We are back from our summer vacation to Bellingham, Washington. I have always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest—many people have told me I would love it there. This is true, what a beautiful place. I loved the forest, the hiking trails everywhere, the lakes and streams and ocean, and all the hippies.
We spent most of our time outdoors visiting various state parks and trails: the San Juan Islands, a suspension bridge in Vancouver B.C., several beaches, among other things. We stayed up late, had too many cups of coffee and scoops of ice cream. We experienced the perils of traveling with a teething toddler. It was fun and tiring, and while I could write about our daily adventures, that’s not really my style. There’s always more to it.
So, for one, traveling with an almost-two-year-old is hard. They like to run from you and scream at the top of their lungs. They don’t sleep well in foreign places and they can’t sit still. Oh, and you can’t communicate or rationalize with them. The perfect travel companions. I’m not sure if traveling with a toddler is worth the work or inconvenience, but I’m still figuring this out. I read the other day that Sayla is in the black-out stage, meaning they’re so crazy you just want to stay at home with them 24/7.
Secondly, I realized how perfect our current living situation is for having children. The friends we stayed with live in a third-floor apartment, which means anytime you go outside you have to walk down three flights of concrete stairs to a parking lot before you can reach the sidewalk leading to the nearest playground. Our hobbit house in the country has a few wooden steps leading to wide open space, free for kids to roam and explore. Pre-parenthood I loved apartment life, everything at my fingertips, but I’m realizing that apartment life with kids isn’t as easy or convenient as I make it out to be in my head.
Lastly, I experienced some serious homesickness for Colorado while I was in Washington. The weather was eighty degrees and sunny, just like September in Colorado. When we were on a summit on Orcas Island, I couldn’t help but remember the top of Pikes Peak, looking out on the front range instead of the San Juan Islands. And when we walked a path near the apartment—the sound of the gravel beneath my feet, Mount Baker in the distance, the smell of the aspens—I couldn’t help but remember all the trails I hiked in Colorado with peaks of the Rockies in view. September in Colorado has claimed a deep part of me with its gorgeous weather, bright yellow aspens, and miles of hikes, many of which were with my mom. Washington is a sister to Colorado, and nearly all of her beauty were triggers that awakened a deep longing for my homeland, for the cool mountain air, for my mom.
Travel is peculiar. We travel to get away and rest, to eat at new places and do different activities, and yet travel makes us tired, serves us food we don’t like, and makes us long for our usual routine. Washington gave me a new appreciation for my life here in the country, for which I am grateful, but also intensified how much I miss Colorado. You never know what travel will work out of you, what it will draw to the surface, what you will learn about yourself, and therein lies part of its beauty and appeal.