After a long day goodbyes and departures from Flickr Island, Sean Mundy, Megan Wilson and I left to spend a few days in Vancouver with Gurbir, Lizzy, Mary, and Fred. Mary so kindly let us sleep at her house while we were in the area and I got to catch up on some sleep at the same time. Vancouver really is a great city and I'd love to live there if it weren't so expensive. But so much fun! We ate at an awesome vegan diner where I got real Canadian poutine.
Sean had asked a few months back if I was interested in hanging out after the meetup, since we only see each other about once a year and I had more time to spend before settling down in California. We left Vancouver and easily made it back into the states, and headed for Seattle to see one of our old friends Sam Posner. He's familiar with the Flickr community and was sweet enough to let us crash at his apartment before heading to Portland. Sam had to work the next day, so Sean and I found everything we could in Seattle that was free, cheap, or looked fun. We got a good view of the city, stumbled upon Bruce and Brandon Lee's grave, and located the Mystery Coke Machine that has "???" on each of the buttons and dispenses anywhere from A&W rootbeer to ginger ale to blueberry soda. Nobody has ever seen the machine be restocked, so it's definitely earned its title of Mystery Coke Machine.
After we departed Seattle and said our goodbyes to Sam, we headed for Portland to meetup with Brendon Burton, Jacob Price, Jess Boutte, and Kyle Thompson. I was only staying for a few days so I could keep going down the coast, so we made a little trip to Astoria and visited the beach as well as the house where the Goonies was filmed. It was a pretty fun day, and I really enjoy Oregon and everything it has to offer.
After a few days spent with them, I said my goodbyes again and finished the last leg of my trip before San Francisco. I decided to take the 101 South the entire way to get the best coastal view, and it was definitely worth it. At almost any given time, I could see the ocean, the beach, and people enjoying it. The Oregon coast was my favorite view and I fell in love with the surf and skate feel of every single city I passed through. I was really antsy to get to my final stop in San Francisco and didn't spend much time doing anything but driving, but I did stop in the Redwoods to marvel at how wonderful nature really is.
All in all, I had a fantastic time on this trip. It was a lot to take on at once- saying goodbye to everyone and everything I know, packing up all my belongings to somehow fit in my tiny Prius, being away from Rob for 7 or 8 weeks, the struggles of nearly everything breaking including my laptop and tripod, meeting up with old friends from all over the country, struggling to get into Canada, and driving alone for so long was way more challenging than I had expected. I got to see some parts of the country I was never taken to as a kid and wanted to see them before moving to the west coast, was privileged to spend a week on an island with 40+ talented photographers, and got to spend enough time alone to last me quite a while. I've realized how much I do love the outdoors, but a structured life is very necessary for me to function and progress from day to day. As long as I can keep a good balance of being outdoors and working a day job, I think I'll remain as happy as possible. Eventually I'd like to settle down in a smaller town that's close to a big city and have access to the Rocky Mountains, but for now, city life is where I'll be.