I spent most of my 20s bouncing between jobs, apartments and a variety of roommates. Life in Seattle was always moving and changing; businesses opened and closed quickly, friends came and went, and traffic took up a large portion of my day.
But Grays Harbor always stayed in the back of my mind. It was where I grew up, where the old empty buildings had inspired me to get my business degree. Every time I returned for a weekend or holiday, those abandoned spaces called to me. I imagined them full of cute things for sale, people sipping coffee or maybe renting a kayak for a trip down the river. I’d think about it but then return to fast-paced city life.
I was seeking a slower and more creative life and thought Portland might be the answer. It was the place for small-time crafters to make it big, and I had to give it a shot, but in less than a (dramatic) year there, I realized a few things: 1. I was a little fish in a big pond (and they all knew how to sew), 2. Being surrounded by people doesn’t make finding a sense of community easier, and 3. Life is short … Just do it (thanks, Nike).
I sold off most of my possessions and set out on a six-week road trip with my best friend. During this trip I started to realize my preference for smaller towns with friendly and humble people, wide streets and less traffic. As I rolled back into Aberdeen without any obligations or rents to pay or lifestyle to maintain, I thought, “this place has the space I need.”
Space. Grays Harbor has lots of it. The buildings that sit vacant are more inspiring to me than depressing. The wide and empty streets are excellent bike paths. The people, though sometimes seemingly distant, are allowing others room to find their own way. There’s wiggle room to try new things, potentially fail and try again. There’s a healthy challenge to find your own self motivation for success.
The people, buildings and land here inspire me every day and I’m completely fascinated by their stories and history. I love that I get to go to work every day in my own downtown office in a building over 100 years old and create. This is the place where I have enough space to craft my own story and share the stories of others. This is the place where I see so many possibilities and enjoy growing along with a community.
My experience led me on a path to Grays Harbor where I have been able to build my business, nurture a supportive community and better define my place in the world.