Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Seattle: Final Post

Almost a year ago i decided to spend a month in America, more specifically Seattle, Washington.
Everyone i speak to asks "Why Seattle?" or just simply "Why?" and mostly i answer with "why not?" My choice of city is fairly random, i just gravitated towards it, no real conscious reason as to why, let's call it destiny. I took my savings, i booked my flights, i found a place to stay and i put it to the back of my mind.
A good few months later, excited and scared i boarded a flight.

I have travelled before, sometimes alone but often with friends or family. I had never gone for more than a week and i had never gone more than 1000 miles away from home base.
I left with no defined purpose, no "this is what i want out of this trip" list and no idea of what it would do to me. Much of my trip was spent coasting on adrenaline and adventure. I did tourist-y things and shopped and explored my new city.
I also spent a lot of time observing.
Observing a culture i've had a little obsession with for quite some time.
Culturally, nothing shocked me. I was momentarily taken aback by some things, people's attitudes or actions, the fact that TV is more adverts than shows. There were lots of things i liked though, people seemed more open and friendly. I ended up staying with the coolest woman in her 70's, she knew the guy i originally booked accommodation with who bailed on me and said yes to having me in her spare room knowing only my name and age. She turned out to be such a wonderful part of my trip. People approached me on the street to say they liked my clothes, or my bottom (thank you again to the men of Seattle who publicly appreciated my "ass") random conversations would start in shops and go on for ages and not get boring!
There was in general a quite relaxed attitude and I got the impression that Seattle is quite liberal, which i liked.
The one thing i really couldn't understand was how separate i felt from people my own age. Obviously i spent a comparatively small amount of time in the USA but i felt very mature. Maybe it's the 21 drinking age thing but i mean, people my age seemed to be acting the way i did at 15 - 16 and the people i met in their early 20's were more like myself. I hung out with a group of 21 to 23 year olds one time who pretty much froze me out the second i said i was 19 (they were all going out to a bar later that night, i knew i couldn't but wanted to chill with them before they left). I just sat there thinking "I've been drinking legally for longer than you, and don't even get me started on illegally!" It sounds silly but i felt pretty shit that it was such a big deal!

At this point i kinda just have to totally un-smoothly cut to another subject.
The personal journey that the trip became.

I always had an inkling that one month alone in Seattle would be a good exercise in finding myself and it really, really was.
To break it down, i don't know if i really came back the same person at all.
When you're alone, which i was (aside from facebook the only contact i had to home was one phone call to my dad) you really have to get to know and like and love yourself, else you're fucked. F U C K E D. I'm serious, if you are the only company you have and you can't even say "i like you" you're in for one rubbish time.
I have always been independent and pretty good at alone time but the first week broke me.
I cried and i wallowed in my own self pity and i brooded and i cried. And i realised how shit my life had got because i'd gotten too lazy to live it, i was in a constant state of waiting for something good to happen; so focused on the future i was missing the present. I noticed how ungrateful i'd become, how little i appreciated the small things that every person should appreciate openly and loudly so everyone knows!
I could go on listing but let's just say i realised a lot; a whole damn lot.
I found comfort in the lyrics of this song: Can't Go Back Now by The Weepies, i don't know the band i just found the lyrics on a blog and looked it up. As cliched as it may be, the line "In the end the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself" really saw me through some tough moments. I think that lyric, finding the ability to love and praise myself and keeping a journal may have been the things that stopped me from losing my mind at times.
It was hard. But it was amazing.
I laughed just now, remembering how much i cried in my first week and then i saw this in my journal
"I remember looking out of the plane window on flight here, seeing Seattle lit up below me
and crying. Because i was proud of myself, because i had done it. I think those might have
been the only tears worth crying."
They really were.

I encourage anyone who wants to travel or see a place to go alone, just do it. Be scared and lost and alone and scared and excited. Please. Because honestly, it will do you so much good. I learnt so much about what i can achieve, from start to finish i financed, organised and did the trip alone and more importantly i recognised how amazing it was that i managed it. For the first time i was able to say to myself "i'm proud of you" and "i love you" and there is no feeling like realising your own awesomeness : )

It's really hard to write this down, because it just doesn't come out of my head well, but i hope i've got the general feeling across.
I do love talking about it in detail to anyone with the tiniest bit of interest so if you have a specific question then please please feel free to ask it and i will endeavour to answer as best i can.


  1. This is such a beautiful and inspiring post. I love you!

  2. You are amazing!! I loved reading this... I feel proud of you and don't even know you other than through your blog. This post was perfect, and conveyed your thoughts wonderfully. Thank you for sharing.

  3. so great! really cool. Nice to see such spontanious and free people. :)


  4. I've travelled alone and like you, realized just how important it is to love yourself and your own company since that's all you have sometimes.
    As for Seattle, I find it romantic somehow. Must have something to do with the movie Sleepless in Seattle...or my love of Seattle grunge music? ;)

  5. This is such an amazing post! I'm glad you were able to travel alone and have time to think. I think I really need this too right now.