Since I walked in my masters commencement ceremony at the beginning of May, I have had a number of people ask me what my plans are next, if I have a job, and etcetera.
I am moving to Portland, Oregon.
I visited Portland over winter break, after having heard about the city for years. Years ago, maybe around age 6 or 7, I visited with my mother. I remember little from that trip besides the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I flew back to California from a visit to my aunt in Washington via an airplane that left Portland. But this trip over winter break 2012-13 was the first time in my adult life I had a chance to experience and explore Portland. My best friends and I visited their sister and her husband, who showed took us on a walking tour of pretty much everything outstanding and important in the city. It was incredible to see such a relaxed city, a city devoted to art, sustainability, coffee and so much more. I had heard stories from friends, read Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller, and seen pictures. But nothing prepared me for how I would feel being in Portland.
Within hours of seeing the city, I knew it was where I wanted to be in a near-future step of my life. As the semester progressed, I felt a number of signs in my life pointing me to Portland. My job search has been focused on the West Coast because I miss the West Coast culture and environment. I miss being within reasonable distance of family and friends, and I miss being near the ocean.
Last summer I had a conversation with my cousin about how I want to be in a young city where I do not need a car, where I can purchase organic, locally grown food from a farmers market and where people are friendly. Being in Portland, I realized so many of these are regular parts of life for the community. After two years of commuting an hour each way, I am ready to not have to worry about gas or car insurance or maintenence. More importantly, I am ready to reduce my impact on the environment, to take care of my health by walking place I need to be and eating good food.And after struggling in my social life to make significant connections while maintaining a commuters life, I am ready to be in one place, in one neighborhood even, and make strong social connections.
After my experience at The Placement Exchange I had a conversation with the Director of the office my GA position was in and, with her help, came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to just pick a point to move to. At this point, I had already considered just moving to Portland and making things work, but thought it was crazy-talk. After this conversation and an email from a former supervisor that stated “you must do what you love,” I realized that people sometimes move to places they want to be and as long as they make it work, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a specific place.
So I have a one-way ticket to Seattle on May 30. I have an aunt who lives just outside of Seattle who, like many of my family and friends, is incredibly supportive of me taking this leap. I currently do not have a job or place to live in Portland, but I know just being back on the West Coast will help me move forward in a positive direction with acquiring both. I am regularly checking job posting sites of universities in that area, as well as general job posting sites.
I have heard so many stories of people who traveled to one place with just a suitcase or two and made a life out of it. I want that to be part of my story. I want to take control of my life and continue to put myself in new and unique situations. I know it will help create me as a person, and it will give me plenty to write about as well as, hopefully, opportunities to write. Because I miss writing. My plan is to regularly blog about my adventures, my progress and what the transition is like. This is both so I can share with friends and family what is happening regularly and so I can have a record of my growth and the changes in my life.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been and is supportive of me in this transition!