There are two kinds of places, a location and a state of mind. We think that if we had this “destination” then our destinies and dreams will just fall into place.
If I moved to Oregon, my life would be perfect.
If I had this state of mind, my life would be perfect.
See the issue with these statements?
There’s this concept of “if”, and that the only way to touch your dreams is to reach this “place”, whether it’s an environmental place or a mental space.
What led me to this topic was my disastrous trip to Portland, Oregon. Let me tell you what happened.
So, for the past year and a half, I have had this consistent dream and desire to live in Portland, Oregon. This desire led me to think of reasons why I’d want to live there: Russian speaking population, West Coast vibes, environmentally friendly, and just the aura of what I’ve briefly seen during my childhood of what Portland advertised.
January 2018 I told myself “Megan, you are GOING to go to Portland this year!”. As the year moved through winter, quickly went through spring, and was nearing the end of summer, I had a lot of doubt and just a panicky “Oh no, I haven’t gone to Portland, it’s either now or never!”. So, one night, before I could change my mind, I bought a roundtrip ticket and hotel to Portland.
I set the date. August 25th-29th.
This is the moment that will change my life.
This is the time where I will finally see who I am.
This is the moment…
where God laughed at my plan for the future, crumbled it, and told me not to try Him like that again😹.
Lemme tell you how this REALLY went down.
~Saturday~ August 25th: ARRIVAL
I rode on the plane for 6.5 hours. Took a Lyft from the PDX to my hotel/inn. I went into my stale room where I questioned everything, but then I took my things out and it felt more livable. The excitement and anticipation were there!
I took this selfie to celebrate my “lesson” of being capable to travel by myself. As a hermit, this was a big win-win for me.
~Sunday~ August 26th: DAY I
I decided to explore the downtown area. I got lost a lot, but still was excited about the adventure. I visited:
~Portland Art Museum
~Lan Su Chinese Garden
~overall city area
This day was a rough one as I saw pretty much exactly what I least expected: a bunch of homeless and drug users. Nearly every park, city street, and “tourist spot” I went to was filled with homeless individuals who tribed themselves together in various groups. Some asked me for money, others just cat-called. I knew that Portland had a fairly large population of homeless and drug abuse (for real I live in DC so it doesn’t surprise me…or so I thought); however, I had NO CLUE just how bad and how open Portland was about it. Loitering was not an enforced occurrence there, to say the least (at least not downtown/park areas).
That night I wanted to cry. I didn’t have expectations of my journey here, but I didn’t realize how much expectation/hopes/dreams I had for the place itself.
I realize NOW why my first day there was like this: God was showing me the worst of it to prove a point to me. A point that forever changed me, but before I tell you that point…lemme continue.
~Monday~ August 27th: DAY II
After the disaster I suffered on Sunday, I really just had no idea what to expect for Monday.
I decided to check out one of Portland’s most infamous tourist areas: Washington Park. This park contained the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, and just other little park areas that had no names.
Beautiful. Stunning. Breath-taking.
That’s how this day LOOKED.
Sickly. Stiff. Hot. Feverish.
That’s how this day FELT.
I saw a bunch of beautiful neighborhoods and parks, but it still left me feeling empty with disappointment. I didn’t want the rest of my trip to be ruined by this disappointment, but it was becoming more and more difficult to enjoy the scenery that only looked beautiful.
Seeing beauty is just seeing it, if you don’t feel it then it’s just pretty to look at.
~Tuesday~ August 28th: DAY III
My last official day went as expected with someone with a really bad flu and already crushed with disappointment, it went “just okay”.
I got the wrong directions to the Powell’s Bookstore, so I ended up having to walk for over an hour JUST to get back to where I started. THEN, I walked another half hour to get to Powells’ Bookstore.
The place was nice, and I saw some great books that I’d never see at Barnes & Noble, but it just didn’t quite make it worth it for all the misery I was in from walking in the heat and being ridiculously sick.
If I’m sounding super negative at this point, it’s because I WAS!
I went back to my hotel, took a shower, and debated if I wanted to see one more place.
It was a toss-up between seeing the Grotto or seeing the Crystal Rhododendron Springs Garden. I chose the garden. To make life easier for myself, I took a Lyft. I got there, paid my $5 dollar entry fee, and just started walking.
It. Was. STUNNING.
That place was by far my favorite place from the whole entire trip. There was just this “Elf-Princess” vibe that got from the place, a place filled with saturated beauty and vibrant nature.
It was just a great way to end the day. Despite being sick, despite my disappointment, that place just took all that away for a while. Living completely in the moment. It was beautiful.
~Wednesday~ August 29th: DEPARTURE
It was the day back home, and I couldn’t have been overall happier to just get back home.
The plane ride was excruciating. Being sick and having air pressure changing is NOT a good mix. My eardrums hurt so bad I nearly cried during landing in Dallas, TX for a flight transfer, then again during the ascent to altitude, AND THEN AGAIN when we were landing in D.C.
I thought I was going to lose my hearing it hurt so bad.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It took me nearly 2 weeks to get better, but then my family got sick. Needless to say, that trip is one I’ll be happy to let go of.
In all honesty, as I type out how my trip went, I can’t even really recall any good that came out of it. I felt some good moments and felt some fun, but that PALES in comparison to the misery I felt during this journey.
I discovered that my first mistake was thinking a place could hold my dreams. My second mistake was thinking a place could solve all my problems My third mistake was believing that a place could transform me.
I’m glad this trip happened though because I never would’ve finally surrendered myself to change NOW if I didn’t go through that disappointing journey.
I never would’ve realized that only from within are we capable of transformation and dreams. That dreams take us places, not the other way around.
Places are too small to hold people’s dreams, it’s why we shouldn’t rely on a place to be the key to our dreams. Places bring opportunity, not our destination.
So hermits, I hope you learned a lesson through me (a much cheaper lesson at that), and I hope you realize that YOU in the NOW can transform yourself and accomplish your dreams. Don’t rely on a place or a stagnant state of mind/way of thinking to be the holder of YOUR dream.
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Comment Below! (What’s your disaster destination experience?)