I visited Portland for the first time to visit a friend. If tattooed white hippies chose to inhabit a forest with micro-breweries and strip clubs, it would be called Portland.

Portland is low key and aggressively accepting

Having lived in California for the past 6 years, I’ve gotten used to the idealization of the Golden Coast where swag is plentiful and Katy Perry / Tupac / E-40 anthems can run on rewind in the background. Portland doesn’t have any illustrious hype around it. Unlike California, the people who move to Portland don’t need to scream they’re based in a certain city. Their tattoos and affinity for niche hobbies will do it for them. This was really refreshing as people seemed to be more open to meeting others.

My impression of Portland is that’s less a city people climb up in their clame to fame (unless you work for Nike) and more of a city to lose yourself in hobbies.

Portland is accepting because it is weird. It’s weird because it is accepting. For any quirk you think would make you stick out, Portland has something weirder to offer.

Nature is definitely a thing

The PNW in general makes you appreciate nature. Stepping outside into oxygenated air, colors vividly burst at you. It definitely made me more present and appreciative of nature.

It’s really white

Not a ton of racial diversity, I’ll admit. Disappointed that I didn’t get to see too many minorities walking about, save for those at restaurants.

On a personal note

I chose Portland for two reasons 1) I’ve never visited it before and 2) I just needed to step out of the Bay. I’ve learned that I do best when I’m surrounded by others who are different from me but still accepting. As a self-proclaimed constant comparer, Portland’s emphasis on weirdness where alternate routes are the norm made me feel accepted.