It’s crazy to think that just one year ago, we were hurriedly packing up our lives and apartment in Newcastle, NSW. Eagerly awaiting our flight to Seattle despite sad ‘see you laters’ with family and friends.
A nervous buzz hung in the air as we embarked on a two year adventure that was largely unwritten.
One year on, I’m still just as excited about this charmed American life.
I’m sure being based in the Pacific Northwest is a largely responsible for my obsession. The area has a spectacular outdoors culture that takes advantage of its vast coastlines, enchanted rainforests and alpine ranges. Cosmopolitan cities filled with fantastic food and arts opportunities, but where snow-capped mountains form as much of the skyline as the skyscrapers.
I’ve grown to love Washington’s stone-filled, driftwood beaches; even if I do occasionally yearn for the white sand, great surf breaks and warmer waters of home. For me, this sense of new is a novelty to enjoy and cherish.
Cultural nuances makes living in the USA surprisingly different to Australia, but in many ways it feels just like home. Socially, our countries are facing similar problems and challenges. Politically, many younger citizens in both countries are feeling largely uninspired by those supposed to represent us.
Sure, there have been challenges and bouts of homesickness (it’s fitting that my USA Anniversary is also the day I miss a best friend’s hens weekend back home), but the good hugely outweighs the bad, and the adventures I’ve had along the way have been remarkable.
Like hiking through epic national parks.
Taking advantage of the San Juan Islands at our doorstep.
Experiencing a real change of seasons, where fall means apples and pumpkin-spiced-everything, and where the landscapes transform into scenes even more beautiful than before.
Learning to ski real mountains. Australia ain’t got nothing on Mt Baker!
And learning to snowshoe in the Olympics!
Basking in snowy Christmas wonder and twinkly lights in Leavenworth (theme: I kind of fancy snow)
Followed by a sunny Christmas escape to Maui, complete with scuba diving, waterfall hikes and sunrise volcano visits.
Embarking on multiple Canadian adventures, including fabulously British Victoria B.C.
Returning to the East Coast to play tour guide in Boston and NYC!
One crazy west-coast road trip with my little sis!
Hosting family and friends on their own Pacific Northwest holidays!
Best of all, getting to know my town, Anacortes.
And spending many glorious, food-filled weekends in my nearest major city, Seattle.
A creeping sadness appears now and again. Tom and I are scheduled to return to Oz by this time in 2017, and it’s almost always playing in the back of my mind. Each monthly Expat Escapades recap brings me joy to recount the fun we’re having, but each one brings me a step closer to leaving.
There’s just so much more I want to experience. I still want to scuba dive California’s Channel Islands, see the steaming geysers in Yellowstone, stroll through the streets and squares of Savannah, hike Utah’s canyons and national parks.
While our plans for the year ahead are largely uncertain, there’s one thing I know for sure. Appreciate what I have for now, because soon it’ll be over and all I’ll have are these stories, photos and beautiful memories.
To another year of living life as best we can.
Like this story? Pin the graphic below to share!