During my college years I was fascinated with the Pacific Northwest and accumulated way too many books about the area. Even though I had never been, I felt this calling that I belonged there. In 2003 I graduated from college and I had a job prospect in the Seattle area but unfortunately I needed to wait two months before I could be hired. I decided instead to stay in my comfortable world of familiar surroundings and found a job in Minneapolis, MN.
I am a firm believer things happen for a reason and because of those life events Mike and I found our way to each once again. When you know, you just you know. In 2004, I took a chance, quit my job in Minneapolis and moved to Milwaukee, WI to be with Mike. I moved in with Mike and our old college buddy, Charlie, to the east side and loved every minute.
Mike and I have never followed the norm. About two years later, I got a job that moved us to Minneapolis a few months before we were to be married. We had a gorgeous wedding celebration in Milwaukee at one of our favorite restaurants, Roots Restaurant & Cellar. Within our first year of marriage, we bought a house, adopted our rescue dog Wiley, downsized to one car our Honda Element and Mike quit his job to freelance.
We slowed down the crazy the following few years. We worked on remodeling our small stucco house while holding decent jobs. We found time to travel and visit family. We were living the American dream minus the kids but still felt something was missing.
Over the years we have lost friends and family at unusually early stages in life which has been a motivator to kick our fears in the face and follow our dreams. Life many times is unfair which makes our time on this planet that much more important. Personally living in a world of change makes me feel most alive and scared. Doing something once a day that scares you, no matter the scale, helps us grow. This past month my once a day scare has been navigating in a new city using public transportation by myself.
Mike is the realist and I am the dreamer which makes us a great team. Mike and I made a deal June 2013, if we could sell the house we’d take off with the goal of traveling international for a year. Our house went on the market in July and four hours later that goal became our reality. It is liberating and terrifying selling everything you own and leaving home with a 60 liter pack on your back. It’s exactly what Mike and I needed personally and for our relationship. Our year away from work allowed us to become closer than I could have ever imagined. He means the world to me and as cheesy as it sounds, completes me.
After our travels in June 2013 we landed in Minneapolis working contract gigs and attending weddings every weekend throughout the summer. It was scary how easy it was to fall back into our previous routines. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but took a toll on my spirits. We have friends and family there that I will always hold dear to my heart. Our year of travel changed me and us as a couple. We longed for that sense of adventure and an active lifestyle year round.
During our few months road tripping the Western states and exploring the National Parks, we visited Portland, OR for the weekend. We were surprised at the small size feel of the city which reminded us of our roots, Milwaukee. Our conversations on where we should move kept us coming back to Portland.
So why not, we packed a pod full of our remaining possessions, loaded the Mazda and drove the 27 hours to Oregon. Our Airbnb stay fell through the night before we arrived. The following day we scheduled back to back apartments showings and signed a lease that afternoon. Luckily the unit was move-in ready and we became Oregonians. We slept the first few nights on our therm-a-rests and used our camping supplies to cook meals.
We have lived in Portland for about two month now and I know it’s exactly where we need to be.