‘You will love the ocean. It makes you feel small, but not in a bad way. Small because you realize you’re part of something bigger.’–Lauren Myracle
When I moved to Oregon, I had hoped to spend the weekend before my birthday in Philadelphia. Friends were getting married and my best friends just had a baby. Unfortunately, even though it was a holiday weekend, I couldn’t afford to make it out. A flight alone was $400+. I then hoped for other plans to come through but they didn’t. Because I choose to live furiously and didn’t want to wallow in my apartment about what could have been, I decided to get in my car and drive. The plan was to drive and take the Pacific Coast Highway north, then drive to Portland. I was able to get an amazing deal on a hotel room and saw the opportunity to go to Ikea to buy bookshelves and a dresser, so off I went. If I was going to wallow, I was going to do it on the coast!
Fun fact, in Oregon they do not call it PCH. I had a couple odd looks when I said that I was driving up it. I was told Oregonians called it the 101 to which I gave an odd look because it’s the 1 in California (where I’m from). So I determined Oregonians are weird and I’m definitely a Californian-ha!
I didn’t really have a plan. I put the town of Newport into my GPS and drove. Once I got there, I made a right on PCH and headed north. I simply stopped at a turnout or scenic overviews. I parked occasionally to walk on the beach. The weather was a bit gloomy, much like how I felt, and made for some truly spectacular photographs. Once I was about an hour west of Portland, I took a scenic bypass. It runs about 60 miles to the Washington border. I decided to take a portion of it before the sunset and I couldn’t see anything. It was even more beautiful then the previous stops.
I felt deeply connected and content. I’m not sure what it is about the Pacific that brings me back. Maybe it’s all the family holidays but I do feel a sense of calm, something that is hard to come by as an anxious worrier. I also don’t have the same feelings on the Atlantic coast. It was even more peaceful as I was essentially the only person around. Just me and the sound of the waves.
I’ve had a difficult transition in Bend. There have been a lot of tears and worrying. But I have never regretted being out here. My drive to the coast highlighted this. I know that when I’m struggling, that I can hop in my car, drive 3 hours, and see this. I cannot imagine a better place to feel grounded (well maybe the California coast).