Nathanial Garrod

My Plans Moving Forward…

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!

2 Comments on “My Plans Moving Forward…

  1. Tamara Stanley
    May 21, 2013

    This is so exciting Nathan. So very happy for you. You will make great things happen. I know!!

  2. Leigh Thorsen
    May 21, 2013

    Nathan – sometimes you just got to jump in! I know you can do this. I’ve turned up in new cities with suitcases not knowing a soul, and now each of those places is ‘home’: Johannesburg, London, Santa Rosa, CA, and, for a few years, Trelleborg (OK, small town, not a city) in Sweden. ot easy in the beginning, and sometimes, no matter how much you like the place, you feel like you’ll never fit in. You see others out and about with partners, friends and family and you feel really out of it. Then stuff happens: you find work, you meet people, and some of them will become lifelong friends, even if you, or they, move on someplace else one day. One morning you wake up and find you have a routine, some familiar places to hang out, and plans for Friday night. At that stage, you’ve transitioned from outsider to, in your case, Portlander. Keep us posted! And come to Santa Rosa when you can.

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This entry was posted on May 21, 2013 by in Adventures!.
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