The Real Purpose of This Place

May 7, 2010

For the past quarter century, this thriving city has served as a springboard for my adventures. Whether it was a summer excursion in Europe, living in Asia, or riding a bike across the western U.S., Seattle helped prepare me. For example, Rick Steves — an Edmond, Washington native — has written a number of travel books which were both an inspiration and invaluable guides. In particular, I’m indebted to Europe Through the Back Door which sold me on the virtues of traveling light and with a flexible itinerary. Another way that Seattle has proven useful was when I began contemplating taking a couple years off from my career to live in Japan. The University of Washington, located here in the city, offered First Year Japanese night classes. And the innumerable hours spent riding along the bicycle trails helped build my cycling stamina in preparation for my bike trip to Iowa. In these respects, Seattle has been a near-perfect place for me. Now there is one final campaign awaiting. One last odyssey from which I shall not be returning.

Where will I be heading off to? The main attractions right now, disparate as they may sound, are Oregon or…Thailand! For the former, I’d been initially reading some conversation threads on the internet about the city of Eugene. In a couple of them, Corvallis (just up the road on Highway 99) received a few compliments. Curious, I did some research and found myself wanting to pay a visit. Of course the climate would be but a minor improvement over Seattle’s, but other factors weigh in — perhaps more on these later — to put this small city at the top of the list of places I might like to retire to. Think I’ll venture down there this summer.

But why Thailand? Well, during both of my previous two overseas trips, I spent some extended time there, always wishing I could stay longer. It’s such a delight to be wearing only shorts and a t-shirt in January when much of the U.S. is under the siege of Old Man Winter. And then there are the ladies, who are not hard on the eyes at all. If I ever want to try living in the country (the logical next step), now’s the time. While I still have the, shall we say, appetite for new experiences.

Whatever I decide, this will be the end of the line for the Emerald City. If I end up relocating to Corvallis, all my meager possessions will of course accompany me. For Thailand, my things will remain here in my storage unit, but I’ll only be returning for short visits. Never again will I be a resident. For numerous reasons, this has become a place I no longer have much affection for.

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