By Anna Patiuk
I packed all I could fit in my VW Jetta and hit the road. Seattle, here I come.
I’m a Midwest girl through and through. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, moved to rural Minnesota, then to Madison, Wisconsin for college, and finally settled in Minneapolis. Three things I know far too well – passive aggressiveness, snow, and tater tot hot dish.
I’ve never been one to shy away from a new adventure. So when I needed a change in scenery, I said, “Why not move to the Pacific Northwest?”
Don’t get me wrong, moving across the country is tough. But after living here for almost a year, I’ve gathered some tips for settling in and making the most of all the goodness the PNW has to offer:
Explore your neighborhood
Luckily, Seattle is easy to explore by foot or bike. Within the first couple months, I found my way around. I visited my local bookstore, discovered my favorite bakery and coffee shop, and met my neighbors.
The Northwest has amazing parks, and many overlook the ocean, lakes, or are hidden away in the city underneath sky-high evergreens. I try to do a monthly hike and am still in awe that I can drive half an hour away and be in the mountains! There’s also a huge biking community here that I love being a part of. Check out these trails, and soon enough you’ll be biking like a local.
Invest in some rain gear
While the Midwest has winters that dip below -20 degrees, the Northwest has rain. And lots of it. The first thing I did when I moved here was buy a North Face rain jacket and some waterproof hiking boots. You’ll need it, especially from November through April. Due to the lack of sunlight in the winter, I also use a light therapy box to help boost my mood and energy levels. Getting outside and exercising helps, too.
It’s okay to be a tourist
Within the first few months of living here, I went to the top of the Space Needle, shopped around Pike Place Market, and took a visit to the “Fremont Troll.” It’s a fun way to get acclimated to your new city!
Don’t be intimidated
I’ll admit I’m an introvert. But if I have one tip, it’s to put yourself out there. Start up a conversation with a stranger (some of whom are probably also transplants), join a MeetUp group, invite your neighbor over for an outdoor barbecue, or go to a concert or local brewery. As an artist, I’ve found the Northwest is a great place for art with tons of galleries, art walks and pop up events. Embrace the quirky, unique culture. You’ll eventually find “your people”!
You may be missing your hometown, and that’s okay. There are a lot of things I miss about Minneapolis – my favorite lakeside café and the park I frequented along the Mississippi River. But the Pacific Northwest has certainly captured my heart. Keep an open mind, explore, and see for yourself!