One Year in Seattle

It’s a big milestone and I almost missed it. August 11 was busy this year. It wasn’t until almost bedtime that I looked at the calendar and realized that one year ago to the day Mike and I were on a flight to Seattle with basically everything we owned stuffed in 4 suitcases.

I was just as nervous then as I have been for every big trip I’ve ever taken. We didn’t have an apartment and we didn’t know Seattle very well at all (we’d visited together once, nearly two years earlier). We were taking a very real leap of faith and we didn’t have much of a Plan B for if things didn’t work out.

Fast forward a year and we are still here and spoiler alert: we love it. Settling down in Seattle was the best decision we could have made for ourselves and the past year has been an adjustment yes, but also fun, busy and life changing.

Seattle is an Awesome City

Looking back I have a hard time believing we moved out here with so little real life knowledge of what Seattle was actually like! It was a risk and it really paid off because I am super in love with our new home.

From our quirky Capitol Hill neighborhood to Pike Place Market (just a mile away) to the breweries of Ballard and Discovery Park up north, Seattle has been so much fun to explore and get to know. There’s terrific food, cheap access to tons of local produce and I even like the weather. Over the past year Seattle has really come to feel like I home and I suspect we will be here a long time.

Having a Community Rocks

Go Sounders!

Living abroad can be a really lonely experience, even with your husband. We relished the community we had in Sayulita, but eventually people moved on and we were back to just the two of us. A large part of why we wanted to settle down was the chance to have friends, hobbies and not spend 24 hours a day together every day.

A big influence on our decision to move to Seattle specifically was my best friend Kim and her husband Brian, who had moved out here a year before. Having them here, along with other old and new friends has been awesome. We threw a New Year’s party, have regular Blogger Game Nights and do tons of activities around town. It’s really taken some of the pressure off of each other and made our relationship stronger.

Best of all, I live a 10 minute walk away from my best friend which is basically every girl’s dream right? Yeah. Seattle is cool.

I Own a Lot More Stuff

Keep: Husbands who buy you books.

When we moved I wrote a little about my ambivalence about moving from nomads with few positions to apartment dwellers with well… stuff. As it turns out my fears were absolutely spot on. The amount of stuff we have aquired in the past year, from dinner plates to wall art, is absolutely mind boggling. In fact, we’re moving later on this year because our 500 square foot apartment, almost empty when we moved in, is simply too small.

So I failed to maintain my minimalism, but strangely, I really don’t feel bad about it. I try to be thoughtful about what I buy and what we really need. We save lots of money and we still don’t own a car (link), and have no plans to buy one. We’re keeping our eye on the important stuff.

Stuff is not the enemy, it’s your priorities that matter.

I Like Being Home

Recreating one of my favorite Chinese dishes

Another anxiety I had before we moved was whether I would enjoy having a fixed home, or whether I would feel restrained. The answer to this has been a resounding yes, I love having a home base. Love it. Having a place to come home to has made my travels even sweeter and more enjoyable.

This isn’t to say there is anything wrong with being nomadic. I loved that too. But for now I’m ecstatic about where I am.

But… I Still Can’t Sit Still

Our travels haven’t stopped or really slowed down that much, although I keep vowing to spend more time at home. More expendable income and more stability has actually met more opportunities to travel now than when we were in Mexico. In the past year we’ve been to Hawaii, Spain, Portugal, England, DC, Pennsylvania and Vancouver for the World Cup. I’ve also been to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Boston, Jasper, Alaska and Vegas on my own (Mike has also done a fair bit of business travel solo). Next week I’m going to Montana. We keep pretty busy.

We are trying to slow down a bit going forward for one major region: we want to get a dog. Still, it’s safe to say that travel is in our blood. It’s a huge part of our lives and it always will be.

I Need to Write More About Seattle

To prepare for this post I went back through the archives and realized I haven’t written much about our lives in Seattle at all. Part of it is that I have so many other travel experiences that need to be written about (I’m still recapping our Euro-trip from May!) and part of it is that I still don’t feel like an authority. I honestly feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface here, so I’ve got a lot more work to do.

I’ve resolved to write more Seattle posts this fall so hopefully I can help people who want to visit this super cool place. I’ve got two coming up this week about some very cool experiences I’ve had lately.

Bottom Line: Seattle rocks and we’re going to be here for the foreseeable future. Being here has given us the space to evolve: in our careers, in our relationship and as individuals. I’ll always be a traveler, but I am loving this part of my life right now.

Now who is coming to visit?

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Mary Jo Manzanares (@MJManzanares)
Mary Jo Manzanares (@MJManzanares)

Now that you’ve lived here a year, you must learn the correct way to refer to the Market. It’s Pike Place Market (so apostrophe, no “s”). That little slip is one way we can tell who is a local and who isn’t. And why is it that I have to travel to Europe to see you guys when you live about 30 miles away?

adventureliesinfront
adventureliesinfront

August 11- what an amazing date! (It’s my birthday).

Seattle looks amazing but not sure I could put up with the weather!

Marissa Pedersen
Marissa Pedersen

I am happy that you love my city! πŸ™‚ Great article, and I’m glad you have a picture of you at the Sounders game! Sports have become a big pride here. Let me know if you ever need suggestions of places to go/things to do!

Katie
Katie

Happy one year in Seattle! It is an awesome city, I visited for the third time this summer and finally fell hard for the city. I am currently travelling for a year but am happy to go back to having a base again after this πŸ™‚

Where's Zoe Now?
Where's Zoe Now?

Yay for home bases! I’ve never been completely nomadic, but for a while it was 3 months here, 3 months there… it’s so nice to have an apartment that’s “yours” where it feels worthwhile to decorate and fill up the freezer with food and buy some houseplants. (Early 20s me would think I’ve become sooooo domestic!)

NicoleTravelBug
NicoleTravelBug

Yah!! Happy Moving-To-Seattle Anniversary!

I was only in Seattle for two nights but LOVED it. It’s big enough to be a ‘big’ city but small enough it reminds me of home. Excited to have a few more days there later this week to really get to know it a bit better.
What I like most about Seattle is you’re close to plenty of cool places – Canada (*waves from Vancouver*), Alaska, the whole West Coast, and just three hours from delicious delicious donuts in Portland…). Can’t wait to get back for a longer visit!

rebecca
rebecca

Stuff is not the enemy, it’s your priorities that matter. Love that! Sometimes its nice to settle, and settle doesn’t mean it has to be forever just as travel doesn’t mean it has to be forever πŸ™‚

Sally
Sally

I wanna visit! I wanna visit! No, seriously. I do. I have yet to see much of the West Coast, and would love to do a trip to Seattle/Washington State, etc. Hopefully soon! And totally agree with you on the stuff. Before I moved to China, I got rid of almost everything I owned and was like, “I’m never going to own anything ever!” But now that I’ve been in Michigan for 2 years, I’ve accumulated quite a bit of stuff, and I really don’t mind it. I’m still careful about what I buy because I don’t have much storage… Read more »

Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren
Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren

Congrats! I love these updates. Seattle is such a great city.

Happy travels πŸ™‚

Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine
Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine

My boyfriend has Seattle right on the top of his “to move” list. And we haven’t even visited yet! I think we are going to line up a trip next year to test the waters and see how it is. I am REALLY apprehensive about the weather though. I need someone to tell it to me straight: how cranky could I get? Ha! I’ve heard such good things about it, though, and I’d love to learn more. Congrats on your year!

Aside: if I stayed in an AirBnB in Seattle, are there any particular neighborhoods you’d suggest searching?

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