One of my favorite cities in the United States is Portland, OR. Every visit has been filled with surprises and defied my expectations. On my last trip to the Rose City, I journeyed alone. This afforded me an opportunity to explore a city I had visited several times before on my own terms. For some, the idea of traveling alone might be a scary proposition. I, on the other hand, relished in the chance to stretch myself beyond the familiar and push my comfort zone.
The Impact of Rotary
Of course, my visit to Portland had a purpose. I was in town for a Rotary District Conference. Every time I attend events such as these, I am blown away by the scale and scope of Rotary’s work. From the fight to end Polio to ensuring hungry kids have enough to eat on weekends away from school, the purpose of this organization is powerful and moves me beyond belief. I have often heard it said we can move mountains if we possess enough faith. Rotary is one of those organizations that makes me believe this old saying is possible.
The craft brewery scene in Portland is beyond compare. At times, it can feel overwhelming, that is until you gather with both friends new and old to invent your own beer crawl. From one brewery to the next, we meandered down city sidewalks in search of delicious beer and the best place to drink them. I wish I could provide you with a list of every place we stopped, but I suffered one of the great side effects of day drinking; forgetfulness.
Walking a City at Night
I have written about it before, but it is worth repeating. One of my favorite things to do in the world is walking a city at night. When the lights go down, a city reveals its true self. The 8-5 crowd shakes off their concerns and reveal a more honest and social version of who they truly are. The streets become crowded not with people chasing deadlines, but with escape in the company of each other. Things get quiet and chaos is put to bed. Portland revealed itself as a city worth exploring at night. From the food and drinks to the nightlife, I found myself to be completely content walking a quiet neighborhood street all alone without a care in the world.
I Am Not 22 Anymore
The morning after a night in Portland made something very apparent; I am not 22-years-old anymore. Gone are the days of recovery by noon. Now, hangovers last all day. Headaches split my head like a watermelon. Food feels like a bastard and I might as well buy stock in Gatorade. While I am not ashamed at desperate attempts to hold onto my youth, nothing exposes my age like a night out with people I barely know and being booted from the door thanks to the last call.
Be good to each other,
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