My daughter and I have been planning our move to Portland since last April. At that time a year hence seemed awfully far away, but the time has been speeding up and now here we are, 100 days, 14.5 weeks away from going home to a place we’ve never been.
The impetus for this journey was unexpected; I had anticipated staying married and living in Florida the rest of my life. But on learning last March that I would be getting a divorce and the opportunity to choose my own life presented itself, I thought long and hard about what that life would be like. I was free to go anywhere; I’m fortunate that my work allows me to live wherever I want.
I had wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest for many years; it represented everything I wanted: temperate weather, breathtaking scenery, an emphasis on the environment and people with a zest for living. I was attracted to Portland in particular because of the creative environment, the emphasis on working to live rather than living to work, and the practical amenities of being vegetarian-friendly and having an outstanding public transportation system. I could see myself being happy there the rest of my life.
There was a fair amount of trepidation in thinking of making such a move; I didn’t know anyone in Portland, had never even visited there. And to those of us in the east, the Pacific Northwest just seems so…far away. But at the time I was making my decision, I remembered something Helen Keller once said: “Life is a daring adventure, or nothing.” I knew I didn’t want to wait for any more of life to just happen to me; I wanted to meet it head on and if I failed in some way, I wanted to at least go down on my own terms. So the decision was made!
Then the logistical problems slowly set in–what about the pets? We couldn’t bear to ship them, they’d be terrified, so we knew we had to drive the 3100 miles with them. Should we rent a vehicle? What was the best route? The best time of year? Where would we live? Would someone rent a place to us with this many pets?
Slowly our plans began to take shape; we scoured the internet over the ensuing months to learn everything we could about Oregon, and Portland in particular. We’ve pored over Google maps, reviewed the positives and negatives of each neighborhood, signed up for newsletters, joined groups, followed folks on Twitter, read the Oregonian, watched local Portland news, listened to local radio, cheered for the Ducks during the Civil War, and fretted over the safety of Portlanders trying to get home through the recent snow and ice storm. I’ve traveled the roads of Portland virtually online so many times that I’m sure I can get around without a map. I realize this plethora of information is no real substitute for actually visiting in person, but it was the best we could do, and by the time we get there I can guarantee I will know Portland better than anyone else who has never been there before!
So here we are, actually getting ready to move now. There is but one question mark still, and that’s where we will be living. I’ve had some positive responses, but nothing definite yet; securing our home is my top priority from here on out, and I will leave no stone unturned until we find it!
100 days…going so fast…