Greetings from Portland, Oregon. I just cruised into this city last night and am excited to check it out. So far, the road trip has been an absolute joy. The only negative – and it’s hardly a negative – is that it’s taking longer than I anticipated. This is partly because I’m traveling with a dog and need to stop to let her do her business (and run around). And partly because there’s so much beauty that I keep stopping to take pictures.
Slowing down isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this is one of many differences between this road trip and the one I did in the opposite direction 19 years ago. Back then, I had to be in LA by a certain date for the beginning of grad school. Today, I have no such deadline. My schedule is completely up to me. Which is not to say that I want to be on the road forever, or arrive at my destination a month from now. I simply don’t have to rush.
For example, when I saw a sign for Lagoon Lake north of Eureka, California, I pulled off the road and drove down a hill to discover this practically empty beach.
In Redwood National Park, I drove 34 miles in and out of the park just to see this view.
I pulled over again for this beach, which took my breath away when I saw it from the road.
Several people told me I couldn’t leave Oregon without seeing Crater Lake, so I drove a few hours roundtrip to check it out. It was created thousands (millions?) of years ago when the volcano erupted, blowing the top of the mountain off. Over time, the crater filled with water from rain and snow melt. The little island you see in the middle is apparently a new mini-volcano growing within the old one. One day, maybe millions of years from now, it, too, will blow.
Someone also suggested I check out Florence, a tiny fishing village on the Oregon coast, and the nearby dunes. This is what we did just before driving to Portland.
So, yeah, I’m slowing down and soaking it in. I know there is much more ahead, and many unknowns at my final destination, but I’m trying to stay focused on the here and now. I want to always remember this trip, these images, the sounds, the energy of each place I visit.
It feels like a luxury to slow down, but really, it’s simple. You don’t even have to leave home to do it.
When was the last time you slowed down?