“We travel because we need to, because distance & difference are the secret tonic to creativity. When we get home, home is still the same, but something in our minds has changed, & that changes everything.” — Jonah Leher
If I stay someplace too long, I begin to feel trapped and bored (no, I’m not being overly dramatic, thank you very much). I think it’s good — no, necessary — for us humans to travel every three or so months. Not only do we get a break from the hum-drum of our day-to-day lives, but most importantly, we come back reinvigorated and refreshed; brimming with new ideas and creativity. I firmly believe we need to face external challenges and diversity in order to continue to grow as human beings. And one way to do this is by exposing our senses, and thus our minds, to new landscapes, cuisines, and experiences.
Around this time last year, Keith and I did just that when we took a trip up to Oregon. I had been starting to feel the itch to travel again (I’d recently returned from visiting family in Japan), but didn’t want to be gone for too long (or to spend too much money). Thankfully, we live only a few miles away from a great airport with direct flights to multiple fun destinations (the Alaska Airlines tickets we scored were about $142 each), including Portland!
What to Pack
Keith and I are lite packers. For this trip, we each took a personal item (a backpack & my Nena & Co purse) and a small, shared a carry-on suitcase.
- Bose QuietComfort 35 Headphones — Keith does not go anywhere without these babies.
- Kindle Fire — Perfect since our flight did not have a TV. (I believe we watched Boyhood on this flight — so good!)
- Otter Box — Necessary phone protection.
- TSA Luggage Lock — Protect your goods!
- Travel Bottles — I’ve got very curly Italian hair, which means I absolutely can’t leave home without my DevaCurl Shampoo and Conditioner or Moroccan Oil.
- Sneakers — Keith wore Sperrys most of our trip and I wore Keds. I also packed a pair sandals.
- Rain Jacket — Everyone knows how rainy Portland is. Best to come prepared.
- Sweater — I was expecting it to be cold around this time. It turned out to be pretty warm during the day, but this came in handy at night.
To be honest, this whole trip spawned from a Google search: cute hotels in Portland, Oregon.
The Society Hotel came up. And of course, if you know me, then you know how much I adore places with character and good branding (this place had a whole lot of both), so of course, I was sold.
This boutique spot in downtown Portland (in the Chinatown neighborhood) was once a hotel for sailors passing through. Now the newly renovated hotel offers visitors three unique ways to vacation: in bunks (think: up-scale Euro hostel), private rooms with shared bathrooms (what we stayed in — about $139/night), and suites. The Society Hotel also houses a cafe (with an almond milk latte that Keith STILL raves about to this day) and an ‘trip’ board filled with ideas on what to do throughout your time in Portland.
We couldn’t have been happier with this decision. Yes, it was on the outskirts of town (which are a bit rough), but it was a great price for a charming hotel with wonderful customer service and yummy food. Plus, it was within walking distance to most of what we wanted to see (we took Ubers everywhere else — they weren’t too pricey). We’d 110% stay here again.
Friday — We arrived in Portland pretty late. Thankfully our good friend, Sam, was still awake and wanted to show us a good time. Before checking into our hotel, we rolled over to the Kennedy School Hotel for dinner at one of their many restaurants. This place was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. For starters, it’s an old elementary school which has since been converted into a hotel — with bars, restaurants, pools and more. There was an ’80’s prom going on while we were there (only in Portlandia, am I right?).
Saturday — First stop on our list was Mother’s Bistro for brunch. I’d heard from multiple friends (thank you Elana and Connor) that this was *the* place to eat (and drink). I really loved the decor AND the food here (win, win). The rest of the day was sort of a blur. We hit all the popular spots: the downtown Portland Farmer’s Market, Powell’s Books, and Salt & Straw(you CANNOT miss this! It would be a sin). Another cool spot we found: Marine Polis Sushi Land — where sushi is delivered via conveyor belt. So yea, we basically spent our entire day hopping from one amazing restaurant to another, #sorrynotsorry.
Sunday —Everyone knows a trip to Portland is not complete without a stop at the world-famous, Voodoo Doughnut. We went pretty early in the morning, which meant we had a pretty short line (although, if you don’t mind the lines I recommend going at night since they’ve got the cutest alley-way decorated with string lights). We bought three boxes — one for us, one for Keith’s sister, and another for work (yep, we somehow made it all the way home without eating OR dropping them). After this stop, we walked around the waterfront, petted all the corgis, and then took an Uber to Purringtons Cat Lounge (an adoptable cat cafe) before heading to the airport.
Next time we visit we for sure want to rent a car to head out to the coast and to see the Redwoods.
Have you been to Portland? If so, what would you recommend visiting? I’d love to learn about more cool spots (& I know other readers would too). Comment below!