From the Rails 5

Since departing Cleveland in January, it’s become common for me to experience a bout of nerves whenever I’m on my way to a new city. This train ride feels different though. I’m not nervous about where I’m going. I’m not saddened by my departure—even though I had an amazing time in Seattle and got to know a lot of great people. Trust me, I'm really going to miss it. 

I just feel… neutral.

The reason I’m even sharing this is because it seems so odd to me. As the project has progressed, I’ve come to learn how to deal with certain things that are constants—going through security, packing my suitcase, having my forms filled out, sending the next round of emails, etc. The nervousness that comes with venturing to a new place has always been one of those constants. So, why aren’t I feeling it right now? What’s changed?

To be quite honest, I haven’t the slightest idea. Perhaps seeing my friends a few weeks ago hit some sort of reset button on my whole ‘on the road’ mindset. I mean, on some level, the time I spent with them reminded me that it won’t long before I see them again. We are entering the final three months of the project after all.

On the other hand, perhaps I’ve just grown so accustomed to relocating that my brain now sees it as ‘just another day’. My subconscious may be telling me, “Relax, we’ve done this 12 other times. There’s nothing to be nervous about.” I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if the nerves return when I’m gearing up for San Francisco.

As for now, I plan on putting my head back and losing myself in the motion of the tracks and the music in my headphones. I’ll see you in Portland everyone.


Day 330

Before I begin today’s post, I wanted to mention that I took the advice of several people and attended the Sounders / Galaxy game on Saturday. Wow… it’s absolutely crazy how popular soccer is here. Chanting along with 53,000 people is a great time indeed. And the game itself was enthralling to the very end with Seattle winning 2-0. I think the sport has finally won me over. 

While most of my time in Seattle has been spent in the city proper, I finally had a chance to venture north this weekend. Everyone in the office has continually advised me to check out the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods—which reside north of Lake Union—and I finally decided it was time to listen.

Part of Seattle’s charm rests in its vast suburbs, such as Queen Anne and the aforementioned Ballard and Fremont. They offer rows and rows of quaint homes and small shops, but my favorite discovery is that they also house a rather diverse roster of family-owned eateries, small town pubs and hidden shops. 

To be honest, I was a little worried on what I’d find when I crossed the water, because Fremont is also home to the Seattle offices of Google and Adobe. Thankfully, their vast campuses actually blend into the neighborhood rather than obstruct it. I don’t think that’s something you can say for many cities. It certainly doesn’t ring true for Austin. Once I passed beyond these institutions though, I was welcomed by everything I had hoped I’d find. Great bars like Add-a-Ball and Red Door, corner coffee shops like Brouwer’s Café and a wealth of must-visit stores like Jive Time Records.

When I journeyed even further north toward Ballard, I came across the Woodland Park Zoo (side note—kudos to them for owning the URL), which delighted me to no end. I’ve seen some pretty unattractive and questionable zoos before, but this one seemed pretty great. The animals looked very happy and the workers there were friendly and full of information. I’d recommend it to anyone traveling into the area.

Once I reached Ballard, I couldn’t help but check out a few more record shops in the area. If there’s one thing that Seattle has really impressed me with, it’s their number of music stores. I guess that comes with the territory of being known for the grunge movement though. Music is in Seattle’s blood.

To finish off the day, I strolled down to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks and sat by the water for a bit (Salmon Bay to be exact). I spent an hour or so just watching the boats pass through and the whole experience left me rather relaxed. I then began my long walk home, grabbing some small bites along the way. It all seemed like a rather fitting way to spend my final weekend in Seattle. I don’t think suburbs get enough credit for what they offer to the city experience and this only justified my opinion. You just never know what treasures await you, once you step outside of downtown.