For the first nine years I lived in Seattle, I think I visited Olympia maybe twice. It is where I come from—a wonderfully tie dyed, free-loving, hippie dippy, rain forrest, sea level, beach haven that made it incredibly difficult for me to reconcile sitting at stop lights and watching tumble weeds blow by once we left it.
Aside from maybe Eugene and Salt Spring Island, few places compare. When we were in middle school, my friends and I would ride our bikes to a nearby nude beach to point and giggle as we hid behind huge pieces of driftwood. The female students at Evergreen State College—"Greeners," we called them—unceremoniously braided their armpit hair. We saw when we watched them play pool in one of the common rooms. They left dandelions in the bathroom.
In Olympia, everyone is free to be you and me. It's a place that imprints on you, even if you're country-bred.
From the time I was 4-14, it's where we lived. It's where we had the most routine, "typical" family life of anywhere I've called home since. Maybe that's why when I'm there, I feel so whole.
But, aside from a few pouting trips in high school to visit my buddies (who are still my closest people well into adulthood), I barely went back once I moved to Seattle. In the past year or so, I've made it a point to make quarterly-ish trips to Olympia. The downtown economy is booming with old and new shops and restaurants. It's just a fun place to be, and I know it well. Having Olympia days fills me up in ways few other places do or can. They make me feel congruent—like I'm living in accordance with where my heart and my gut are pulling me.
I've been working lately on really going with my gut. I'll often wake up in the morning with a sense of what I want our adventure to be that day and instead of thinking, "Oh, we should do this instead," for whatever subconscious reason, I go with that initial sense of what I'm feeling drawn toward and it's honestly made me feel much happier, much more whole. It makes me feel like I'm vibing a bit more with fate instead of trying to control or resist it. I know that sounds woo woo. Honestly, it sounds very Olympia.