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Three years ago, when I got laid off after more than four years at my job, I packed up my bags and went off to explore. It was the most fantastic adventure as I hit up Peru, China, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
This year, when COVID hit and halted the world in its steps, I turned to travel again to help cope. This time, I left San Francisco, a city I’d lived in for more than seven years, and set off to explore more of the United States.
You see, I loved being a solo female traveler during my funemployment. But I also always hoped that my partner would join me on the road one day.
While I wish the circumstances that led us here were different, I am grateful that we now have the opportunity to hit the road together, albeit a little differently. In this case, our adventures are going to be completely domestic, always by car, and at a much slower pace.
After a series of non-COVID related things led us to leave our last apartment, we decided to sell what we could, store the rest with family, and travel with whatever we could fit in our Subaru.
We still have to work full-time (and we fully acknowledge the privilege we have in remote-OK jobs), so we’ve embraced the slow travel movement in our new nomadic lifestyle. Hence, slo-madic.
And did I mention we got a pup? Yup, please say hello to Kokomo!
Traveling with a pup obviously changes my traveling style even more than traveling with a partner changed my previously solo-heavy travels. Besides having to ensure places are dog-friendly, there are so, so many things to pack when you have a pup. We legitimately had more stuff for Kokomo than for either of us in our car.
And as we’ve already discovered, you really have to learn to explore on their time. Heading out on an eight-mile hike this afternoon? Better plan for two miles instead.
Our slo-madic plan is to spend a few months in each place and explore during our off time. In each city, we’re renting long-term Airbnbs and VRBOs in an area of town in which we could see ourselves living.
Our first stop is Bend, Oregon.
We visited Bend for approximately 24 hours last year during our San Francisco to Portland roadtrip. At the time, we promised to come back to this high desert mountain town because we knew it had so much more to offer — we just didn’t realize how soon we’d be back or for how long!
You best bet we’re drinking all the beer and spending a lot of time outdoors. Autumn is just so incredibly beautiful here, and Kokomo loves chasing leaves as they blow by. (It’s also my first real changing of seasons since autumn in Nebraska!)
Bend is also one of the most dog-friendly towns, which is a plus when we have a pup who’s grown up during COVID and never left our side.
Tons of blog posts on Bend and the nearby areas to come. In the meantime, we’re open to suggestions on where to go next!
Our key criteria:
- Close to nature and the great outdoors. Mountains and beaches preferred.
- West of the Rockies
- Must have some sort of town with happenings
Perhaps we’ll love one of these places so much that we’ll decide to settle down in one of them, perhaps we’ll return to San Francisco when the world is a better place. Or maybe we’ll find some place different altogether.
In the meantime, we’ll be savoring our opportunity to explore cities in a slower, more local-like fashion.
Stay well and safe, all.
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