While this blog is mostly just gushing over the PNW, I want you to know before you start reading that it will also bring you insight as to what I really love about this job. Feel free to skip down past the gushy stuff to the divider for more gorgeous photos and our travel itinerary.
Being a real estate agent is fun and as you may have heard before, it is not for the faint of heart. Since I began in the industry in 2018, the Denver market alone has been.... less than predictable. That's what I love about it - that no two days, weeks, months, or years are the same. It's ever-evolving and there are so many ways to make this business work.
The one thing most people agree on is that can be difficult to motivate yourself (without a boss telling you what to do) unless you can hone in on your "why": Why are you doing this? What is it about real estate that draws you and what will come of your success?
I believe the answer to these questions is probably multifaceted for each person.
On the one hand, the job itself is rewarding beyond measure. I love the look on someone's face when they realize the house they are standing in is special and meant for them. Or the relief on a seller's face when they understand I'm going to take the weight of the sale off of their shoulders. It is a beautiful thing to be able to say I truly love my job for the day-to-day, and I do.
But helping other people isn't my only "why". I am also rewarded in free time. And boy, do I love free time. It has taken me a good number of years to feel like it's okay if I'm not working 60-hour weeks. My business might even be more successful if I worked fewer hours and gave myself (and my body and my brain) a wee break. In the wise words of Billie Joel:
"Where's the fire what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out"
This year, in particular, 2023, I set my intention to slow down. To take a chill pill and trust the process.... that was the goal. After 5 years of working really really hard to build this business, it was time to start grasping the little moments in between and keeping them for myself. Like sitting in the garden for ten extra minutes, or reading my book (definitely a novel - not "How to Start a Business for Dummies") for a good while before diving into work for the day. It has been a year of learning the balance between "go-go-go" and "woah slow down". This trip to the Pacific Northwest was the ultimate embodiment of the "slow your roll" segment I had decided to create for myself in 2023.
Behold: Three weeks on the road with the loves of my life.
Hendrik and I have been talking about this trip since we moved to Denver in 2017. The Florida girl and the German, take on the American West. It took us a little while to do it right, but we finally set aside enough days to make it work. We decided that traveling without Cracker Jack didn't make a lick of sense, since he is a perfect gentleman, and so it was.
It was the end of August, five days before my 31st birthday - and we were off!
We can't go on a road trip without finding a lost pet... So the first day we found a dog named Max who was crossing the highway and made a little pit stop to return him. Then we drove through Wyoming and glamped at a KOA cabin (quite luxurious).
The next day we stopped in Bozeman, MT (Abi's hometown) and had lunch and coffee at some of her favorite spots.
We were fortunate to cross paths with Hilary and Mitch at Hilary's Dad's house! He made us a delicious traditional Jamaican meal and after dinner, Hendrik promptly became addicted to his indoor basketball game.
The next day we headed straight through to Coeur d'Alene, ID, and stayed in another campground in a cabin similar to the one at the WY KOA - except... it had a bear lock on the front door, just in case the campground bears got curious, I suppose.
Our next stop was in Silver Beach, Washington. There was a slight mix-up with our room, and we ended up being transferred from a roadside motel room to a tiny house with a beach view! It was a lovely unexpected bonus.
We took our breakfast to go and headed north towards Mt. Rainier National Park - which is why we took a dive so far south in the first place. We only had time for one stop, since we had 5+ hours of drive time planned for that day (without the detour). So, we decided on Christine Falls - and boy, am I glad we did!
That evening we ended up at our first real "destination" - a little red cabin in the woods near Hoodsport, Washington. Hoodsport is a little town about an hour and a half west of Seattle, toward the Olympic National Forest.
We spent the next few days in Hoodsport porch sitting, rain watching, lake swimming, paddle boarding, and hot tubbing. It was a glorious way to ring in 31!
And then we were back on the road! We stopped in Forks, WA, and visited La Push Beach on the Quileute Reservation. The 15-year-old in me was smitten. #IYKYK
We ate a lot of our lunches and dinners outside,
and my favorite picnics were the ones with our blanket in the sand.
Next up was Seaside, OR - but not before we crossed the Astoria Bridge. I've never been a fan of long bridges, and it turns out giant bridges in the fog are a big "box breather" for me. I was glad Hendrik was driving!
In Seaside, we took another little breather from driving and stayed at a cute boutique art hotel for a couple of days. We had a suite with a kitchen and access to a spa area that properly blew my mind. If you're ever in the Cannon Beach area and are looking for a great place to stay, I definitely recommend this inn!
Next, we were off to the Mt. Hood area, but not before stopping in Portland to snag Austin and Dad! Neither of them had ever been to the PNW, and they were both able to take the weekend off to come out and visit. Cracker Jack was thrilled and their presence was a welcomed addition to our trio.
We spent the weekend in Mt. Hood hiking, playing board games, watching Lord of the Rings (because obviously), and naturally, hot tubbing.
We dropped the boys back at the airport on Labor Day and enjoyed one more night listening to the rain patter on different types of leaves and pines before heading back towards Colorado the next day.
Throughout the rest of Oregon and into Idaho, we searched for greenery and waterfalls and lakes and rivers. We were in awe of the density of the forests and the clarity of the water. By the time we got to Utah, we were coming across canyons full of water, in the middle of what seemed like desert, and were struck by the rainbows that resulted from the occasional blackened sky.
There were things we saw that we'll probably never lay eyes on again. Like the farm with the Progress Pride flag proudly flying on a red antique tractor, blue sky in the background, surrounded by some light brown crop (wheat maybe)? Or the Salmon Trail Hike that's essentially a neighborhood walk in the subdivision we stayed in near Mt. Hood.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to have taken this long long drive, and to have explored the backroads of so many small towns. I am also grateful to be doing it alongside my favorite road trip partner. After ten years, we still got it.
And this time we got to do it with our pup, too!
My cup is overflowing, y'all. These moments are my "why".
Cheers until the next one,