, the river, the blue sky and fluffy white clouds… It made me feel so alive! The sun and wind coming through my windows were exhilarating. All over again, it felt like I was coming home.
The closer I got to Portland, the more excited I felt. I’ve always loved walking along the riverfront, so I drove straight downtown, parked, and followed that path. I probably looked like a huge dork with my big grin and teary eyes, walking amidst bikers and runners and all the motorized scooters people are suddenly riding (how Portland!).
When I embarked on my journey, I wondered if I’d come back to this place. I’d never tired of the culture or atmosphere of Portland (I mean, hipsters are sometimes annoying, but you do you, boo; rock that skateboard with a cat on your shoulders!), and natural beauty abounds… Still the traffic and all the people were making me (and my headspace) feel crowded. So I set out on my journey open to finding a new place to call home…but the only place that called to me in that way that Portland once did was Victoria (BC, Canada), and I’m not looking to change my citizenship status, so coming back to Portland feels right to me, at least for now. (Who knows what the future might hold!?)
I’m boundlessly grateful for the friends who welcomed me back here and are opening their homes to me…and I love that, once again, I feel like If a city could give me a hug, Portland is what it would feel like.