An Introduction of Sorts

A journey from Pittsburgh to Tacoma, only 3 years later.

At one point I found myself very interesting. Like many around the world and especially the Internet, I have previously been of the opinion that people want to read what I have to say, so I should write it. I wrote about my personal experiences for a while in a personal blog that was read quite a bit by certain friends and family. This was a great way to keep in touch and share my innermost thoughts.

Three-and-a-half years ago I moved from Pittsburgh, PA, to Tacoma, WA. As one may expect, moving 2,541 miles away was the most influential thing that has happened in my life. I wrote daily about my experience driving across these United States, which was my favorite blogging experience to date. Put an extrovert on the road by himself for a week and thoughts will stew before being spewed onto a computer screen.

I arrived in Tacoma alone, for the most part. I had two friends in Seattle whom I had visited previously, but I did not see them often. I built community through work, church, and music. I’m sure these stories will come up more later, but for now I will say it was a long journey from loneliness to feeling generally at home on the west coast.

Over time, I started to consider myself less interesting. There are plenty of transplants here and plenty of them have traveled great distances to get here like I have. Most regarded me as an east coaster, although I’d consider Pittsburgh as firmly “rust belt” (expect a blog on this later), and I was excited to share my unique perspective on the west coast way of life compared to the one to which I was accustomed at home. As relationships developed, though, I recognized that the homesick bit was getting old. I resisted adopting Tacoma as home and developed a sense of disdain that was unappealing to other humans. It was time for me to get used to Tacoma or get moving.

Two years ago I made the choice to get used to Tacoma. The most monumental decision associated with this choice was to start dating my fiancee, Aly. While the northwest has not changed in the time in which we have dated, my perspective on it surely has. I began to embrace the things about the Pacific Northwest that I did enjoy because there was someone in my life who loved it as home. We will get married in Tacoma this July, which will certainly make it feel even more like home than it even does now.

This past January I turned 30. It came and went without tons of fanfare, just as I would prefer. A good friend and fellow Medium contributor, Dustin, sent me a pair of books for that birthday, both by Wendell Berry. One is titled What Are People For? and the other is titled Standing by Words. The latter was sent for marriage preparation; the former for the conclusion of my 3rd decade.

The essays in What Are People For? have helped me to re-embrace who I am thanks to who is in my life and, more importantly for this blog, from where I have come. Berry speaks realistically of his home of Kentucky and the writers who share their similar experiences. These essays show that one is not only a product of their experiences, but a manifestation of those experiences, people, and places in one human form.

Coincidentally, I also recently encountered a popular blogger from Pittsburgh who has been on the west side of the US with BBC Pop-Up. Her name is Lindsay and she has been writing I Heart PGH for over 8 years. In speaking with her, I recognized that the stories I have to tell are unique. I have unique experiences based on being from Pittsburgh and living in Tacoma. I like certain things, don’t like other things, and I am who I am. Pittsburgh has shaped who I am, but so has Tacoma. This blog is meant to reinvigorate the thought that I have an interesting story to tell.

This is a Tacoma blog. This is a Pittsburgh blog. I do not have an agenda; rather I hope to speak about the things I enjoy in these places. My enjoyment of all things has been greatly influenced by each place.

I hope you enjoy what comes soon. I also hope I follow through with writing so there are actually things for you to read. Most importantly, I hope you learn a bit about each place because I’m sure you’re already familiar with one or the other.

I like lists, so here is one; things I know I plan to write about in this blog:

  1. Tacoma
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Coffee
  4. Beer
  5. Bars
  6. Restaurants
  7. Coffee
  8. Coffee shops
  9. Places I go to
  10. Things I do
  11. People I have met
  12. Etc
Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Jake Nelko’s story.