LA in the Rearview
As I head to the airport, I can see the towers of glass and steel that define downtown Los Angeles in the rearview mirror. With each mile, they become smaller and fainter. This trip is just for the weekend, but it is a precursor of things to come. In less than 300 days, I will enter downtown for the last time to go to work. Everything I own will begin making its way back to Seattle. I will head the opposite direction toward the US/Mexican border and begin a 5-month journey toward home via the Pacific Crest Trail. Very soon, my whole life will change.
Easy Street Records
Easy Street Records isn’t the biggest record store in the world. They won’t have every title you are searching for as you dig through crates and shuffle through albums. Yet, what they lack in size, they more than redeem in charm and character. Without a doubt, this little store on California is the thing I miss most about living in West Seattle. As we eat breakfast, album covers from the room over beckoned me. On my visit, I was drawn toward some new releases placed front and center that I just had to have. On more occasions than I can count, I have found myself lost upstairs with stacks of vinyl at my side. Soon, this place will be my sanctuary again.
The Seattle Charm
I have heard it said that Seattle has lost its charm. With the explosion of Amazon and remaking of the downtown core, the city has become unrecognizable to some. I moved there in 2011 and left in 2017. I will return in 2020, so I don’t cling to some nostalgic version of the Emerald City. The city I knew was always in transition, always growing, and always welcoming new people to its neighborhoods. In fact, this constant sense of change is what I loved about it. It made me feel like I was a part of a movement; something bigger than myself.
At some point in the future, Brandon and I will do battle with the Seattle housing marketing. Looking at home prices, talking with friends and trying to get finances in order has made me a mixture of excited and nervous. Beyond figuring out how to make this work, I am overjoyed to be considering such a monumental life decision with the person that I love. It feels surreal. I didn’t know if this conversation would ever come, much less the actual action.
It doesn’t matter where I am. It doesn’t matter where I am traveling. It doesn’t matter the occasion. I will always find a reason to escape and go to a movie theater. Some people go to church. I go to the cinema. After nearly 800 movies in a theater, I cannot vividly picture my life without my weekly visit. If I am ever forced to miss, I become like a drug addict waiting for his next hit.
Kent was my first home away from Oklahoma. While I only lived there for a year, working there for six in a highly visible role made me entangled with the community. The people of this South King County community became friends and family. It is them that I dearly miss. It is them that is motivating me to move back. It is them who will be there to greet me upon my return. I can’t wait for that day. Some days, it is what keeps me going and fighting forward.
Green and Gray
Seattle can be defined by two colors, green and gray. The gray of winter and spring gives birth to an explosion of green in every shade as the seasons turn. When you leave the airport, it is the first thing you notice about the city. Driving north on I-5, the nickname “Emerald City” isn’t hard to conceive. In the air, there is a freshness. It is these colors and these smells I miss. Seattle isn’t a perfect place, but its setting is nearly there.
New Hiking Idea
Seattle and Washington state are where I fell in love with hiking. I have walked hundreds of miles there and will hopefully walk hundreds more. On this trip, I returned to the North Cascades. As I hiked a trail with Brandon and his brother, a new idea was born for me. I have often struggled with how to capture these moments: essays, photography, and videos have been my weapons of choice. On this trip, a new idea was born; an essay series called, “Out/Back.” In the series, I would review trails and offer tips on reaching your destination with maximum impact. As someone who is always looking to test his writing abilities, I am overly excited about this new project.
The Rotary Club of Kent
For six years, I was a member of the Rotary Club of Kent. From a new member to President of the Club (for a brief moment), Rotary made me fall in love with service to my fellow man. Now, I cannot imagine my life without it. Wherever I roam, I seek Rotary out, search new ways to give back, and source ideas to impact my community. These actions were not born because of Rotary. I knew them long before becoming a member. Rotary provided an opportunity to channel this passion. For that, I am forever grateful.
Goodbye, For Now
Just like that, the skyline of Seattle is becoming faint in the rearview mirror. Soon, I will be at a cruising altitude headed south back to Los Angeles. This trip was about more than getting away for a few days. It was about reconnecting to a place I dearly love all in an effort to finalize some much-needed motivation. As I close the book on LA, begin hiking, and eventually make my way north, it will be this trip pushing me forward and beckoning me home.
Be good to each other,
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