And the path starts… now. Closed my front door this morning, locked it, slipped the house keys into the mailbox for the landlord and set off towards the street. Right. Left. Right. Left… right.

I’ve moved many times in my nine years in Seattle. Moved from apartment to house, to California and back, lived with friends and by myself, but always with a tangible plan spread out before me. This move feels more like… that moment when you go to dive, arms spread wide in the air before forming an arrow that will lead you decisively into the water. That moment when your toes aren’t quite on land but haven’t fully committed to the air. That moment when your eyes want to instinctively close but you keep them open anyway to see what’s ahead of you. Leaping into the unknown. Eyes wide. Body tense. Wind in your hair. Lungs at capacity.

Being on the road feels good. Natural. Travelling with my dad is something so familiar to me; we have used roadtrips and car time—‘Wanders’—as our time since I can remember. “Where should we go, Wup?” he’d ask. “North or South?” Today we go south. In a month, I’ll travel further west on a plane than I’ve ever been. (Although really, when you’re going that far, east and west kind of lose their meaning.)

I’m going west, to the East.

It has been nine years since I moved to Seattle. Nearly a third of my life has been spent exploring the Pacific Northwest, a region I knew little about and have grown to love immensely. “You’re going to Seattle for College? It rains a lot there, doesn’t it?” Yes, yes it does. Salmon. Cedars. Native Americans. Punk rock. Grunge. And then you live here, and there’s just this certain something about it—like you are an integral part of this beautiful, tiny corner of the world full of cyclists and foodies and craftsmen and the most delicious fucking beer you’ve ever had. Surrounded by people who enjoy good things and take the time to do them right. We would. It’s raining outside.

Leaving seems… well, beyond the sheer feeling of adventure, it feels like crawling out of a warm blanket and into the cold, crisp, potentially brutal air of possibility. Seattle will always be a home for me, but I do believe there are others to be found out there. Korea may or may not be one, but I have no doubt it will be a lover of mine for a while. Seattle, you’ve done me well. Within you I’ve gained lifelong friends, loving family, and a sense of self. I have no doubt or regrets about you. And perhaps that is why I can leave you knowing that the part of my heart I leave behind will always be kept safe. Don’t change too much while I’m gone (and for goodness sake, stop building condos).

Farewell, my Northwest home.

I, Freedom(the camper), Yonder(the truck), my dad, and a U-Haul containing my material life head South. So does the rain.


One thought on “Southbound

  1. Seattle warmly awaits you, Em, should you choose to come back to us, into the heady, perpetual drizzle of friendship and micro brews…

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