I’m hoping over the next 1-2 weeks to do a series of posts about Portland, so I’ll be sharing on here more than usual. I’m planning to give you plenty of lists of places to eat, where to get coffee, what my perfect day in the city is like and explain to you what the heck I even went there for in future posts. But, I like to keep my Monday posts a little more heartfelt and this seemed like the right list for this day.
Here are the 8 things I did differently on this trip than others:
1. I didn’t bring soap.
Usually I keep a strict packing list and I make a shopping trip to grab any of the things I may need before I leave. Usually, I spend too much money on silly travel toiletries and stress out a bit over making sure I’m totally prepared for any scenario. This trip I channeled my inner ‘chill girl’ and didn’t stress out over having everything that I needed. I still created a packing list (baby steps guys) but, I didn’t stress over things that I didn’t have. I told myself I’d grab it when I got there or use soap that the hostel provides and EVERYTHING WAS OK! Seriously, the world didn’t end and my vacation still felt relaxing and beautiful.
2. I used your recommendations.
OK, so, I have a confession to make…
I hate when people say the phrase, “you can’t go to ____ location without doing ____” The idea of someone else determining what my vacation looks like feels oppressive. I never want to leave a vacation with regret and left to my own devices, I won’t. But, returning home from a place that I felt I had the perfect vacation at and hearing someone say, “I can’t believe you didn’t ___insert random thing here___” Well, it makes me feel like a vacation failure and since I am competitive and stubborn I’ve shyed away from even asking for suggestions at the fear of cultivating that response. However, this time I decided to just ask and get over the fact that I may not do everything suggested to me and I was given AMAZING suggestions, many of which I took and many of which I didn’t. But, I definitely had some great experiences that I would have missed out on otherwise and that made it totally worth the asking.
3. I de-prioritized the foodie experiences.
I love to eat good food. Food made well and served well and grown/raised well. If I’m going to eat out it’s not to find the cheapest/greasiest or fastest place. I want to taste food that’s exciting and delicious. However, that adds up. This trip I knew that I wanted to taste coffee primarily. I went to Portland because of their coffee scene and I was taking a long trip. I allowed myself to spend as much as I wanted on coffee but, I ate really cheaply for the most part. I ate at a lot of amazing food carts and ate the free breakfast from my hostel most days. I even skipped meals on occasion. Don’t get me wrong, even the cheap food scene in Portland is killer & I had some really nice meals while I was there. But, I didn’t place my priorities there and for the purpose of this trip, that felt nice.
4. I stopped making plans.
For the first several days I was drafting out my day. I usually do this both in life and on vacation because I like to know what my day will look like. But, this trip felt so much like home that I wanted to make sure I treated it differently. I didn’t want to return from vacation and not feel like I vacated. So, after a few days I just started going out and seeing what the day brought to me. I may have a general idea of what I wanted to do, but, I left it open & I asked strangers for suggestions. I can’t tell you how long it had been since someone asked me the question “what are you doing today” and I didn’t know the answer down to the detail. It felt very nice to honestly answer, “I don’t know.”
5. I didn’t blog.
Usually when I’m traveling I write a blog post almost everyday. This let’s me tell small stories that may not have as much meaning a week away, it also lets me share with people what I’m doing as I’m doing it. This trip I wanted to send all of my creative energy in one direction (which I’ll discuss with you soon) and so I didn’t blog. I’m not sure if I preferred this or not. I think I blog for a reason and that’s because I love it. It’s not something that I stop loving just because I’m on vacation. In fact, I’m usually more inspired. But, it’s good to know.
6. I changed my shoes.
I don’t know what it is about traveling but, I walk so much more. (which I love) But, y’all, I buy the cheapest shoes and they not only fall apart but they tear my feet up! This trip I brought several pairs with different strengths/weaknesses and I alternated them religiously. My feet never formed blisters or became terribly sore and for the most part, the shoes were preserved as well. I felt like a target shopping, delicate skinned genius!
7. I stayed in one place for a long time.
I usually don’t stay in any one place for longer than 3 nights when I take trips. Even if I’m in the same country/state I will travel out to do things or switch locations for a few nights or try to see as much of the country as possible. It’s hard not to do that. But, I had specific hopes for relaxing and routine so that my mind could open up to possibility and ideas and I didn’t want to muddy that with trying to plan new experiences/coordinate travel/pack and unpack and it was really cool to watch my creative mind journey through that experience. First I was inspired, then I was muddied and then there’s was a renewed energy at the end that broke a ton of things free.
8. I acted like a tourist.
Being a tourist in Portland is exactly the kind of tourist I want to be anyway. Eating good food, drinking good coffee/booze, going to parks, and talking to strangers. Usually when I travel though, I don’t go to the tourist spots and I don’t really tell anyone why I’m visiting unless they directly ask and I don’t look around enough. This trip I didn’t worry about looking at the tops of buildings as I walked and being an obvious visitor, I asked my baristas for food suggestions and I did my best to smile at myself more while I walked the city, to enjoy the magic in the air and you know what, it felt GOOD. I may not have always felt cool, but, I felt good.