Funny how life is: it sends you something, someone, or someplace…and it has a way of circling back. Are the forces that be telling you go, see, doÂ again?
After my first year of school, I needed to get out of Florida. We had family friends in Seattle, so I worked ahead of time to get an internship in the city for the summer months. I didn’t know anyone my age, but I enjoyed a new level of autonomy and independence not experienced before. 4,000 miles away from home armed with a bus pass and solid paychecks. I was thrilled.
At the time my hobby was luxury leathergoods, so I spent many a Saturday browsing Seattle’s Louis Vuitton outpost. My first two friends in the city worked there – Annabelle and Xavier. Through countless conversations over my Taiga backpack, we got to know each other. Both have now moved on from the store, butÂ I’m still friends with both of them.
I clicked with a refreshing group of young professionals at work too – Katherine, Pam, and Jon. They were queer, smarter than me, and totally comfortable in their own skin. I loved them. All three lived on Capitol Hill in funky historic apartments, drank at brasserie-style bars, and had complex, fascinating conversations.
Some of my most vivid memories of Seattle relate to walking and being on the bus. I listened to Nelly Furtado’s LooseÂ for three months straight, mostly on King Metro #26. I took the bus and walked to the walk-in clinic the weekend I was sick and my hosts were out of town. I took the bus to Ballard to work out at Olympic Athletic Club (which was sadly devoid of anyone under 30). And when Downtown, I walked just about everywhere. Got my hair cut in Belltown, sipped on bubble tea in the International District (Korea/China/Vietnam-town). For someone from Florida, where car travel is assumed for all trips away from the doorstep, the collective experience of a summer on foot was, and I don’t want to overstate this…mindblowing!
For those unacquainted with the city, it actually gets less total rainfall than places like Miami and New York. It just has horribly gray, drizzly winters that last from mid-fall to about April. The summers, however, are wonderful. Nearly perfect temperature, cool enough at night for a jacket and warm enough to bare shoulders and midriffs. In other words, precisely what a weary, heat-oppressed boy likes.
For most of the past year, I have been anxious with desire to leave Tampa; Seattle as a new home has never crossed my mind. Bigger cities have more visceral appeal. Following a week of renewed consideration, however, the emerald city seems more and more like a solid prospect. Mountain access, hills, lots of water, coffee shop culture, and modernist dream architecture don’t hurt its case. Before, I felt like it was too small a ‘big city.’ Though that still may be true, it’s large enough to hold my attention and small enough to easily fold into a social group, as I experienced in my short time there.
As I refine my plan, it may become a top choice, especially if breaking into the labor market is easier than in cities like San Francisco and New York. Stay tuned!
For some quick resources to get you up to speed on Seattle, see: