, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I bought my first car, it’s not new and it’s not fancy but it’s reliable and somehow it just feels like it’s the perfect car for me. Given my age I would say I’m way late in the game to be buying my first car, but hey, it’s paid off in full and I didn’t break the bank so I definitely can’t complain. Better late than never I always say. But in all seriousness this is a big milestone for me and it makes me think back to how if one event in my life didn’t happen then I might not be where I am today. Which even though I’m not where I thought I would be I’m still way farther than I was just a few years ago and to my surprise, I even have moments where I’m actually a little ahead of the game (In some areas).

Almost three years ago I took a trip that changed my life forever. It was a little thing to most people, but it was a huge deal to me. My best friend and I took a road trip to Oregon together for a few days just before she was about to receive a promotion at work and I was about to start my current big girl job (Basically my first non retail or fast food job). It made me turn my life around and changed my way of thinking forever.

The first thing that happened was my confidence blew up once I learned that a quick trip out of state could be planned so easily (and affordably) and it wasn’t nearly as scary as some people had made it out to be. In fact, everything went so smoothly there wasn’t anything to worry about at all. It was probably one of the most carefree times of my life because if you live in California everything out of state is a whole lot cheaper, not to mention, it turns out I really love road trips!

It was incredibly fun and as a side note, we made great time. It was the first time I traveled with only a friend. It was also the first time I had camped despite having wanted to my whole life. I realized how much I love travel and that camping is definitely an option in the future. We had a blast and it was extremely beautiful in the redwoods where we stayed. The whole thing although it took a couple days of driving seemed almost effortless. I realized that this was something I definitely could plan for myself in the future because it was not nearly as hard as I had always thought it would be.

I also realized how out of shape I was and that the Portland hills were much more difficult than they should’ve been for me to walk. It was an eye opening experience and I started losing weight after that trip and making fitness more of a priority. I also started saving money for travel and I started to realize that all the things I wanted out of life weren’t so far away or impossible to achieve as I had thought prior to taking this trip.

I started to realize how important it was to make time for myself and to do things that made me happy and to stop letting other’s opinions dictate how I lived. I learned a lot about thinking for myself and believing in myself and what I am capable of. I didn’t figure it out all at once but going to Oregon was the first big step.

Looking back I know exactly why I woke up that morning we were going to leave with a feeling inside me that I couldn’t explain. It was as if all the weight I had been carrying had lifted off my shoulders and I knew that my life was about to change, I swear, no lie, I had that feeling.

I look back on that quite a bit and realize how true that feeling was and how Oregon had changed my life. But really I could say it was the belief and support of a true friend, that I am honored to call my best friend of over 20 years that helped me through and helped me realize that there is so much more in the world than what I had known. She dragged me out of the shell I’d been living in and encouraged me to take this road trip even though I was scared.

But still even so, sometimes we both reminisce about what Oregon meant for us and how it changed both of us. Out friendship became even stronger and we learned a lot about each other and ourselves from that trip. Oregon holds a very special place in our hearts and although I was definitely the one that was more sheltered, it really was an eye opening experience for both of us. Maybe, we will go back one day. Only time will tell.

The funny thing is it seems almost serendipitous that almost three years later I finally buy my own car and somehow although it’s not perfect, it’s perfect for me. I have a feeling this car will take me on even more adventures and will only help me grow in my independence and confidence. But no matter what happens in the future, this is still a big step I am proud to have made.

20180706_200557.jpgBut the thing that makes it all seem like it’s really meant to be are the Oregon plates that came with this car. Yes, Oregon. The former owner lived in Oregon for a couple of years and it leaves me to wonder how much Oregon had impacted his life as well. But even more so it makes me wonder how Oregon seems to be intertwined with my own life and how it’s continuing to be there for me to remind me of everything I’ve learned over the last few years and continuing to help me grow. I wonder how or if Oregon will continue to impact and change my life in the future. Well Oregon… what’s next?