Seattle: Another important dot on my personal map. A place without prior associations that I’m getting to know. Sometimes I’m enthused about it, sometimes no. Since many members of my husband’s family live here (we’ve been married less than three years), their roots largely organize where I go and what I do.
I find I like visiting Seattle on these terms—as not quite a stranger, not quite a tourist. There’s a givenness to the situation that tempers its newness. I don’t need to have an agenda, ‘learn’ the town, live up to an itinerary. It’s a style of travel that, from the point of view of ‘exploration,’ is wasteful, really.
It’s because our visits defy that paradigm that they have some charm. I have no ambitions when I arrive. Other people’s needs and requirements supply the logic. Sometimes I find myself with ample free time, which I spend in my hotel room writing, just as I would at home.
When we go out on our own, it’s usually for a very modest outing, for a practical reason: to buy a hat, to buy flowers at the Market, to meet friends at a bar, that kind of thing. We venture out along the briefest of loops, along familiar beats that add to my sense of knowing.