The holiday period while the office is closed has provided an invaluable opportunity to travel and it was definitely something I was going to take advantage of.
I flew to Seattle to meet Gavin (an intern based in Vancouver) to begin our travels.
We boarded a coach to Portland for a pleasant 4 ½ hour trip and we were delighted to meet so many different and interesting Americans whilst being able to experience the delicacies on offer at the different Chevron rest stops.
Downtown Portland has a very alternative vibe and it wasn’t surprising to see Hillary Clinton and Bernie stickers on the backs of cars everywhere. The image outwardly projected is still that of shock at Clinton’s loss and this was a state which overwhelmingly voted for her. The most interesting part was in the conversations I had with regular people whether it was in our hostel or a bar, where they would admit to voting for Trump.
We awoke earlier than normal on Tuesday morning in preparation for a leisurely 3km hike through the forest to the Pittock Mansion which sits above Portland. Due to the recent rain the different colours were so vivid, from the green of the foliage to the pure running streams and browns of the dirt. Some of the terrain was quite slippery and I wouldn’t recommend wearing cream coloured chinos as I had! The view was impeccable, as was the relief in deciding to take an Uber back down to the base of where we started our hike.
Exploring Portland has provided a lot of wonderful experiences. We visited pubs where the portion sizes were bigger than our heads, a donut shop which had flavours I could have never imagined and all of it set amongst the amazing natural beauty of the city. The highlight so far has been the generosity of regular people. A bus driver who realising we only had larger denomination notes when she couldn’t give change, issued us both day tickets for free and wished us a pleasant journey in her country. This was followed by hostel staff refusing to charge me for an umbrella I borrowed which had broken in the intense wind. On the surface they were all small gestures, however it really goes a long way in making me feel welcome.
Seattle has so far provided excellent coffee, beer and more eating. As New Year’s Eve approaches, drawing in the new year in a vibrant and busy location is exciting, especially while I get to experience a completely different culture and celebrations to those in Australia.