In two weeks time, I am leaving Portland.
I am driving away, and I won't look back.
Only what can fit in my car is coming along. All the accumulated riff-raff and knick-knackery is departing my ownership. I am leaving a job, a home, and the place I have known my entire adult life- the city which is the closest approximation of belonging that I have.
"Where will go? And why?"
New Hampshire. And... honestly? I'm not sure.
When I was young, I lived in Vermont for several years. My grandparents still live there. But Vermont isn't New Hampshire... and I don't have contacts in the Granite state.
My impressions of the east coast are Vermont. Endless green hills, with quiet roads rounding the curves of the majestic mountain roots, their high peaks long eroded and gone... every so often, a gash of granite sprouting through the greenery. It is a place utterly unlike Oregon. The trees are different, the mountains are different, the air is different, the people are different. I spent a summer among the green hills, in a small town on Lake Champlain at my grandparents' house. Morning walks through clouds of mosquitoes, daily five mile treks around the island, wandering...
Looking into the local New Hampshire economy suggests that the job market there is more compelling than my native Oregon. But Vermont was always more difficult, in terms of employment. Taxes were higher. The cities were smaller.
New Hampshire allows me to be close to family- but not so close that I don't feel my independence.
New Hampshire echoes in my thoughts. The taste of it is subtly different from Vermont; the terrain is less elegantly rounded, a little rougher feeling. The woods are darker, somehow.
In the three years since I've turned eighteen, I have struggled to keep my obligations to a minimum. I have avoided pets, boyfriends, debt- all with the intention that I would remove myself from the comfort zone, and travel the world.
I went out and got my Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Second Language (TEFL/TESOL) certificate with this intention, and yet, here I am, still working at a call center, feeling trapped and increasingly unhappy. Why?
It's easy to fall into the trap. I'm safe here. I have a (somewhat) stable job, I make above minimum wage... and yet...
It's too easy to say 'someday'.
What's keeping me here? Recent changes in the workplace have rendered me with a startlingly high amount of job disatisfaction. I have very little left of a social circle, due to my anti-social nature and dislike of telephones. The economy in Portland isn't getting any better, either.
So here I am; I'm 21, working a job that feels all too much like a dead end, wondering when my life is going to start.. but what am I waiting for?
Snap out of it.
I do have control. I am alive, and opportunity isn't going to fall in my lap. Wake up and smell the city of roses, people. Instead of feeling paralyzed and unable to change, just do it.
So that's what I'm doing.
Instead of continuing to escape reality through video games and burying my head in the pillows to stifle the screams, I'm going to take this risk. I am not the only person in the world who has felt trapped. I am not the first person to abruptly uproot and move away.
So, here goes, world. This is my story. I'm holding my breath, and waiting...
Two weeks until I leave Oregon.