August of 2015 I moved from the desert to the pacific wonderland that is Portland, Oregon. I literally moved by myself. I packed up my car with whatever would fit. If it did not fit, it did not go. I even ditched my bed set. I gave my room one last look. A room I grew up in. A room I made bad fashion decisions in. A room I cried in. A room I laughed in. A room that housed my deepest secrets. A room that my brother now resides in. None of my family was even home when I left. I hugged my dog and gave him a very sad goodbye, not knowing when I would see him again. I exited the driveway with a smile, a frown, and everything in between.
The drive from Las Vegas to Portland was roughly seventeen hours. I chose to go through northern Nevada and Idaho to reach my new home. Northern Nevada is terribly ugly and completely uninteresting, at least what I saw. I filled up my gas tank everytime I got down to a half tank not knowing how spread out each gas station would be. Better safe than stranded. I drove seventeen hours into the unknown to an apartment I had actually never seen, to live with a roommate I had technically never even met. Don’t worry, we had a mutual friend so I figured she wouldn’t murder me. Although never expressed to my face, I think a few people had doubts of my move. That’s fine. I decided. I planned. I moved. There was a lot of red bull involved and a handful of sketchy gas station bathrooms. I was sure I was going to die the last four hours of the journey from fatigue. But nonetheless, I survived. Man, was I foolish for doing it alone. However, I think I kind of needed that. It was quite the journey in a figurative and literal sense. Everyone should experience at least one solitary road trip in their lifetime. I had made a move for myself and no one else.
The first few days after the move, I had no idea what to do with myself. Sure, I needed to buy a bed and other room items, but I had no idea where I was, essentially. I knew Vegas like the back of my hand, but here I didn’t even know where a grocery store was. I don’t think any of that actually scared me or discouraged me, but actually gave me a fun challenge. I had to learn where everything was, general direction, and where to find the best coffee (still working on that…Portland has a plethora of coffee shops). I utilized the maps app on my phone A LOT. Some days I would map to my destination, pay attention to the streets and then test my memory on how to get back to my apartment without the maps app. Some days it was easy and some days I got utterly lost. I had to get an Oregon driver’s license which required me to take a written driving test. I had not done that in about a decade. I actually studied the Oregon Driving Manual like a dork. I managed to pass the test on the first try, yay! Although navigating a new city can be challenging, it can also make you feel adventurous. Everything felt shiny and brand new.
I think I felt a little homesick at times. That sort of drastic change of scenery will do that to you. I really missed my dog the most (I’m the worst). I missed the familiar a little. After some time I got to the point when I said to myself: This is my home, I live here now. There were moments when it did not feel real. There were also moments when it felt too real. I had mixed emotions for a while, but I never once doubted my decision.
I wouldn’t say I grew up here necessarily. I was twenty five when I made the move. I will say that the move challenged me though. It challenged who I am. It challenged my comfort zone. It challenged what I can accomplish on my own. Portland made me feel at home. Everything I am or ever wanted to be is here. Portland made me feel more comfortable with myself. Las Vegas made me feel shallow and bad for wanting to be who I am. Portland makes me feel like I belong. The people here seem so eclectic and from every walk of life. I do feel I am growing here though. A personal evolution is and has been happening. I have honestly never felt more like myself. Las Vegas will always have a small piece of my heart, but August of 2015 I gave my heart to the city of Portland. A love story indeed.