When I moved to Portland two years ago, I thought I’d finally found my place in the world. There in the mossy, foggy landscape of old Craftsman houses and hoppy beer, I felt myself unclench for the first time in years.
In Portland, I saw the potential for a new life unfolding, one I was actually excited to live. I could pursue the slow-burn love for the outdoors I’d cultivated first in high school and again during my last few years in Tennessee. I envisioned weekends summiting the Pacific Northwest’s stratovolcanoes would transform me into a fit, fearless babe so unlike the anxious, hard-drinking recluse I’d become by the tail end of my twenties. There was a not-so-little part of me that couldn’t wait to see how living out west changed my life for the better, so I could post the results online and prove to everyone how all I’d needed to straighten out my life was to correct my star-crossed geography.