Exploring the Pacific Northwest

It’s been almost two months since my last post but it has been a busy few weeks! I travelled about 1500 miles in the space of a week, finished the semester with finals week and two concerts, and I’m now back in the UK! After a really busy month I’m finally back at home and getting to relax a bit and see friends and family over the Christmas holiday. I’ll make another blog post on the what it’s like to be home for Christmas soon, but for now I need to catch you up on my week long solo trip to Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, that I went on at the end of November. (I survived.)

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Before I left I was a little bit nervous as I had never travelled anywhere completely on my own, but I was also really looking forward to exploring new places and the confidence this trip would give me to travel to more places in the future. I also did quite a lot of research, watching YouTube videos and reading up about other people’s experiences and tips for travelling solo. I found that I quickly enjoyed the adventure in this experience and although I had moments of worry and fear, these moments didn’t last long.

Travelling such long distances in buses and small planes was really fun and quite different to anything I had experienced before. On the small bus I took between Crescent City, CA and Medford, OR (a 3 hour journey) I met quite an eclectic group of people. This included a woman who was travelling to pick up her car from a garage in the hopes that she would be able to drive home. She told me a lot of random facts about the area as she continued to talk to me for almost the entirety of the journey, which was a bit exhausting for me! I don’t know if her car worked and she made it back to feed her horses. I also met an artist who had spent 6 months travelling around America in remote areas and was on his way home to Colorado. It was strange to be travelling so far on such a small bus and have people from all sorts of different backgrounds there with me.

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^ The little bus that took me through the mountains to Medford

Once I got to Medford I checked in my bags and I was then told that I needed a visa to stay in Canada for 5 days, but very luckily for me I could apply for this on my phone in a few minutes and it only cost CA$7 (about £4). This was definitely a bit of a wake up call for me on what I need to do more research on before visiting a country…! From there, I spent 8 hours in Medford airport as my flight was delayed to the point where I had to change airlines to get a flight to Vancouver where I could make a connecting flight in Seattle. Luckily this all worked out fine, I learnt that there isn’t much to do at Medford airport, and I am very grateful for my friend picking me up from Vancouver in the middle of the night, 5 hours later than we originally arranged!

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^ Vancouver at night. This amazing view can be seen from the top of my friend’s block of flats!

After the day of travelling I arrived in Vancouver and I had a really great time staying with my friend and her family. It was so nice to catch up and explore the city, especially when I got to spend time with my friend and other people, hiking or having a meal together. I really missed this once I left to travel back down to Humboldt.

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^ Exploring the nearby hiking trails and Stanley park with my friend.

Travelling solo can get lonely, especially as I only stayed in Seattle and Portland for a couple of nights each, so I didn’t go out to make friends with the people I met, but it also means I was able to take as long as I wanted to explore the places that I was interested in. I also learnt that it’s okay to just sit in a coffee shop for a bit and that you don’t have to do everything a city has to offer. In the end I really enjoyed Seattle and Portland, even if I didn’t do all of the touristy things I really enjoyed walking around and exploring these places.

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^ Different sites in Seattle and Portland, some which were really far from the touristy areas – I did an awful lot of walking!

After all of this travelling and hours on buses and coaches I was very happy to get back to my dorm room in Arcata. As well as being a great adventure, it taught me a lot about what I enjoy doing, rather than what I ‘should’ enjoy doing, and it also made Humboldt feel more like home as it was a comforting relief to return to the towering redwoods.

Travelling within the year abroad was a great experience, and I would recommend anyone who is going on an exchange to try and travel and explore the country they are in!

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I made a short video of this trip which you can watch below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRh3iQXwKQ0&feature=youtu.be

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