When I left Portland three years ago I knew I wanted to come back one day.
Sometimes when you travel you leave a piece of you into one place. Now, having been back like I promised to myself, I have reclaimed that piece and I am ready to move on.
I still love Portland and I will always encourage people to travel there too, instead of only the big cities along the West Coast. But it is also nice to notice that when you are yourself in a better place and more sure of who you are and what you want, this one place has less power over you.
In three years so many things had not changed at all, and still so many things had changed so much. I had changed too. There were parts of my return to Portland that were utterly disappointing and managed to stain memories from three years ago. But there were things and people who were as lovely as always, with whom we could just pick up where we left things, and notice that three years is nothing on a scale of friendship.
I think it is often good to return to the places you keep thinking about. To me that place was Portland and that time period was three months of living in a host family and volunteering. After that I returned home having opened my eyes to the fact, that for a long time, I had felt that I had no control over the direction my life. After the trip I felt persistent to get that control back.
And I did. Many things changed after I returned home.
So I started to feel that that I owed Portland something for that life-chancing time period and yearned to go back.
Maybe it was more the timing than the place itself, now that I think of it. It was also more about being away from home and getting distance to the current life situation, than about this specific city. That felt even more true after going back this year and realizing that suddenly the city felt much less significant.
Perhaps what I want to say is that when travelling, sometimes you leave your heart to one place. Then you so badly long to go back to re-live that moment in your life, eventhough the feeling you had there might not even be tied to that specific place. And when you go back, you might notice that the place does not match the grandness of the memories you had of it. That can be sad, but also a great opportunity to notice how you have already moved on.
Instead of longing to go back to some of the travel destinations, it would be better to be happy to just have experienced it, and then move on. Or at least not let that destination make you think that it is the only place you can have that feeling. Lately I have been feeling quite attached to Australia and looking back with an aching heart. For myself, next step is to figure out what was the feeling I had there, so that I could try to replicate it here at home. Circumstances are very different, there is no doubt, but there must be different ways to get to the same result.
Sometimes the love for another city may become a ghost of your past. I was happy being able to get rid of mine by returning to Portland.
But nevertheless Portland is and will be my city – one of them! – and I will always be biased about it. But it is where I have always felt most at ease in US. So you might need to take my blog posts about Portland with a grain of salt, but believe me when I say this: weird things happen in Portland all the time.
And that’s something already.
I am happy I returned and got to share my city with my partner. But I am also happy to continue my journey now and see what else is out there.