My first few international trips were to Canada and Europe, and not the fun, beachy, party parts of Europe like Ibiza or Santorini either. I am talking London, Munich, Salzburg, and Brussels. Apart from studying in London, I took these trips in the dead of winter, snow on the ground and everything. I was born and have always lived in the PNW where we have four seasons, and 3 of them are cold. Until this year, I had never been anywhere tropical, sub-tropical or even temperate. My only exposure to real heat was in the deserts of Nevada.
When I booked my trip to Asia, I worried for weeks about my pale skin boiling in the tropical heat. But what I found when I arrived was that I thrive under the sun. Tropical sunshine seems to be a source of fuel for me, giving me boundless energy. But what really fuels my fire is the ocean. I could spend countless hours sitting and staring at the waves crashing against the shore. If I had a book and a hammock, I could spend days at the beach before I would get bored. In my vast amounts of free time, I have started to wonder how I had lived my life up until that point without really experiencing a beach. Let’s be real, the Pacific coast of the US is not exactly a tropical paradise, though there are technically beaches.
Once I returned to Washington and the snow started to fall, I fell into a funk. I had less energy, I was always cold and refused to leave the comforts of my electric blanket. I stopped going outside unless it was absolutely necessary and I started sleeping a LOT more. Seasonal affective disorder was in full force. I began thinking about why I live where I live, and whether or not I am going to come back to Washington after my time in Australia comes to a close.
I live in Washington because the majority of my family lives in Washington. They live in Washington because their parents grew up there. Sure, I love my home state, and I have even parted with my disdain for my hometown. I adore my family and would like nothing less than to be close to them. However, I have come to the conclusion after much contemplation, that I can no longer spend 8-10 months of the year being cold. All of my hobbies revolve around being outdoors, and having to put them off or suffer through them while freezing my ass off is simply no longer an option.
Koh Kradan, Thailand
No, I don’t know where I am going to be moving when I return from Australia, but I can tell you this; it is going to be somewhere on a beach.