I Road-Tripped the Pacific Northwest, And It Changed My Life

When I look back at the incredible array of enriching trips and experiences I have accumulated over my three decades of life, it is challenging to pick my most fulfilling. From surfing on the southwest coast of Portugal to handfuls of camping trips in the Texas Hill Country to spending a month living outside of Asheville, North Carolina, my life always seems to find more meaning when I am deep in the thrusts of an epic adventure in nature.

However, if I had to choose my most fulfilling trip, it would be the enormous leap of faith I took one spring day in Texas. Originally from Austin, Texas, I randomly decided to pack up my car, sell my things, and take my dog and me on the typical "headed west" road trip. However, this time, I did not know where I was going or how long I would be there.

Discovering the Wonderland of the Pacific Northwest

Well, after six weeks of camping and boondocking along the west coast, I decided to grow roots in a city I had never been to and where I only knew one person (an acquaintance from high school). Mainly for a change of scenery, the unexpected move to a new city in the Pacific Northwest changed my life, as did the adventures that ensued during my three years there.

Becoming a resident of Oregon was one of the greatest gifts I could have given myself at that specific time in my life. As soon as I witnessed the beauty of Portland and the surrounding region, I knew I had to call the Rose City home. The years of living in Portland gave me genuine treasures that I will never forget, including the ability to, quite literally, chase two of my favorite natural beauties: waterfalls and hot springs.

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While I was in Oregon, I made the art of solo adventuring a priority of mine. I set aside society's rules of being a female traveling alone, and I began planning weekend trips for myself. I camped under the stars next to the Painted Hills, I slept in my make-shift "adventure mobile" on forested backroads along babbling creeks, and I drove at least 80 hours up and down the west coast.

The true gifts that come from the most "fulfilling trips" of your life are the ones that lead you to life-long friendships and one-of-a-kind memories that only you and whoever was there would wholeheartedly cherish. Those are the kind of "best trips" that I long for, search for, and yearn for. The ones where the plans are not planned out from minute to minute, but when you have a general idea of what you want to see and do, you let the universal flow of time and space dictate the happenings that unfold.

A Reflection of the Past Travels

While this might not be one specific trip, but rather a bold move that ended up opening my world to the endless growth and excitement a life of travel and adventure can bring, my time exploring up and down the west coast was a catalyst for the plethora of future endeavors I would embark on.

If the road is calling you, I highly suggest listening to your inner wisdom and buying that plane ticket (or bus ticket or concert ticket or whatever ticket it may be). The risk of trying something new that will quite possibly change your life forever is always 100% worth it, in my book.

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