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An Oregon Road Trip | New Years 2017

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The welcoming on a new year is a sacred time for me – I love the feeling of potential that it brings, an exciting (if not idealistic) opportunity to set new goals and reflect on all that’s happened in the previous 12 months.

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It’s also a holiday that I love to mark with an authentic experience – I want to wake up on January 1st feeling alive, feeling myself, surrounded by beauty and people that are important to me. For 2017, a (somewhat whirlwind) wintery road trip up to rural Oregon with dear friend Christine was the plan.

We started our drive north in the early morning on December 29th. Christine slept, I drove, the sun rising as we made our way north on I-5. Calm music, quiet roads, the scenery growing lusher, more open, and, eventually, snowier. Somehow, we were both able to sense we were in Oregon before we saw the signs at the state border, sensing deeper breaths, cleaner air; the benefits too of leaving homes, routines, schedules, and simply driving for a while.

After a stop in Eugene for some tea and hippie treats, we drove west into Alsea, a small town on the Alsea River with a few hundred residents. We stayed in a sweet farm cottage on the river, cold and beautiful.

Crunchy grass. Wool socks. Frosty morning walks. A few things rarely experienced in the Bay Area. Winter actually felt like winter here, and I made a note to myself to remember that I actually love so many things about the season I tend to dread. The wisdom that comes from the changing of seasons is just too rich to miss out on.

Though we did burst out of the car and run around this field when we rounded a turn to find the warm glow of afternoon sunshine!

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Next stop (after doing the most ‘Portland’ thing we could ever dream of) (loved it): a tiny house on a lavender farm in Oregon’s wine country. (Plus there were alpacas, seemingly just as pets. This place had it all.) Though the lavender was all dormant for the winter, our host gave us a tour of the land he and his wife bought after moving to Oregon from California – they actually grew up and met in my small hometown in Silicon Valley. During the summers, they host lavender u-pickers and will distill the lavender into essential oils. After hearing their story of moving up here, 45 minutes outside of Portland, and starting their farming business, the wheels in our heads were sure turning.

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We woke up to sunshine on the first day of 2017. And that was that. Back to California, ready for a new year.

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All images ©Jennifer Love.