Like most teenage girls in 2008 I was obsessed with the Twilight franchise. The vampires, werewolves, love story, and the Pacific Northwest all seemed very appealing to me at the time. As the years passed by, my love of Edward and Bella faded away but my curiosity for what adventures were waiting out West was always in the back of my mind. I pictured an amazing music scene with grunge and punk rock bands, tons of breweries with good beer, Seahawks fans…and rain lots of rain.
In 2016 when I was about to graduate from college, and packing up and moving to Seattle was definitely on my list of things to look into. I started checking into jobs shortly before graduation and found quite a bit of media jobs. However my bubble was quickly burst when I discovered the cost of living in Seattle was WELL above what I could afford as a recent college grad. My dreams of living out West were put on hold for the time being.
Fast Forward 2 ½ years into my career as a producer and content manager at my local NBC affiliate station I was at a stalemate and my job was not fulfilling me. I started to look for positions at other TV stations across the country in hopes of finding something that I really wanted. I got multiple job offers during this time, but nothing ever felt like the right fit. Then at the moment I least expected it, I met a boy...and subsequently fell in love. I stopped my job search for the time being and stayed put while he was still located in my city for his job as a traveling physical therapist. When It come time for him to leave he asked me to travel the country with him, spending a few months in one area and then moving on to the next one. I jumped at the opportunity because one, I am madly in love with my boyfriend. And two, there was nothing for me in West Virginia anymore and after 26 years it was time for me to branch out and see some other parts of the world.
Our first stop was Greenville, South Carolina. We spent about three months there throughout the fall. The area we lived in was a nice, up and coming gentrified area with a lot happening. Good food and art scene as well. However, other than being able to live with my honey and spend the holidays with him there, South Carolina really wasn’t my cup of tea but will always hold a special place in my heart.
Near the end of our time in Greenville we started discussing where we would like to go next. One of the options we had was Tacoma, Washington. At the time, I had no idea just how close the city was to Seattle, but I knew it was closer than where I was. My boyfriend and I talked it over and decided that we were packing up and heading out West. For me, this was extra sweet because not only was I on my way to a place I’d always wanted to go, but I was starting a brand new journey with my best friend.
On January 11th we started our 2,500 mile journey from his home in Rochester, New York to Tacoma, Washington. It took us 4 days of driving 10 hours per day to get to our new home. We drove through 13 states and spent three nights in hotels. Although it was a cool experience to be in many states I’d never been to before, it is not something I will never want to do again.
Six months later, we now have been living in the Pacific Northwest for the entirety of 2019. We live in an area called Old Town, which is where Tacoma was founded. The town is full of history and culture that the PNW is known for. There is also a major influence from Asian culture here. In fact, Tacoma has a sister City in China that has dedicated a park to the area we live in.
Another great aspect of living here is all of the outdoor activities there are to do year round. There are some amazing ski resorts and hiking trails, as well as a ton of lakes and rivers for parasailing, rafting, boating and so much more. My boyfriend and I are semi-active people, so we like to be outside and go on adventures. This area gave us the opportunity to do so whenever we like.
While I love living in Tacoma, traveling the 30 miles away to visit Seattle was necessary to catch certain festivals, shows, and to just see all of the historic places. If you are planning a trip to Seattle, Pike Place Market needs to be the number one stop on your list. While it is crowded (and kind of smells like fish) it is an iconic Washington landmark. You will find handmade jewelry and art, along with fresh produce and seafood. There are also some awesome small restaurants, and boutiques are inside of the enclosed area. Not to mention the infamous (and gross) Wall of Gum. Kerry Park is also a great place to visit if you are in Seattle. From the area you can see the entire Seattle skyline and a magnificent view of Mt. Rainier.
That brings me to possibly my favorite part about living in the PNW...the mountains. As a West Virginia girl, being near the mountains brings me a sense of home and a feeling of safety. I grew up surrounded by mountains, and it’s hard not to feel at peace when I am among them.
All in all, my time here has been such an experience that I will be grateful for the rest of my life. I feel very blessed to have had the chance to experience it, and to do so with my best friend. If my family and friends were closer than a four days drive away, I would consider living here for good. Since moving here I've had my ups and downs but nonetheless I am grateful for all of my experiences. While we still have a couple of months here,
I can’t wait to see what the future holds and where our travels take us.