When I first moved to Seattle, I started following a ton of Pacific Northwest-based photographers on instagram. While obviously most of their photos were of places like Olympic National Park and the Oregon Coast, there were also some amazing pictures of places outside of the PNW. And the one place that it seemed like everyone loved more than any other was Alberta, Canada. I must’ve spent hours looking at photographs of Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, the Icefields Parkway, and more, and visiting Alberta—particularly Banff National Park—rose higher and higher on my bucket list.
A few weeks ago, Steve and I made the trip happen. We rented a car, made the 9-ish hour drive from Vancouver, and spent four nights camping in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
When I was young, living in the same house in the same town in the same state in the same country for the first 18 years of my life, I used to think that I could live there for my whole life. I thought visiting relatives a five hour drive away or— wow—relatives who lived so far I had to take a plane ride to reach them were unbelievably distant. Funny how things change. I always knew I would travel, but never how much.
After living in three countries outside my country of birth over the past five years, moving to a different state is a much more minor change. There were no visas involved, for one. But moving from the East coast to the West is practically a different country both in distance and culture, and the difference this time is I didn’t have school or a plan waiting for me. I figured it out, as I usually do.
There have been a lot of unexpected challenges: the aforementioned lack of plan (i.e. job) being a main one, navigating a long distance relationship being another (while the relationship is the best thing in my life, the long distance I could do without), but those same challenges seem to bring the most rewards.
I don’t want to turn this into a cheesy naval-gazing reflective post so I’m going to stop there, but since I’ve wanted to live in Seattle since I first visited here over a decade ago (on an orchestra trip in high school, also the reason I first got a passport for the part of the trip that was to Vancouver, a city I now visit at least once a month), I think that the fact I’ve been living here for six months this week is worth mentioning.