Lessons from my road trip to rural Oregon.

Rural Oregon Road - along the Blue Mountain Range.

I felt like I walked into another world full of sunshine, warmth and simple beauty. I was forced to slow down. I was in a rural Oregon town to visit my Mom and family for a quick Easter weekend. While I only had a full day to visit, I savored every slow hour.

The drive down with my brother behind the wheel was a mixture of anxiousness at his careless texting while aggressively driving and gratitude for the quiet time we had to talk while the kids slept in their car seats. We only really visit each other when he needs me to cut his hair or at a family dinner. It was neat to reminiscence about childhood, and where we are as “adults” in life right now. He has an epic adventure to Japan coming in September. I have my own adventure with this blogging thing, plus life as a parent and wife. It was interesting to hear what he cares about or struggles with in the context of stuff, owning a Truck, and debt. I tried my best to not tell him what I think he should do, but just listened and appreciated where I am with similar things.

Lesson #1: I don’t have a vehicle I am emotionally connected with – and that feels freeing. I don’t want stuff to get in my way of being debt-free or traveling. Right now, we’re aggressively paying off our debt, and will be free from it in the next 4 months. I have the itch to do more de-cluttering of things that fill our home, and focus on my own things that just sit around to just look pretty or are unused.

: : : Too much Phone Time : : :

As chance would have it, I forgot my phone charger at home, and the battery died. I was without a cell phone for almost 24 hours. What a great way to realize that I check it too much! I waited until this year to get a Smart Phone, and only got it because my husband thought I should have one. Honestly, it is really nice to read eBooks on it, check Email, get Blog Comments, or use Google anywhere. But, I have been using it too much. Do I really need to respond to emails every hour? Not that I get that many, but still…it was a little uncomfortable not having it on me while I knew my husband was on the road driving to meet up with us. He did check in by calling my Mom’s phone to let us know when he’d left home and provided an estimate on his arrival time.

Branding Wall at the local hardware store - like urban graffiti but more permanent.

Lesson #2: I can still enjoy my Smart Phone, but don’t need to check it every hour. It’s addicting and very tempting to use all the time, especially since I can also take pictures and post them to Facebook. So, I am going to still use my phone, but with less frequency for things like Email and Facebook.

Speaking of Facebook, my friend, Staci wrote a really honest post about her realizing that she’s on it too much. The post actually got me thinking about sharing these lessons I learned Easter Weekend, and prompted my need to share.

: : : Food is the great divide : : :

While only eating a whole day’s worth of meals in this rural Oregon town, I was

Rural America - where most of our food is grown and raised.

aware of how hard it is to get local, or a decent selection of vegetables and hormone free meat. You have to know someone who knows someone and buy like half a cow. Or, stock up at the weekly Farmer’s Market. Sure, the Super Walmart has some Organic branded options, but it’s not the same as finding fresh Kale or Rutabagas. Rural America is given less food choices than urban areas. And the irony is that most of our food is grown in rural areas and shipped to the cities for “picky/informed/passionate” consumption. I hate the fact that I can buy fresh Kale, Cucumbers and Basil within 5 minutes of my house, but my Mom has to wait until the local Alberstons store decides to carry Kale (the last time they had it, she said it was old, and wilting but she bought it anyway to support such variety).

Lesson #3: I am passionate about food and access equality. Why can’t the rural Americans have as many choices as we do in the city? This fuels my desire to further support locally, sustainably and organically grown food.  Somehow I hope to accomplish this, at least as another straw on the Camel’s back, with blogging.

: : : Slow Down : : :

My husband was only able to join us on the trip for an afternoon. But, we fit a date into the time we had, and really enjoyed walking around a small town. They have an amazing coffee house, White House Coffee, and local book store where a kitten played in the window and beckoned us inside. We wandered through isles of old and new books finding little spots to sit and read. While purchases one book, I couldn’t help but smile at the little sign advertising that you can also buy farm fresh eggs (at a book store!). It’s places like this that outshine mega stores or franchised businesses.

Lesson #4: I will make more time to slow down and enjoy unscheduled time with my husband and family. Just this weekend, we took time to explore our neighborhood walking trails. I want more of that in our lives. It makes me less wistful about living in a small town and raising Chickens.

Life is good. Sometimes I just need to slow down to really savor it.

What do you love about where you live? Is there anything you’ve gotten too busy to appreciate? If so, maybe you should take a day off from scheduling it full and just wander. You never know what thoughts or adventures await.

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About Holli

A "cooking from scratch" geek, Mom, Wife, Seattle Native, Photographer and serial volunteer.
This entry was posted in Clutter, Family, Home, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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