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“See you next year !” we said to each other, early July 2019, as we left Portland, OR after the ninth edition of WDS. I was flying to Alaska, my friends we going left and right. We were confident that we’d be back there in the matter of a year, eating Salt & Straw ice-cream, drinking fancy coffees at Case Study and hitting the food carts for lunch. But we didn’t come back the next year.

Not in 2020.

Not in 2021 either.

And then the borders opened again, and the first long-distance trip I’m taking is… Portland, OR.

And the first things I did when I got there were this. And this.

Well, the first lunch was also a scoop of Salt & Straw Fig & Brie Cheesecake ice-cream, but I have already deleted any proof of all the ice-cream I consumed that week.

I had big plans for that week of meetups and conferences. In the end, I did not show up where I had signed up to go. Instead, I followed my every whim and what life was sending my way.

🍜 Eating Shan Noodle Soup from a food cart when it was 30℃ outside. Yum, bring it on (I was sooo happy to eat Burmese food again).

💃🏻 Loosing my credit card on a Salsa dance floor on the first day… Oh well, that’s what digital payments are for.

🏔 Impromptu trip to Mount Hood and short hike to a waterfall in a skirt and platform shoes ? Yes please !

🏃🏻‍♀️Talking philosophy and digital marketing for hours with this great girl named Emily while hiking in Washington Park. And finding the next day that she’s a world-record breaker for running something like 42 semi-marathons in a row. And that she was a speaker in the main stage part of the conference. Check !

☠️ Having dinner and talking about death with strangers (organised by Kimberlee, my roomie-extraordinary). And finding out the next day that one of our guest was the man who is receiving and sharing anonymous postcards of secrets. And that he was a speaker in the main stage part of the conference. Check ! Check !

🍻 Hosting a get together with my friends, because, hey, for once I had the kitchen and the deck to do so.

🦖 The one thing I did not do, was to partake in the world-record of number of people dressed in T-Rex costumes in the same place (which they broke with over 380 participants), but just knowing that some of my friends were in there makes me the happiest.

On June 23, my journal says “I realized today how much this week, for me, is about connections and deep conversations.”

And that was the best of it : the people.

So yes, Portland, OR and WDS were the best place to keep it weird. And that first week in the first long-distance trip after two-years of pandemy-related immobility was the exact thing I needed.

Of course, the ambivert that I am, sucked all that people energy up and then craved some alone time… so that’s what happened in the second half of the trip. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.