SFO to PDX first time traveler

I’m proud to call San Francisco my home. After 25 years of walking around the streets, mingling with the people, and eating the food, I’d like to think that I’m pretty well-versed in San Franciscan culture, although I’m not entirely sure if San Francisco culture is something you inherit or just pick up. Maybe it oozes off on you after you’ve been here a few years.

…but some days I wake up and I don’t recognize my own city

This isn’t to say that I know what’s going on in my own city though, especially in these current times. Just because I remember and know it in my way as a San Francisco native who has seen his fair share of change doesn’t mean I can describe the huge shift in things right now as they unfold. I’m not even sure what to call it, but some days I wake up and I don’t recognize my own city. Call it what you want – gentrification, entitlement, tech empires rising, the millennial invasionSan Francisco just doesn’t feel the same and it’s pretty confused as to what it wants to become.

But who cares. Coffee knows no boundaries and doesn’t care about joining that fight. As a part of my quest to find more good coffee, I finally took action and bought a ticket out of San Francisco and did some traveling. So let me do a quick rundown on travel and what it means to me:

  • I’ve never traveled for leisure, only for business, and so I’m relatively inexperienced. Still I made do and I came out of it alive.

  • I’ve also never had the “travel-bug” or wanderlust. Truth be told, I don’t think that I’ll ever get it. There is no powerful yearning that stirs inside me for it. I think a lot of it has to do with how media and the Internet presents travel and wanderlust. Every single article reiterates the same tired point: that you have to travel, that wanderlust is a really good thing, and…carpe diem. While I’m not disagreeing with that view, I certainly don’t find myself subscribing to it. I think travel is great for growing the mind, seeing the perspectives that you may not have seen before, and realizing that we’re in act more alike than we are different. Wanderlust doesn’t hit me with force – nothing really WOWS me, but some of that has to do with the fact that I experience an elevated sense of curiosity and intrigue in my everyday observations. Instead of feeling wanderlust in spurts, I’m living wanderlust every day.

  • Travel was surprisingly easy and stress-busting. Even though I’ve never packed for a trip or a suitcase, it was intuitive. Proper planning really goes a long way. Whatever stress I had instantly vanished. Taking the plane is easy, like taking a train, bus, or car. I think sometimes we forget how far we’ve come in terms of efficiency, affordability, and comfort.

So, I showed up for the Stumptown.

So, I showed up for the Stumptown. It was amazing and over the course of 4 days, I had roughly 15 cups of their coffee. I’m not really about “this coffee is so much better than that coffee”, but I’m appreciative of having easy access to quality coffee that tastes like coffee should. Here are my impressions of Portland over my 4 days of running about:

  1. Cigarette smoking is crazy in Portland and less apparent in San Francisco.

  2. PDX offers easy access to quality coffee at almost every block and turn.

  3. Portland residential neighborhoods sprawl out beautifully.

  4. More nature, more green, more better. So many trees and so much greenery.

  5. Public transportation is intuitive and clean: beats San Francisco public transit.

  6. The vibe is relaxed, slower, and overall a beautiful way of living. So much Zen.

  7. “Heys” all around. San Francisco is really good at cold stares.

  8. Feels just like a college town – just a tad bigger than your average college town.

  9. Proud of local, artisan goods. The maker movement. In leagues with LA, SF, NYC.

I felt right at home.