Ariana Kukors is an Olympic swimmer, world-record holder and Pacific Northwest native who is working with LifeWise to promote healthy living. Follow along on her journey to see what she does to live actively Northwest.
I never use an umbrella when it rains. I always have a cup of coffee in my hands. And if I hear someone mention that they’re taking a trip to Seattle, I sit them down immediately to write out a list of places they must visit. You could say I’m fairly passionate about the Pacific Northwest.
I’ve moved around quite a bit in my short 25 years, but Seattle will always be where my heart lies. Now that I’m living in California — training for the 2016 Games — I try to travel back as often as I can. And my heart hurts every time I board the plane to fly south again.
While I’m away, here are the things I miss most about home:
1. The Rain
Call me crazy, but there is something perfect about going outside in the drizzle. The smell, the sound, the feel … to me, it all screams comfort.
I always feel humbled walking around downtown Seattle, cloaked by the buildings around me. They exude power and confidence, which I find inspiring.
Being able to drive a short 30 minutes to escape the city and be completely surrounded by evergreen trees is extraordinary. I miss those beautiful hikes on Sunday mornings.
“Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.” #happyearthday // @rebsoni A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
4. Pike Place Market
It’s popular with tourists, of course. But as a local, I think walking around the market is just one of the best feelings. Being able to take in the sights and the sounds — the flowers, the fish, the bakeries … It all feels truly historic.
5. Lake Union
My favorite running loop. It’s amazing how 6.2 miles can fly by when you’re chatting with a friend — not to mention taking in the idyllic skyline views at Gasworks Park.
#nofilter #seattle #skyline A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
6. Mt. Rainier
I have seen that mountain thousands of times, but still, I’m in awe every time I catch its snow-capped peak rising over Seattle’s horizon on a clear day.
There’s No Place Like Home A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
7. The Seahawks (and their fans)
Seahawks fans are some of the most devout football fans around, and that sense of camaraderie seems hard to find in such a large city. You have to love seeing the 12th Man flag everywhere!
If you are wearing red today, I’ll assume you are an enemy (for today) #GoHawks #12thMan #Seahawks #LOUDER A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
It just tastes better in Seattle. While I’m home, you can always find me walking down the street with a Starbucks cup in my hand, or perched at the counter at Storyville Coffee in Pike Place Market.
9. The Food
I brag about Seattle’s food scene constantly. We are passionate about how our food is made, where it comes from and what it does for our bodies — and I love that!
10. Walking Everywhere
I’m starting to get a reputation among my friends and family for my long, meandering walks. I rarely do the same walk twice, and in Seattle I love weaving in and out of the beautiful streets, buildings and houses.
Just a little stair work #fitness #soulwork A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
11. The Seasons
Don’t get me wrong: I definitely love sunshine. But California makes me miss the smell of a cozy fire, the sudden changing of the leaves and the hint of a light snowfall. The colder months have a way of capturing my heart.
Mt. Bachelor with @rebsoni ❄️ #bestdayever #advancedbeginner #pcrt A photo posted by arianakukors (@arianakukors) on
12. The PNW Culture
Muddy boots and wet hair don’t scare us Pacific Northwesterners. We happily take the good and the bad that come with living in this region of the country. And that’s where we get the unique attitude and culture I call home.
What do you love about the Pacific Northwest? Share with me by leaving a comment below!
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