I stopped through Portland (it wasn't Portlandia) (or maybe it was)
A little background:
From afar, I loved Portland. LOVED. The stories I had been told matched with my binge viewing of Portlandia on Netflix had me convinced that one visit would be all I needed to want to move there.
I was wrong.
A big reason was the lack of diversity, which I expected but wasn't fully prepared for. The other reason, which is hard to explain, is that people seemed to be playing a role. It did not feel like a genuine city to me, but more like what a "hipster city" should look like. It was disappointing.
This is not to say I didn't enjoy myself (the sheer amount of beer and tattoos on display probably contributed to this). I even managed to take a few pics through my jaded lens.
I was blessed to have had a fantastic first Airbnb experience, and a friend in the area who treated me to BBQ and fireworks on the waterfront for the 4th. So all in all, successful first solo trip! I also learned a couple of lessons:
1. You don't know until you go.
I was CONVINCED that one visit was going to make me want to relocate and it didn't work out that way. Some people will say it wasn't long enough to tell. I know that I know that this isn't my city, and that's ok. I am, however, excited to travel more and see how wrong I am about other places.
2. Traveling by yourself is liberating.
There are several places I want to visit, and some of them may end up being alone. This first dip into the world of travel confirmed how freeing it is to be on your own time to do anything (or not do anything) when you feel like it. It was nice not to have to check-in with a travel partner to plan my day.
3. Even places that aren't ideal can be fun.
I enjoyed my short stay in Portland, even when it turned out not to be what I expected. The key was to find things that made me happy and do them in abundance (for me, this included biking trails, used record and book stores, and eating good food).
So there you are, my trip to the Pacific Northwest. What about you? Where have you trraveled to and it turned out not to be what you expected, for better or for worse?