I’m not the smartest person, I have a terrible sense of navigation (thanks, Roger Easton, for the wonderful creation now called the GPS!), and I can memorize anything you want me to for a Geography quiz but will forget it right away afterwards.
So, it’s not a surprise that I have been surprised multiple times by what’s right in front of my own nose. Like, when I decided to just drive north in search of a new home after my first section hike of the PCT and discovered Big Sur. I’d lived in California for about a decade and a half at that point, and had been to Northern California many a time. But, again, thanks to the GPS giving me the fastest route instead of the more scenic one, I had always skipped Central California’s beautiful coast.
And as I directionless-ly headed north post-hike/post-divorce in an attempt to get away from everything that held the power to destroy me in Southern California (I no longer feel this way about Southern CA, don’t worry; I was just raw after a fresh divorce), I came upon Big Sur–and my jaw dropped. It reminded me of the English coast that I’d visited a year prior (I’ll have to share the story of that visit sometime). I honestly thought we didn’t have anything like it in the states (turns out the Oregon coast resembles my beloved English coast as well, perhaps even more so), and I was blown away. Fast forward to my living there for a season (I’d have stayed longer if the slow winter didn’t cause me to be laid off with no other job prospects) and Big Sur lodging itself into my heart as one of my favorite places ever. I promise to someday tell my Big Sur story with more details. The point is I felt so dumb that I had 17 years during which I could have visited Big Sur as often as I liked, but I had no idea it was there.
Well, the same thing happened when I went on my Europe trip last year. I planned to visit France, other parts of England (since I’d already been to the English countryside, south coast, and Oxford before this trip), and Ireland. When I was in Paris, a friend who lived in Luxembourg told me I should take a 1-hour train ride to visit him and explore his little country. Luxembourg? One hour? What is it and where is it? I searched it up (thanks, Google), and felt like a complete idiot. I knew nothing about this country, its location, its castles, its beauty, its smallness–as I said, nothing! I, of course, had to go. And it was probably my favorite part of the trip. I will also tell you the many stories I’ve yet to share about my travels around Europe, another time. Again, the reason I mentioned it is because of how something breathtakingly beautiful was right under my nose and I didn’t know it.
Likewise, I discovered the many islands the state of Washington has to offer. I looked at a map of Washington prior to beginning my 3-month road trip in my Safari Trek motorhome, and noticed something that for some strange reason I still cannot figure out I had not noticed before: islands! And so many of them! And right in the state of Washington!
I mean, I knew that many states have little islands right next to them that are considered part of the state, such as Tybee Island in Georgia (and this one I only know about because almost 10 years ago, little 19-year-old me watched Miley Cyrus’ movie The Last Song which was filmed on Tybee Island) and Catalina Island (which I’d been to visit multiple times, my most memorable excursion being the one where I was part of a crew during a sailboat race from Long Beach, CA to Catalina; again, a story for later).
I know, I know, where had I been? Living under a rock? I don’t know. But now that I knew about them, I had to go see them.
Tomorrow, I will post about each island that I visited, along with some info about them, and of course, photos.
Stay put, those of you who find my ramblings interest enough to read! 🙂