I have been inspired by an aspiration to submit to a lifestyle. One where you wake up to a blanket of snow and hear nothing but the buzz of lifts turning and skis slashing through the crisp winter air. In late May, just as I closed my textbooks for the summer, I took 25 days and set off for places where Mountains soar high and snow settles for the warmer months.
This trip would not turn out to be comparable to those dreams I had about spending a winter in a ski town. As cliché as it sounds, it was better than that. I cherished getting lost in conversation with individuals I met on the street. Meeting more new people than I could have ever imagined, I created memories both on and off of the mountain with both faces new and old.
Beginning in Minnesota, a Honda Odyssey packed six deep with gear and soon-to-be smelly boys (and girl), drove 25 non-stop hours across the country to Government Camp, Oregon. Greeted with the fresh rain of the Pacific Northwest, an adventure of the simplest living began. Going to bed with the darkness and waking up to the morning light as Mother Nature’s alarm clock. I showered in sunshine and snow instead of water and soap.
Sunset Hike out of Mt. Hood Back Country
Next I set out for the Ocean. In all it’s beauty I spent hours running through the sand, and finding beach treasures like I was five again. In my first time to the pacific I experienced one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen over the haystack rocks at Canon Beach. I woke up to birds flying and calm waves crashing into the sandy beach.
Cannon Beach Sunset
From the beach I was able to explore four new cities- Portland, OR, Bellingham, WA, Vancouver, BC, and Seattle, WA. I believe that especially when you’re trying to find a new place in this world that you could see yourself living in, it’s important to look around and find the city that makes you feel like you’re home, even if it’s over 1,000 miles from where you grew up.
Portland, as they say, was definitely weird. We had the opportunity to go meet up with the ON3P crew and tour their ski factory. After demo-ing a few pairs of their skis later on the trip in Montana I only have one thing to say – BUY SOME. Wandering around the city with some good friends, I got my designer voodoo doughnuts, as well as made conversation with individuals who matched the personality of the city pretty well.
Bellingham- a calm town up the Washington coast. Exploring down by the shipyards, breakfast with familiar faces, a friend’s quaint house in the country provided a roof over my head once again. Delicious meals from my hosts (THANK YOU!!!), and new faces added to my experience here. Bellingham provided a break from the busy weeks that came before it as I soaked in the North West corner of Washington State (and America).
‘Getting the Shot’ in Bellingham | Photo: Riley Snyder
We took a day trip into Vancouver, it unfortunately did not feature any poutine- but I’ll be back for that. Coffee in the city, thick British Columbia forests, and Granville Island’s public market- I got a little taste of everything.
Most importantly out of all these places, Seattle felt like home. I think that it was a combination of the city, the park-filled waterfront, and the people that made me love it so much. Seattle was familiar to me, more of a west coast version of my home, Minneapolis. I wandered around downtown and surrounding areas, spent time near the water and at Pike Place Market. I event went full tourist mode and splurged on going up the Space Needle.
My travels concluded in Montana. A weekend with a lively ski community slaying the snow at Beartooth Basin was surely a desirable way to end my ski season. I could never complain that my last day, June 8th, on having fresh snow. You can read my Beartooth recaps here: https://ericaaarons.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/2014-beartooth-summer-session-final-recap/ . A night in Bozeman and two days exploring Big Sky to wrap everything up, this trip was incredible.
Riding Horseys with Daph at Moonlight Basin
What did I learn from all of this? I’ve learned that despite living in Minnesota, I can seek out fulfilling adventure while I’m here. I came home with a sense of appreciation for all it’s wonderful lakes that I missed so much, but also, a changed person. I’m a calmer being and more in-tune with the Earth. Which sounds like an incredibly hippy-esque thing to say, however it’s more just a sense of gratification for this world.
I’ve further itched my love for the west coast, and I’m unsure as to when I’ll get to test that some more. Every dime I spent was worth it. Seeking happiness is more important than ever. I’m no longer going to do things that please others without primarily remembering to do good for myself.
I recently had a friend complain about a club they were in but follow up with, “it looks good on a resume.” All criticism aside to them, however that sounds awful to me- I’m moving forward, but cutting out the nonsense, resume-fillers that I did while I was in high school and even past that. Do what makes you happy, follow your passions, you’re going to find what you love, look your dreams in the eyes, and be able to experience them.
I learned that I love simple living, and I learned a little more about what I’m looking for.
Travel is the best therapy.