adventures in and around seattle

Sometimes life is predictable, and the rest of the time it brings the unknown. I find that most of my life is found in the unknown – a place filled with adventures and new beginnings around every corner. Last week life served me a pile of lemons. As I write this I sit watching sailboats bob in a harbor with chai in hand, and I cannot help but think that I have done a great job of making lemonade from lemons. And so, while I am turning a corner, here are some of the adventures that I have had – I heartily endorse this region and these places if you are so inclined to make your own adventure.

(Pictures were captured with my small Canon PowerShot SD 1000 that fits into my purse or back pocket – perfect for travel and spontaneous adventures, though less than perfect in doing what I ask of it….)

hiking snohomish county

This trip Heather loaned me Hiking Snohomish County by Ken Wilcox – an excellent, small book filled with hikes and day adventures North of Seattle. One day found me and my brother Matt hiking Boulder River and another day I did a solo hike to Wallace Falls. Both could be longer hikes, but I made them mild 6 and 5 mile hikes without too much elevation change. The scenery on both hikes was stunning and hiking alongside rivers and waterfalls filled my ears and mind with sounds of rushing water. The book has over 100 other hikes – this is a region that could fill weeks of fun!

whidbey island

We decided to take the long way from Arlington to Seattle – we drove North,West, and then South. This took us over Deception Pass, down Whidbey Island and required a ferry crossing from Clinton to Mukilteo. We had the perfect Seattle day that makes people forget about the long, grey winters: 75 degrees, blue skies, and warm sun. With the sun roof open, we drove through incredibly beautiful country, saw the water, and stopped at lookouts along the way. If you take just one trip to this region, make sure that you find yourself on a ferry – there is something magical about taking a car from one piece of land to another, and standing at the front of the ferry is a most spectacular bonus.


Ballard is North of downtown Seattle and is filled goodness. Somehow all of the pictures I took here were on my iphone, but trust me, a good place to explore. Cute shops, multiple locations to get authentic Pho soup, a most awesome cupcake and coffee shop, a jewelry shop, and an old, beautifully restored, small movie theater. My wallet appreciates that I do not live next to these streets.

small town pacific northwest

There are an impressive number of cute small towns to explore in this region – I explored Arlington and Bellingham. Alrington’s cafe selection is nothing special, but I could not have asked for better breakfast diners – just be sure to split your plate with someone or you will be embarrassed by how much food is thrown away. And, I just happened to be in Arlington during their car show – the best of which was a car that also served as a boat. The smiling old owner happily turned on the propellers for the children (and me) to oh and ah over. As for Bellingham, their old historic district, Fairhaven, is worth your time to visit. Cute shops (Arabella), a fantastic independent bookstore (Village Books), fish & chips sold out of a bus, and a coffee shop overlooking the water with big windows (Woods Coffee)- what more could you possibly ask for? A view of the water? They have that too.

flying a kite

The first day of this trip, I bought a kite that I hoped to fly in a park, a city, or by the ocean – anywhere. But every time I took it out of the car, the wind would suddenly stand still. Until this afternoon. And now I feel justified for having Marry Poppin’s “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” running through my head…

to live

This afternoon as I spent time writing at a cafe. Writing for me; writing to work through thoughts hovering below the surface. The sun has now set, and it has been a good time to think, to reflect. The past months have rushed by disappearing almost before they began as my time was filled from waking to sleeping with the motions of research, writing, and trying to live. Now I am almost done and am working to remember what it is like to simply be, to let the mind and body slow to a healthy pace. It is good.

Today I spent time mulling over the future, thinking about my wants, my likes, and my desires. If you were to walk up to me today and ask what I was going to do next, what my goals and aspirations are, I could answer you clearly and concisely. I created goals that society approves of—they hard for many people in the Midwest to understand because they are, in their simple concept, so foreign and different from their daily lives, but they can appreciate them as goals.

One day I even created five and ten year life plans. They are good plans. But, if I am completely honest, I will not be disappointed if I do not walk the road of these plans. Today, as I thought about my wants, my dreams, I realized that they have nothing to do with these goals. Rather, they have everything to living life to its fullest.

I have imagined so many things for my life, so many different avenues that I could walk down; each is beautiful in its own way. What these avenues hold in common is this: I want to live. I want to continue to learn. I want to give of my abilities and knowledge. I want rich friendships and a home to share. These are hard ideas for many people to grasp as there is no seven step plan that will enable me to reach these goals, no five or ten your plan to be created. It means that I do not know what the future will look like What I do know is that it will be rich.

Today I am excited about the future, about the richness of life that this unknown is sure to be.

the way i see it

Starbucks…in theory, I do not support Starbucks. In reality they supply me with my Tazo Awake Tea with steamed milk in it on a regular basis while I am on campus. Someday I will write about my favorite independent coffee shop in town. Until then, one thing I love about Starbucks: the quotes that they place on the side of their (disposable) coffee cups called “The Way I See It.” Some of these quotes are worth keeping, including the one from yesterday’s tea that is still sitting on my desk…

The Way I See It #284
“You can’t lead the people, if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people, if you don’t serve the people.” –Cornel West, University professor, Princeton University