Our not-so-annual-lately trip to the Oregoan Coast is coming up soon, and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! To some, I know it sounds like the most boring vacation ever: we go to the same little town every time, stay in the same hotel, eat at all the same (amazing!) places, and go on the same hikes. But there’s a real sense of family tradition in this trip, and going every year makes it feel like visiting home again after a long, extended trip. Honestly, it’s like returning to my fantasy-land.
The first time we visited the coast, I was 15 years old. I had never seen the ocean before, and I remember so clearly my feeling of complete wonder as I took it in. I stood on a rocky outcrop, the stiff breeze blowing back my hair, and absorbed it all. The salty air. The sunlight gleaming off the water. The crash of the waves. The feel of sea spray in the wind. I ran down the path to the beach and threw off my shoes, squishing my toes in the cool, packed sand. I was shocked as the water lapped over my feet–I’d never imagined water could be so cold. My brother and I ran through the sand, searching for shells. Overwhelmingly, I remember feeling free; like a small, giddy child. I’m not sure I’ve had an experience since that’s impressed itself so strongly on my memory.
And so, we return every year (or at least, every year we can). Each year, we go to that same outlook point first. The path to the beach has been closed off to counter erosion, but there’s a new, paved pathway that allows me the same view as the first time we went, 17 years ago. Each time, I feel a tiny piece of that freedom return. I’m in awe. I’m a child. I’m free.