Bravery, Brunch and Books
I have a friend, Jess, who I've been wanting to meet in person for quite some time. She is a member of my online yoga community, The Body Mind Soul Studio, and very much a kindred spirit. She was one of the first people to volunteer to read Strong Roots, Wayward Soul in its first draft stage (bless her!). Jess lives in Tacoma, WA, not far from another friend I've met through the trade show circuit with my job. Ryann is generous in spirit, which of course made us click right from the start as well. Every time she posts pictures of the view from her house on a lake just south of Seattle, she answers my admiring comments with "come visit any time!" And so, I finally took her up on it.
With two friends I could visit, a third in the vicinity, and a homestead I follow on Instagram about ninety minutes outside of Seattle, I felt certain I could package up a nice little trip to the Pacific Northwest. I texted Jess to inquire about the best weather windows for a visit. September was a busy month for me so it was out. Anything past October was risky and I was better off waiting until spring, we decided. And then, after four months bouncing from one camper to the other, I changed my mind. Feeling as unsettled as ever in our homes on wheels, I desperately needed a change of scenery. The forest always seems to do the trick.
The thing about this trip was: I wasn't coming to do touristy Seattle things. The Space Needle doesn't top my bucket list and I mistakenly thought it was Fisherman's Wharf that called Seattle home, not Pike Place Market. This trip was intended to foster connections with women I like (but truth be told didn't know all that well), enjoy some beautiful scenery, and pick the brains of a homesteading couple who are several steps ahead of us on their journey. It reminded me of my Year of More in 2019, when I seized almost every comfort-zone-busting opportunity that came my way.
I landed Thursday and made my way to the lake house. Ryann was traveling for work until Friday, so I had the house to myself (her generosity of spirit is a good match for my trustworthiness). With Seattle holding true to its promise of a nasty November, I lingered at the sliding door overlooking the lake from the safety of a dry room. Jess picked me up and we had a nice dinner on a local waterfront. With my circadian rhythm firmly planted in the Central time zone, I was in bed by eight.
Friday, I had hoped to see an author acquaintance I've kept in touch with for the last eighteen months. She had an unexpected conflict, but passed along more recommendations than a Frommer's guide. I drove north to the Capitol Hill neighborhood in downtown Seattle for breakfast and books. Oddfellows, my brunch stop, did not disappoint. Just as Toni had assured me, it was a place where I could linger over a giant Americano with my laptop and they wouldn't rush me out the door. It even allowed time for a little magic to happen.
The young woman I had been seated next to also had her nose in a laptop. We both stopped what we were doing to admire the largest slice of French toast known to man when they delivered it to her table. Later, she stood up and leaned over toward me, asking if I would watch her laptop while she used the restroom. Of course I obliged, thinking I might request that she return the favor. It was only when she returned that I noticed she was wearing an "I (heart) Texas" sweatshirt--Texas Longhorns, that is. "I'm from Fort Worth!" I exclaimed, excited by the synchronicity. "I'm from Euless!" she replied, looking as shocked as I was by our half-hour proximity back home in Texas. She explained that she was a flight attendant and she was exploring while her boyfriend worked.
"I'm going to Elliott books after this?" her uncertainty stemming from a lack of certainty about the name of her destination.
"Oh, Elliott Bay bookstore! That's my next stop. It comes highly recommended by a friend."
She smiled, and I seized the moment. "This might seem random, but I'm an author. I'd like to give you this," and handed her one of my publicity cards for my memoir. "You might find a lot of the Texas connections interesting."
"We are always looking for something to read on the planes! I will order it and spread the word." And I sold a copy of my book that day, so she must have stayed true to her word.
I find that little tiptoes out of my comfort zone, like re-framing a visit as an adventure rather than an imposition, can lead to some pretty big steps out of it too, like talking to a stranger at a coffee shop about my self-published memoir. On my next stop at the bookshop next door, I didn't see the young flight attendant, but I did see a book that piqued my interest. After mulling it over, I decided to pass. I had already answered the call.
To be continued...