Weekend in Washington (Part III)

It breaks my heart to think that an entire month has passed since my Washington trip. I can’t believe how quickly time flies as you’re traveling, and also how fast it slips away once you return home.

My last day with Bethany was full of the great outdoors and my two favorite summertime staples: kayaking and hiking. We grabbed a dynamite breakfast at this cute little 50s diner – where we both ordered some waffles and chai – then headed toward the shoreline to hit the water.

I remember it being a bit windier and chillier than the other days, but being on the water was wonderful. The waves were just right, the sun was shining on our faces, and we even saw some sea lions! Our time together reminded me of other adventures we’ve shared, which I’ll cover in a separate post 🙂

The beautiful thing about Bethany’s and my friendship is that we always pick up right where we left off, no matter the distance or the time that’s elapsed. We were able to connect on such a deep level again in such a short amount of time, and had plenty of laughs along the way! Bethany even got splashed by a huge wave as we explored a tide pool right after this picture was taken…

The remainder of our day was spent eating great food on the water and walking through a beautiful park near Bethany’s place. Unfortunately, she had to move out of her home shortly after moving in due to water damage, but will luckily be back home soon. The park is near her home and it was the perfect way to wrap up our time together. The two of us shared past memories as we bird watched at the nature preserve. We even stoped to smell the flowers along the way ~

As always, our weekend flew by way too fast, but we’re already planning a spooky, fall trip together. Friends like Bethany are hard to come by, and I’m blessed to have her in my life and to call her a best friend ❤️

Weekend in Washington (Part II)

Once again, I’ve allowed too much time to pass between posting about my Seattle trip. I really need to carve out some time each week to write and reflect on my travels…

Friday, March 26: Downtown Kirkland

Kirkland, a college town near Seattle, is a must if you want that happy-medium of calmness and the hustle and bustle of downtown. Bethany, her dad and I had quite a hectic Thursday – filled with trying to find food and navigate through an unexpectedly busy crowd, and hiking several miles prior to – so we needed a relaxing afternoon and evening in a new place. Bethany hadn’t visited Kirkland yet, and we really wanted some leisurely walking, eating and drinking in town.

Whenever Bethany and I travel together, we are constantly reminded of our first adventure in Sweden (can’t you tell?!). Seeing the Swedish flag always makes us happy 🙂

After our obligatory selfie, we decided that Thai food was a must. It was a windy, cooler day and yellow curry was at the top of our list. We enjoyed some warm, yummy food and some iced Thai tea (our favorite!) by the water. The best part? All the dogs and ducks we were able to befriend!

The two of us chatted and talked about life. The previous day with her dad was more casual and laid back, but the two of us had to share some personal things with each other. We laughed, cried and hugged as we confided in one another. Our lives have always been strikingly parallel and intertwined somehow, which is one of many reasons I believe we were meant to meet in 2016.

Once we finished our food, conversation and gazing at the animals around us, we had to grab some warm tea and window shop. Our ginger chai lattes were worth the wait and we were able to check out some funky shops before dinner.

We weren’t ready for dinner just yet; the waterfront was far too enjoyable to leave. Bethany and I walked the pier and reminisced about our time along the Kalmar castle five years ago. The sea air instantly brought us back to when we first met, and we cherished the moment as best we could.

The two of us allowed the day to take us along for the ride, without any game plan. Luckily we were craving the same kind of food, so we decided to drive toward home and stop for sushi on the way. Not pictured: the best vegetarian sushi and green tea I’ve ever had. Bethany and I were able to sit outside next to a heater and continue laughing and sharing past memories. I really don’t know what I would do without Bethany, and where I would be without her friendship ❤️

Photos taken Friday, March 26, 2021

Weekend in Washington (Part I)

I did it again: I had a lovely weekend away with a friend, and didn’t journal once. I tell myself every time I travel that I’ll write down what I did each day before I go to bed, but I was out as soon as I hit the pillow every night (I blame this on working late and adjusting to the three-hour time difference). At least I have memories and photos I can reference…

Bethany is my go-to travel and adventure buddy. We travel remarkably similar: we hate itineraries, we enjoy going where the wind takes us, and we laugh often! Our four nights together flew by as they always do, but we packed quite a bit into our weekend in Washington.

Thursday, March 25: Hiking at Discovery Park & Dinner at Pike Place

The best part about our first full day together? Seeing Bethany’s dad! Steve is the kindest man and is perhaps the best board game strategist I know (and is fully vaccinated!). We started our day with a beautiful hike at Discovery Park in north Seattle. With a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and the lush greenery surrounding us, it was hard not to have an enjoyable afternoon in each other’s company.

What we loved most about our afternoon hike was the contrasting sunshine peeking through the trees as we approached the beach, but the ominous, eerie feeling we felt on the shoreline. Bethany and I felt this exact same way in Iceland a few years ago, which I will post about at a later date 😊

Soon after the three of us grew tired from our multi-mile hike, we drove into downtown Seattle to relish in the sunshine a bit more. Despite it taking us far too long to find a restaurant I could enjoy (I’m gluten free and vegetarian, which tends to make things difficult…), our dinner was much-needed and well-deserved. Bethany and her dad enjoyed some burgers and fries while I scarfed down the best falafel salad of my life!

Our evening was full of gin and tonics, a few rounds of Rummikub, and we watched the crows migrate and settle in for the night. Who knew watching crows could be so entertaining?!

Photos taken Thursday, March 25 in Seattle, Washington

Friendship in February

I immediately thought of the infamous Spongebob song “F is for friends who do stuff together…” when I typed the title of this post!

In all seriousness, February has been one of the best months I’ve had in a LONG while. The quality time my friends and I have given each other is one of the best gifts 2021 has given me. I’m grateful because I know for many, February wasn’t as easy and giving for those in other parts of the country and world.

We can all (or at least mostly) agree that it’s hard to imagine that our lives were almost turned upside down one year ago; we’re still experiencing the whiplash of COVID-19, the restrictions and uncertainties of the pandemic, and the lack of normalcy in our lives overall. Any bit of sanity and time well-spent with friends is exactly what I’ve been craving and desperately needing!

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and happy!

Cate

Happy Birthday, Bethany!

One of my best friends turns 27 today, and I can’t help but reflect on our adventures together. From Kalmar to Chicago, Reykjavik to Cortez, Colorado, we always have a spectacular time together!

Bethany is always a consistent source of joy and happiness in my life, and I know she always will be. Every conversation is meaningful, every adventure is purposeful, and every laugh or inside joke is cherished. This gal is truly my best friend!

Happiest birthday to you, Bethany! You’re more than anyone could ask for 🙂

Nostalgia is Bittersweet

I’m thinking of Sweden on this Saturday morning…

A few days ago I Skyped my friend Bethany, who has been featured in several of my posts, most notably for our travel experiences together. We met in 2016 as two eager U.S. students studying in Kalmar, Sweden and we haven’t skipped a beat since! Bethany now lives in the Seattle area and I’m hoping to visit her as soon as possible. She’s truly the friend you can always rely on, no matter the distance.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since we began our Swedish adventures. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, but also with watery eyes. I have a love-hate relationship with looking at old photos. I reflect and feel myself in that moment again, sometimes with sweet nostalgia and other times with immense longing to be there again. But why?

1. I’m craving new adventures and memories (aren’t we all?). In all seriousness, travel is my decompression. It’s an escape from work, from people, from life at home. Those long weekend getaways with a close friend, my husband or parent, and lengthier international adventures mean more to me than any material thing.

2. I don’t love where I am right now. I believe people looking into my life (especially through photos) would want what I have: a husband, a dog, a home, a job… but I am not emotionally where I’d like to be. I know deep down that I need to rediscover myself and what’s important to me, which is why I’m in need of positive change.

3. Sometimes the past is more appreciated in the present than it was back then. Sometimes I’ll look at an old photo and think “wow, that was an awesome day!” and maybe I didn’t even realize it at the time. It’s such a shame how our minds can trick us this way.

I’m trying not to beat myself up because all of us can experience these feelings. We can all look at old photos or reflect on old memories with a multitude of emotions ranging from sadness to warm-hearted joy.

I hope we can all create new memories – be it solo, with loved ones, or even strangers – this year and for many years to come 🙂

Dog Days of… January?

Some of us are excited for what 2021 will bring. Some of us remain uncertain and are maybe even afraid for the future. I’m almost certain that no matter which bucket you fall into (if not both!), you’re ready for some normalcy. And one of the only beings in my life who is loving all of this is my pup, Linley.

Salty about me cleaning the mud off his paws…

For Juan and me, January has been filled of some quick (and safe) visits with friends, tons of work after hours, and the occasional date with just us two; but mostly it’s filled with Linley-related quality time.

I hope that the remainder of 2021 involves more time with friends and more traveling, which includes more adventures with Lin!

I promise that Juan wears his mask right 99% of the time…!

Friends are the family we choose

Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays. Saskia and I met ten years ago, and our friendship has proven the test of time and distance. I haven’t seen Sassi in person since 2016 (which is quite depressing to think about!), but we use WhatsApp to communicate on a weekly basis. She and I are closer than some of my family and friends who live close in proximity; she truly is my family right now. Although I love hearing her voice, I can’t wait to see Saskia again and give her the big hug that she deserves! Happy birthday, Saskia 🙂💛