We were at a staff dinner once, when my former boss asked us the following question: If you could go anywhere in the world for a weekend, a week, a month, and a year, where would you go? It’s a really fun travel brain storm that finds me with different answers every single time. But never once, had I picked Washington state as my month spot…until I visited during the Smile Project Road Trip.
That’s when I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. That’s when – even though I knew it would be strange to uproot my life in the Big Apple – I had to give it a shot. That’s why on November 6th, I flew into Seattle.
I’ve been living in Anacortes, Washington, a small town on Fidalgo Island about 90 minutes north of Seattle, for three weeks now and I think I view that travel question a little differently now. One month is enough time to fall in love with a city, enough time to find a community of people that you care for, enough time to have a favorite place to write.
I was chatting with my grandma last week when I joked that I had been sick since I got to Anacortes, first with strep throat and then with a persistent cold. I told her I may have been sick since I got to Anacortes, but I have never been happier. Maybe that’s a pretty telling thing for a place – even illness can’t dull its light.
This month has seen hiking on the Puget Sound, three a.m. donut runs, bookstore writing dates, and so much more. I spent Thanksgiving with my Washington family, went for a midnight hike, and danced my way through washing dishes. Every second I spend here feels more magical than the last.
When I moved back to New York City, post road trip, I felt like I was standing on uneven ground, trying to readjust to the place I called home for two and a half years. The road trip mixed me up in the best possible way. I am now convinced that home is everywhere. When I landed in Washington, I felt like I had been here all along. In the best way possible, three weeks feels like nothing. I feel like I’ve simply been here forever and that’s that.
There’s something beautiful about the idea of breaking up your normalcy and your routines and your expected next steps to pursue the things that make you really happy. Every day, I’m realizing that more and more.
To everyone who has and to everyone who continues to make Anacortes home, thank you.