In the introduction to the travel section of my other project, I use the sentence “you can step slowly through these experiences and savor them, or race along the trail at an ever increasing speed, drinking it all in as if there is no tomorrow.”
The latter half of that phrase is derived from a quick one-day trip along the Oregon Coast. Back in 2010, I spent a week in Oregon to photograph the wedding of a friend. She was gracious enough to gift me with one day’s use of her car and a full gas tank after the new couple left for their honeymoon and before my flight, so in this instance there was no tomorrow’s chance to explore.
I started my journey at a beach near Lincoln City, lingering to let the calming roar of the ocean wash over me after a busy weekend.
The next stop had a two-mile loop hiking trail, which I set out upon at a slow pace. But as I moved through the foggy morning forest, the scenery only increased in beauty. I caught myself at a near jog, trying to finish the trail as quickly as possible in case there were anything ahead along the coast I might miss.
The more I explored, the more beauty I stumbled across. I spent the afternoon driving up the highway, stopping at any hint of trail or beach, and racing through the scenery as quickly as I could manage, breathing deeply, trying to absorb the shouting green and magnitude into my lungs.
I’ve never felt so simultaneously frantic and relaxed, and years later, I still can’t explain the overwhelming sensation that washed over me that day. This next year, I’m going to be spending more time in Oregon for work, and I can’t wait to explore these places more slowly, to savor them and let them sink into my bones.