I visited Seattle for the first time in June 2002. I was traveling on my own, and wrapping up a 30-day tour of art museums in six U.S. cities. William and Mary funded my entire trip – it was an approved project for their Monroe Scholar program (rough life, I know). I was feeling very fatigued from travel at that point, and incredibly lonely. I had never traveled solo but thought I’d be cut out for it. Sadly, no. I think that traveling on your own can be extremely fun and rewarding, but only if you have the right kind of personality. Me – I’m certainly no extrovert, and the thought of approaching others at the hostels where I stayed made me queasy. So I kept to myself. There was a lot of holing up in bookstores and reading for hours and hours on that trip. Seattle was the final stop, and I was excited to get my stay there over with so I could finally make it home.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I loved Seattle. Even though I didn’t venture out to the fun neighborhoods (I stayed at a hostel a block away from Pike Place Market, and mostly wandered around the downtown area since I didn’t know any better), something about the city and the air just seemed different. Maybe it was the proximity of water and mountains? Who knows, but I was captivated. It helped a lot that the weather was positively perfect – 70s and sunny every day. Helloooooo, Seattle summers. I vowed to make a return trip to explore further.
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long – I was back in November 2004. That was an utterly spontaneous trip that I took with my new friend and co-worker, Christine. Thinking back, the whole thing was a little ridiculous. But I guess these are the kinds of things that early 20-somethings do. I was a little worried that it would be rainy and miserable, but we lucked out big time – we had gorgeous, ideal fall weather. I also got to visit some of the young, hip neighborhoods of Seattle for the first time. I specifically remember checking out Fremont, Capitol Hill, and the University District. And drinking beer. There was a. lot. of. beer. We had an amazing time, and needless to say, that experience sealed the deal. I was in love with the city!
The next jaunt to Seattle was in October 2008 – and that time, I brought Thomas with me, who had never been before. Seattle was just one stop on our 10-day tour of the Pacific Northwest (we also saw Portland and Vancouver). We hung out with our friends Anne and Dan, who had just moved there from the DC area that summer. We had a grand old time and visited even more neighborhoods and fun places.
I can’t tell you how and why it happened, but something finally clicked last spring, and Thomas and I decided that we would move to Seattle. Even early on in our relationship, we had always talked about moving to a new city together. Chicago was a contender. Austin, weirdly, though we’ve never been there. San Francisco/Berkeley too. But in the end, Seattle just made the most sense. I already knew I loved it, and Thomas, being the laid-back one, was happy to go along with it. He liked the city well enough, so why not?
We made it our goal to move by April of this year, and started planning on how we were going to make that happen. Sort of unexpectedly, we got engaged, and that threw a wrench into our plans a bit. I wanted a DC fall wedding, and the earliest time that could happen was this year. I was not wild about the idea of planning a wedding from the west coast, so we pushed back the move to November. And now, here we are.
We’ve been back to Seattle since we decided on the move, just to make sure. And yeah, we’re sure. I can’t really explain it, but the city just fits us. I think we’ll be really happy there. We could be wrong, of course. There is always the possibility that we’ll get there and hate it. Hate the constant rain, hate not having a billion friends around, hate our jobs, hate our apartment. But how will we know unless we try?