I can’t believe TEN month came to an end so fast. I remember thinking back in August that “10 months is going to feel like forever, but yet, it is going to go by so fast.” Well, 10 months definitely didn’t feel like forever. In fact, it went by too quickly and just as quickly as I became friends with my co-workers, our school year came to an end and it was time to say good-bye (for now).
Thankfully, for me, the end of the school year meant one thing…one of my best friends, Kristin, was set to arrive to travel the US Virgin Islands, BVIs, and Puerto Rico with me. Read more →
When was the last time you took a vacation where you did little to no planning and you had no expectations?!?!
Have you ever taken a trip like that before?
This type of an adventure was a first for me. I usually enjoy planning. You could say I’m a planner; someone who knows the good places to eat, the things to see, the activities to partake in. I usually don’t go into a trip without expectations but Mapless Adventures is about the unknown adventures of life. So taking a trip with my friend-workers, where I hardly knew the final destination, wasn’t something I was going to say no too. Plus, it was an opportunity to escape the rock for a few days.
This “No Expectation” Mapless Adventure took us back to Puerto Rico. I understand this isn’t my first trip to PR, but it did take me and my travel mates to two brand new locations. Both of these locations were west of San Juan and you all know how much I love adventure.
Our first stop on this weekend excursion took us about 1.5 hours east of San Juan to Arecibo, PR. We were originally going to try and go all the way to Rincón, our destination, but when we started mapping out the journey we realized it would have taken too long. Landing at 5:30 PM really doesn’t support a 3.5 hour road trip and let be serious, why waste a perfectly good road trip at night?!? You can’t see things at night. Another fact, the small research I did do told me that Arecibo is the gateway to the CAVES.
You read that right, I said CAVES. Though, these caves are a little different than what you’re picturing. But, again, a cave is a cave. There are a few caves located new Arecibo, but we didn’t have too much “free” time to spend, so we settled on La Cueva del Indio. Granted, I may have “pushed” a little to go see these caves before leaving and I’m blessed with amazing travel buddies who a gracious in our plans. I also believe they enjoyed the cave adventure.
Let me briefly describe this cave. First, this “cave” is located RIGHT on the ocean. Seriously, the entire cave and rock formation are off a cliff with waves consistently crashing against them. The wind on this particular day was pretty intense and there were sections of this cave/rock formation that even I wasn’t willing to risk trying to climb down…via slippery stairs. It was still an unbelievably spectacular sight…minus the HUGE wave that completely drenched me from head to toe. But let’s be real….it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! I was in nature heaven. This was ONLY the first day of our trip.
Once we had our cave fulfillment, we loaded back up in our car and ventured further west to the town of Rincón. Here is what I knew prior to the arrival: Rincón is a surfer town. People who venture to this location are usually escaping the big city to get their surfing fix. It also had a very similar vibe to Costa Rica, from what I was told. (I haven’t been yet) but I got a little Nicaraguan vibe too. One of my travel buddies actually was the one who got us looking into Rincón in the first place.
We arrived in the late afternoon and one thing was an absolute…we needed COFFEE and thankfully we knew exactly where to go! According to our travel guide, a.k.a. my friend’s sister-in-law, who visited a few weeks prior to us, she mentioned a local shop, Cafe 2 Go.
Alright…I’m a coffee drinker and this coffee was not only delicious, it was intensely strong. I like strong coffee and I’ve been told multiple times, Puerto Ricans love strong coffee, but the cold brew was too strong for me…but didn’t stop me from consuming the entire cup. You don’t waste good coffee.
From there, it was simply a wander, shop, find dinner, and explore kind of afternoon early evening, which led u to a hidden beach at sunset roaming the sand with the waves crashing. But let’s pause for a second and discuss the dinner/food aspect.
Oh. My. Goodness. The Food. Holy smokes…the food. This was my favorite aspect of the town of Rincón. Of everything we saw…did…explored…the food was phenomenal. From the fresh coconuts we drank, to the tacos, to the fresh yogurt bowls, to the salads, to the breakfasts, to the cookie…every single food item I ate was “muy perfecto”. Much of the food we ate over the few days was locally grown. My favorite was probably a local food truck Carte Buena, which even had a small garden on the back part of the lot. I secretly wish I would have taken more pictures of the food. Some of the other places we ventured too with an amazing selection of local and foreign cuisine included La Cambija (I recommend the fish tacos and their homemade hot sauce), Green Thumb Grill (amazing cocktails and Asian twist cuisine), Jack’s Shack (vegan chocolate chip cookies are to die for as were the tacos), and The Beach House (amazing place for sunset and cocktails). I cannot speak more highly of these places!
Back to adventures…
We didn’t do much night life in Rincón because we knew we were going to be doing quite a bit of exploring, which turned into beach hopping and checking out the local surf spots. Our first was the famous Dome Beach, which plays host to surfers. Oh Surfers. I probably could have stayed all day watching those surfers. It was so peaceful just relaxing in the shade, drinking strong Puerto Rican cold-brew coffee, waves crashing and surfers catching waves. Bliss. Pure Bliss We Unfortunately, because of the wind and swell level, Sandy Beach, which is one of the most popular beaches, was untouchable and we didn’t last long standing on the end overlooking the extreme high tide.
After a quick lunch, it was off to another beach, Almendros Beach. This beach seems to be a little touristy, however it was still beautiful. Until, the rain came and this happened…
All said and done, even if the weather wasn’t on our side for the afternoon, it was still food for the soul sitting in the sand listening to the waves crashing.
Plus, it wasn’t our last beach adventure for the trip. Our condo we rented was overlooking a beautiful beach, as many of them were. So for one final sunset, we sat together, danced a little, laughed A LOT, and reflected on another successful Mapless Adventure (minus the 3.5 hour road trip back to San Juan for our flight home).
Until next time, keep your head up, heart open, and continue on your own Mapless Adventures!!
Have you ever had a weekend that filled your heart with so much happiness, gratefulness, love, laughter, and faith? I experienced one of those weekends less than a month ago and have had so much love in my heart since. I’ve been battling personal struggles for the last 9 months and this weekend showed me that I’m on the uphill climb to a new and better me. It’s possible to feel as though you’ve got nothing left but still grow in relationships, make new relationships and reconnect with our Savior.
My Redneck Extravaganza weekend was spent with 5 other Christians, who are so kind-hearted, grateful, loving and all around wonderful humans, who I am lucky to call friends. The weekend didn’t start off as planned, as we were initially planning on climbing to a fire tower through forest and snow. However the day before, Washington’s weather took a turn from sunny and 75 to raining and thundering. Not quite the ideal weather to summit a mountain. Instead, one of the guys, Ben, put an idea out there for camping over in eastern Washington near a popular destination called Mosses Lake. As I didn’t have any knowledge of such place, I was all in, regardless of the decision. And the decision was to postpone the fire tower climb and head east to camp.
We met as a group bright and early Saturday morning, enjoyed a wonderful breakfast and loaded up Big Blue or Diesel. The men (Ben, Paul, and Jonny) had this vision of how the truck needed to be loaded because we had 3 kayaks, 6 bikes, fishing gear, and all of our stuff. Us girls (myself, Brittany, and Angela) really did try to help them, but let’s face it when men have a vision, it’s really better to just let them do their thing. When the truck was finally loaded, we piled into the truck (all 6 of us) and began our road trip.
I selected the middle of the back seat (not sure if I actually selected it or if that’s just how it worked out) but I didn’t mind. It was fun to be between everyone during the drive through the city and beyond to the I90 corridor, as I began learning about many other adventures and stories the group has shared together, more specifically the men’s stories.
We made several pit stops, which all included very random and very hilarious extra activities. Those included random running/sprinting to a pole, group circle push-ups, running through a corn field (resulting in me getting smacked in the face from a corn stalk) and an apple orchard during a MASSIVE wind advisory, and stopping at Wal-mart for a very important purchase, wife-beater tank tops.
The actual location of camping was outside of a town called Othello, in an area called Columbia National Wildlife Refuge/Seep Lakes State Wildlife Recreation Area. A bridge separates the refuge from the recreation area and we decided to take a break there and it turned into the first photo-shoot opportunity. It involved me standing on a truck, the group striking posses on the bridge, and climbing on the sign. We continued on before making our first selection of spots to camp, which turned into our second photo-shoot opportunity, but not our actual camp site.
We piled back into the truck and continued on our way finding a line of rocks blocking a washed out road. This location was our 3rd photo-shoot opportunity and was the start to a good 2-3 hours of off-roading adventure with more random episodes of fun. Us girls started to get restless and we decided to turn back to where the rocks were, but not via truck. The 5 of us, minus Jonny, who drove, jumped onto our bikes and did a little mountain biking.
We finally selected a camp site located near the edge of the lake on a small cliff. It was absolutely breath-taking when setting up camp with the sunset on the horizon and a beautiful, clear sky. Once camp was set up (thank you men for putting up the tents), we enjoy a delicious dinner and some after dinner entertainment with a super moon shining light on us. Nighttime kayaking occurred for Ben and Paul, who went out to fish, and Brittany and Jonny, who took the singles out of the smooth and quite lake. Angela and I stayed behind; I was having too much fun with nighttime photograph trying to capture the stars.
When the group came back from kayaking, I introduced them to something called “Flashlight Nighttime Photography” and we spent a solid 2 hours tracing each other and playing Pictionary via the camera. This was followed by bedtime.
I was the first awake and I woke up to rain dropping down on the tent. Us girls were toasty warm in our tent, but that wasn’t the case when I exited. The rain wasn’t too hard, but it was a bit chilly. I don’t do well just sitting and waiting, so I took off on a hour + bike ride and when I was returning to the camp site the other women were on their way to the restrooms. Before the men awoke, I got to spend some quality heart to heart with the girls, which whenever you can have girl-time is a special time.
We had some breakfast including coffee and spent some time in worship. I don’t think I’ve been that open and honest with people in sometime. I never felt judgement about my mistake/miss-comings that I always think I would. I felt loved. I felt friendship. And I felt God again. These 5 people brought back the one thing that was missing during the last 9 months. They brought me back to Him, my Savior, my Heavenly Father.
During worship, it went from cold to super sunny, which we knew meant it was time to hit the water. The men spoiled us and offered to break down camp as we took off on the kayaks towards the canal. We gathered back together, 4 people in kayaks, myself and Ben on the inter tube tied to the double kayak.
This is when our day gets a little spontaneous. We hit the canal, which is a free flowing body of water so we didn’t have to do too much. That was until we hit the bridge. Yes, I’m talking about the same bridge from the day before. Want to know why we stopped? Well, because we (the guys mostly) wanted to jump off the bridge AND designed a rope swing. Why not? I have no fear in heights and honestly have loved “cliff jumping/bridge jumping” when I’ve done it. Every time something adventurous comes up and I’m with Ben, he tells me “Do it for Mapless Adventures”. It’s hard to say “no” to that (though I don’t usually say no) and so that’s exactly what we did. I jumped off the bridge twice and tried the rope swing, but wow of wow did that not feel good. Brittany and I some how really hurt our hands and fingers from the release off the rope (I actually ended up breaking my top knuckle on my middle finger) but it was still a blast. We ended our trip, after Angela and Ben continued down to the bikes and Jonny and Angela rode onto the truck, with one final photo shoot opportunities with the sunset in the back ground.
It was another eventful road trip back to the city and am so thankful that Jonny was a wonderful driving with the amount of rain we hit through the I90 corridor. Our arrival home was past midnight, but with the amount of laughter and adventure that endured I didn’t mind getting home so late. We called our weekend Redneck Extravaganza, but it ended up being “Chasing Sunshine” because that’s exactly what we did. This one is diffidently one for the books!
My 28th year was quite memorable to say the least. Not only did I move into the heart of Seattle, I made amazing new friends, became more invested with my running and volleyball family, had a major hardship event in my life, and more personal growth than I could have expected happened.
I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do but I knew one thing was certain, I needed to be in the mountains. For the last three birthdays, I have spent exploring the Cascade Mountains and every year it allows me to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly from the previous year.
Because of the many groups I belong to, I knew I could make an event out of this but the closer it came to my actual birthday, the more I realized things were occurring that same weekend. I still consider this hike to be my birthday hike, even though it was two weeks after my birthday.
This year, I selected a very well known and popular hike called Blanca Lake. I have been dying to hike this particular glacial lake for sometime because from what everyone said it is a MUST-DO hike.
Blanca Lake is a 7.5 mile roundtrip hike through the Central Cascades with a gain of 3300 ft, peaking at 4600 ft elevation. You start hiking in what Washington Trail Association calls “second growth forest” with large trees and begin to climb right off the back. This is the major difficulty of this hike as your gaining 3000 feet in less than 3 miles through switchbacks and pretty much begins right at the trailhead. It’s well worth the climb, as when you reach the peak you find yourself on a ridge line, with switchbacks heading up a rocky face with mountains on all sides and a clearcut view of Glacier Peak.
From here, the remaining hike is fairly resting as you walk through beautiful meadows until you hit this amazing view of the valley at the bottoms of the Columbia Peaks. Then comes the greatest view I have seen. This amazingly milky turquoise water lined with mountains and this white lined glacier. Breath-taking to say the least. WTA calls it “robin-egg blue waters” and explains that the l”Columbia Glacier drains via a twin waterfall into the vibrately blue colored water”. The Columbia Glacier is shrinking and I hate to say that it might not last many more years/decades. This is a must do hike for all locals and visitors to the state of Washington.
I was blessed with several friends who joined me on this hike including friends from all my circles, volleyball, running, and church family. We started off a little later than normal but it was for good reason. I had to run 6 miles before hiking and didn’t want to miss it. On our drive, we met up with another friend and got to the trailhead just before 11, but along our drive we lost the second car and had no service at the trail head. We had no choice but to start hiking. It didn’t take long until we met up with my friend Ben, his father, and his niece and nephew, who are under 6 years old (I think/I can’t remember). Once we reached Blanca Lake, we were met with Tessa and Piotr and Beth and two of her friends. In total, their were about 16 people who joined in the fun.
At the lake, we spent some time laughing amongst ourselves and OF COURSE, took a dip in the beautiful chilly lake. Kate and I spent some extra time at the lake because Ben brought a raft to take his niece and nephew out on the lake and offered us to take a spin. Couldn’t pass it up.
When I started running with Seattle Green Lake Running Group back in 2014, I honestly had no idea what my life would become. The amount of great friends and lifetime of memories that have came from this group are limitless, but this particular weekend topped my list- Ragnar Northwest Passage weekend.
Do you know what Ragnar Relay is? Well, let me explain. Ragnar is an overnight 2000ish running relay consisting of 12 team members broken into two separate vans. Each runner runs 3 legs ranging from 2-13 miles per leg totaling approximately 10-24 miles over the course of 24-36 hours (depending on how long it takes your team).
I was honored to be asked to join one of the SGLRG teams, Worst Pace Scenarios, which was voted the “Favorite Ragnar Team” by the group last year, for 2015 Ragnar Northwest Passage (NWP). This particular Ragnar adventure starts in Blaine, WA, which is as close to the Canadian border as you can get without crossing and ends in a town on Whidbey Island. The relay passes iconic sights highlighting the true nature of the Pacific Northwest, including the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, Deception Pass, and the Puget Sounds, and has us running along rolling countrysides and through small towns.
I was a part of van 2, which basically means we started later in the day at the 1st major exchange and ran the last set of 6. Here’s the breakdown:
Van 1 (leg 1-6): Blaine to Bellingham- 33.2 miles
Van 2 (leg 7-12): Bellingham to Burlington- 29.7 miles
Van 1 (leg 13-18): Burlington to La Conner- 32.8 miles
Van 2 (leg 19-24): La Conner to Oak Harbor- 39.2 miles
Van 1 (leg 25-30): Oak Harbor to Coupeville- 24.2 miles
Van 2 (leg 31-36): Coupeville to Langley- 33.1 miles
Total: 192.2 miles
I ran leg 10, which was one of the easier legs only running a total of 10.9 miles total with legs at 3.10 miles, 2.0 miles and 5.8 miles. Now don’t get me wrong when I say “easier leg”. Ragnar is not for the weak hearted. Even though I may not have ran as much as the others in my van, I still had the same barriers. The HEAT for one thing. It was a scorcher during both our first legs and our last legs. Plus the second legs were ran between 11:30 PM and 4 AM. Not the easiest time of the night to run and the heat, oh the heat. I hadn’t ran in heat like that since I ran in high school track in Phoenix.
BUT, I survived as did the rest of my team and our results were quite amazing. Worst Pace Scenarios came in 12th in the Mixed Open division with a finisher time of 26:19:47.0 and finished 38th overall. Did I mention that their were 355 teams in the Mixed Open division and 543 total teams participating in Ragnar Northwest Passage. I’d say we did pretty good.
I knew several of the runners in Van 2 and I couldn’t imagine my first Ragnar experience without them. Although I may have been a little extrovert for them, I think they appreciated my outgoing nature and the 100s of pictures I was capturing during the runs. Plus, they were so supportive getting me through this race and I’m pretty sure 4 of the 5 of them have qualified for Boston. You can imagine how fast they ran but they never made me feel slow. That is true team work!!
I cannot wait until next year or maybe I won’t have to wait that long…Maybe Ragnar Del Sol in Arizona?!?!?!
My April Mexican Adventure with Contiki Holiday was amazing and came with many new friendships. Two of these new friendships even made their way to the Pacific Northwest for part of their holiday adventure and I had the privilege to be able to play tourist/tour guide to Nicola and Todd, both who venture their way to Seattle. Talk about exciting!
Nicola, who is from New Zealand was venturing to Hawaii with several girlfriends after Mexico but given a few extra days between decided to come to Seattle. Reason…”I just always wanted to come”. Unfortunately, due to work conflicts and busy schedules (as this was just 10 days after I returned), I wasn’t able to spend an extreme amount of time with her. Luckily, we did manage to finagle a night, where I took her the Seattle Underground Tour in Pioneer Square. This is very touristy, not honestly not as touristy as you’d think. These tours take you to the original Seattle downtown, which as the tour title gives it away is underground.
If you don’t know already, Seattle’s original downtown is actually 1-level below the current street level. I could provide you with more details but quite frankly this is one of those learning experiences that you actually need to hear and see for yourself. Nothing I could write would explain it to you well enough, nor do pictures do it justice. This type of experience is one that I was very happy I got to share with someone who isn’t American and really didn’t fully understand what makes Seattle my favorite city. I love the history of this city and HIGHLY RECOMMEND anyone visiting Seattle to attend one of the Underground Tours.
After the underground, we ventured to a coffee shop close to where Nicola was staying and spent a good hour just talking. It was a very simple yet exciting time to spend with someone as lovely and kind as Nicola, plus she can make anyone laugh!
A few months after the Contiki tour ended, I had the chance to spend a few days with another tour mate, who to be honest with you, I only spend maybe 4 hours with him. He was on the second half of the tour, whereas I was on the first. Thankfully, Contiki provides a good chance to interact with people in that short amount of time.
One of the main reason Todd ventured south from Vancouver, BC, Canada was to watch the Seattle Mariners baseball game. Don’t get me wrong, I do love baseball, but I have always had a hard time with the whole “American Baseball Experience” concept. At the same time, I’m never going to say NO or turn away from going to a sporting event, and I do love watching baseball. This was exactly what Todd and I did pretty much immediately after I met him at the greyhound station just outside the stadium!
We spent the afternoon chatting about our travels and enjoying some delicious beers watching the Mariners! After the game ended, we ventured into the heart of downtown and wandered the city before parting ways for the evening. The next morning was our “Extreme Touristy Day”, which is basically doing every typical Seattle tourist attraction within the downtown area. We walked through Pike Place Market, where we enjoyed delicious mini-doughnuts, Starbucks, and some Beechers cheese; spent some time being grossed out by the Seattle Gum Wall then headed off to the Space Needle. At this point, I was suppose to head off to work but due to unfortunate circumstances, I was blessed with the entire day off.
So what do you do with an unexpected day off with an Aussie…well I took him to one of my most favorite places to eat…”The Crab Pot”. Let me explain. The Crab Pot is a restaurant overlooking the Puget Sound and you can select from various mixtures of seafood, which they proceed to dump the food directly onto the table. You are given a mallet, a wooded board and bibs. Get it Crab Pot. It was quite delicious and very messy. After lunch, it was time to send Todd back to the greyhound station for his return to Vancouver. I didn’t know Todd much before this quick trip but I’m thankful for Contiki Holidays for allowing us to create such a wonderful friendship! Now it’s my turn to visit his city: Sydney, Australia. A girl can dream…one day, one day!
Christmas came and went this year and although I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family, it still was very heartbreaking being so far away. Because of this, my friend Krista and I decided that we needed to get away and what better way than to road trip north to Vancouver, BC, Canada! If you recall I visited Canada for the first time back in February (first canadian adventure) and ever since then I have been DYING to back. When I realized I’d have a free weekend (the last of 2013), I knew exactly where I needed to go. I am lucky enough to have a friend who is as crazy as me for a ROAD TRIP!
We left really early Saturday morning and made it from Seattle to Vancouver, BC in under 3.5 hours and that included the 30+ minute wait at the border. Once we crossed the border, both Krista and I felt like children at Disney Land. There is something euphoric about entering another country and going off the grid even if it’s only a few hour drive.
We made it to Vancouver, found a location to park Misty for the day and headed out towards the city with a stop for some caffeine. Yes, the first thing we did in Vancouver was make a pit stop at a coffee shop! Can you blame us, we did just sit 3.5 hours in a car jamming to music! Now give you a little over view of the events to come next…the night before Krista and I watched the movie Elf and Krista has always wanted to pull an ELF adventure day. So what came next was the start of an ELF IN VANCOUVER. As we were walking towards the main downtown street, my crazy friend walked into a coffee shop and said the exact same lines from Elf and a few people stared, some clapped, but mostly people didn’t really know how to react. Then we found a round-a-bout door, which she proceeded to go round and round as I laugh with her. It was quite awesome.
After that, we had to make a decision > to go to the suspension bridge to see the lights/biggest Christmas tree or head to Granville Island for some mischievous adventure. Can you guess which one we choose? If you guessed taking the aquabus to Granville Island, you’d be correct. I have been to the island before and knew of some fun places that we could visit. We started with lunch at the market and did some wandering around trying some new fruits and mostly people watching! After the market, we started our tour de Granville at Artisan Saki Maker for some delicious saki. Then off to The Liberty Distillery for a bit of vodka tasting (my favorite and a first for me) before ending our tour our the Granville Brewery!
One of Krista’s “must do” for our road trip, was meeting ‘true’ Canadians and leave it to this girl to make friends with one of the servers at the brewery, who bravely joined us for a bit of nighttime fun. Unfortunately, our trip didn’t end on a high note as Krista lost her phone, however this trip was still one to remember for years to come. I’m glad I was able to spend my spontaneous international day trip/road trip with someone so dear to my heart. I sometimes forget how lucky I am and how wonderful of people I have in my life. This trip was the perfect way to end 2013! Check out our day in pictures HERE!
One of the best things about my bestie is how random she can be when trying to do other things like packing. This was one of those moment. She randomly decided it was a good idea to book a ticket to visit me in Washington. No complaints here. She was my first visitor outside of my family and I absolutely loved having her here for a whole weekend.
Our weekend started out very simple and wonderful- dinner for two and hard apple cider. We spent the whole evening talking and laughing just like old times. We took the night pretty easy because I had a wine-filled adventure the next day. Yup, I decided the most perfect way to spend our Saturday was in Woodinville, visiting as many wineries as possible. There are more than 90 tasting rooms in this one small town just north of Seattle and I wanted to treat her to something unique to this region. I mean not even California has that many wineries within 10 miles from one another.
We started our day out at Chateau St. Michelle and enjoyed a combination of Rieslings and red wines (and the sun, which decided to join us). Chateau is known for their late harvest riesling (which is delicious) and I know my bestie Kristin isn’t a huge red wine fan. What better way then to start off at a sweet wine winery. From Chateau, we headed across the street to Columbia Winery then to Long Shadow Vineyard and Winery. After these three wineries we ventured off to a local pizzeria for lunch/pit stop before finishing our adventure at Otis Keynon Winery and Zebra Cellars. Luckily, our day didn’t stop here. We continued our adventure in Seattle where we ended out day dancing away in Capitol Hill.
By Sunday, my bestie was starting to feel the ‘pain’ of our wine-dancing adventure but this friend wasn’t going to let her waste her last day in bed. I practically forced her out of bed and into my car to be tourist in Seattle. Places we visited: Pike Place Market, Gum Wall, Space Needle, and ending at Alki Beach with the Seattle Skyline. Kristin was well aware when she booked the ticket that I love being tour-guide and I love planning adventures and everything we did was perfect, mostly because we were together again! It was a weekend to remember and I hope I didn’t wear her down too much to never want to return. Anyone else want to come and visit me in this amazing city of SEATTLE?!?!?!