Alone. It’s a word that many of us are so scared of and what the word itself may entail. I know it was that way for me for a long time, but it is slowly starting to become something I embrace. I am someone who usually seeks refuge in solitude, but ultimately I always have had this fear of being alone. It was a big part of the reason I chose to leave school in 2015 because I was fearful of being alone with myself. Flash forward to 2018 and I am about to embark on my first journey ever completely by myself. I am terrified, but I have felt for a long time that it is something I needed to do. I feel like some of the best ideas and self-discoveries happen when you can be alone with yourself, and this is my journey.
Denver, Colorado was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to, but yet it also was one of the most simple. This city was on my itinerary simply because I wanted to see the Rocky Mountains and saw them I did. I grew up with the Smoky Mountains all around me so the mountains represent home for me in many ways, and seeing the Rockies confirmed that for me. Denver felt so much like home for me because I was surrounded by so much familiarity. The moment I think I felt the safest was when I went to Lookout Gulch in Boulder, and I saw the vast expansion of the mountains all together right in front of me. It took my breath away, and I didn’t ever want to leave that moment.
Besides the ethereal beauty of the Rockies, Denver is also filled with so much goodness in terms of people and places. Every place I went to was so welcoming, and they advertised as such. Everyone was encouraging of local food, places, and art. It was so refreshing to see everyone being so supportive of people doing what they love no matter what it may be. It made me feel like I could do anything that I desired as long as I had the passion and the will to succeed. I walked away from Denver feeling very hopeful of my future, and also a strong desire to come back and see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Many people know that the one city I have always had the strongest desire to visit is London, England, but before I ever had that desire my dream city was Seattle, Washington. In high school when I really got into writing, I wanted to move to Seattle to work in publishing, but my dream has kind of matured and shifted over the years. I still had a strong desire to explore the city, and I never thought I ever would, but I finally got the chance. Everything about this city was calling me, and I never fit in so well in one place before. From all the local coffee shops to the farmer’s market, everything was centered around supporting local businesses and art. Pike Place Market was my dream, and I went there almost every day. They had the best shops there, and they were all locally sourced. I loved to see all these local businesses getting the support they deserved. It was so amazing to see all that supportiveness again from everyone because it is not something I tend to see every day where I am from. I love to support people’s passions no matter what, and seeing everyone encourage that there was so beautiful.
Seattle is such an art oriented city that there really is no shortage of things to see no matter the art form. I had the privilege of seeing a movie at the SIFF Cinema Uptown where they have the Seattle Independent Film Festival every year, and it was just so cool seeing so many people support independent films. The Museum of Pop Culture was one of favorites as well, and the David Bowie exhibit made me cry. I wish I could be surrounded by these things every day because it was just so exciting to be exposed to all of this within walking distance. Art is so important and to see it so celebrated there in all aspects made my heart so happy.
While in Seattle, I also got the chance to take a train to Portland, Oregon for the day, and it was just as beautiful. The cities are very similar in every aspect, but Portland seemed to be easier to just explore. I walked every where and went to Powell’s City of Books which was the best day of my life. I probably could have spend days in there because it was so overwhelming. I wish I had more time to explore all of Portland because they also have such a good art scene as well. I also went to the rose garden even though there were no roses because of winter, but the scenery there was still so beautiful. It had such an amazing view of the city. It was just so peaceful. I definitely want to revisit in the future so I can see more of the city, and really get a taste of what they are about.
Seattle was just way better than any thing I ever could have imagined, and I didn’t want to leave. It physically hurt my heart to get on the plane to go home. I just kept wishing I could have that feeling back in Nashville, and then I realized I could I just have to look around more. I definitely will be visiting again in the future though because I connected to that city in so many ways.
This trip as a whole has shaped me in more ways than I could ever have even imagined. I was nervous to do something completely by myself because I have relied on being with others for so long. It made me realize how much I truly like being alone with myself now. I love being around people, and I hope to someday have someone go on adventures with, but for now I am learning to be happy with myself. Learning to be alone with oneself is the first step to true happiness, and I’m finally getting there. I cannot wait to see where life takes me next. To many more adventures.