This month I am taking a sabbatical in Tumwater, which is just outside of Olympia. The idea came to me by way of my dear friend Sheva, whom I caught up with in person when she was visiting Seattle in August. Sheva is a seeker, someone I admire very much. She’s also someone who’s been doing lots of travel in the past few years, living in different places on work exchanges. I asked her where she’s been lately that she particularly liked. “I know I’m going to have to move eventually,” I explained, “There’s going to be a time when I can’t afford Seattle any more.” “I really liked Olympia,” Sheva said. I’d never thought about Olympia before. I assumed I would need to move out of Washington State to find another city with good transit and good vegetarian food. It turns out that Olympia does, in fact, have both. And since I’m working remotely right now, it seemed like the perfect time to book an Air BNB and see if I would fit with Olympia.
   Even though all of that sounds quite premeditated, I don’t actually have an end goal in mind for this month. I’m tired of end goals. They only serve a person so much, and there are enough areas of my life that are goal dependent. Here, I’m trying to let go of expectations, be in my present surroundings. It’s hard not to get caught up in future planning, but I am trying.
I’ve been exploring Olympia and going for walks with no particular destination. The coffee is great, the bus drivers have been truly courteous and amazing, and downtown Olympia has been easy to orient and get lost in. Kiva has an enclosed space to run around in at the back of the cottage where I’m staying, and she has been using that space to contentedly sniff for hours. I don’t think there’s much running happening. I’ve been working, writing, and cooking. The days pass quickly.
   Right now I’m eating a late breakfast at a diner in downtown called New Moon Cafe. It’s a worker-owned cooperative restaurant, and they have great vegan food. I like the vibe here, down-to-earth and unpretentious. It’s inviting and warm.
  The thing is, I’ve been feeling so stuck lately. My job is a dead end, some of my relationships feel stagnant. And the thing about being stuck in those areas is that there’s not much I can control there, not without other people doing their part. What I can do is create my own momentum, remind myself that I am myself: independent, capable, resourceful, open, and curious. I forget this in my day to day, but I hope I will remember this month after I return to Seattle, and remember that I am still me.

3 thoughts on “October Sabbatical

  1. My next door neighbor, Suzanne, has a son who moved to Olympia about 18 months ago. He’s an ER doc with a family including 3 young kids. Suzanne spent last winter in Olympia helping them out when their latest baby was born. She came home to Minneapolis singing the praises of the Olympia . She has been encouraging us to move there. Small town feel, wonderful places to walk, lush foliage, kind people. Lots of rain in winter—but that’s easier than snow. Cheaper and less overcrowded than Seattle, where Suzanne’s son lived during med school.
    I fully expect Suzanne to move there someday. She’s going back in a couple weeks for the winter.
    I hope you enjoy your month away from the busy city. Sounds refreshing and enlivening. Being a stranger (even in a new neighborhood) wakes us up for awhile.❤️❤️

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