Spontaneity. I think it’s good for the soul. The uncertainty you can kind of control and thrust into your life. I think most people don’t indulge enough in this sort of thing. The lack of planning and the presence of the unexpected deters most who need structure and organization. This unpredictability makes for a solid adventure.
What makes adventure even sweeter? Going through the experience with friends that are always down to indulge in an undertaking like a road trip to a 4-day festival in Washington called Sasquatch.
This trip was kind of reminiscent of my trip to Japan and Korea in 2015, it began with a simple conversation, lingered for some time, and didn’t become real until we actually committed. It’s crazy how things like that fall into place. With the 2015 trip to Asia, I got a phone call, and all that needed to be said was, “Let’s go to Korea.” This trip to Sasquatch was similar. All it took was a group text from my friend Amina, encouraging us to do something reckless, like take days out of our work week and road trip up to a music festival.
In all honesty, I wasn’t sure it was going to happen at all. Conflicting schedules, priorities, and budgets were all concerns of mine. From experience, this can either end a trip before it even starts or cripple a good time. Despite this, with reassurance from our “festival mom”, Amina, we made it happen and I don’t regret one bit of it.
Our trip began with me picking up Vanessa. Of course, when I show up, she still has a million things she has to do so I end up fake napping, playing with her dogs, and chopping it up with her dad about his favorite travels. Hours later, we finally get on the road up to Oakland. We pulled up to the Bay, stopping by Hayward to pick up Beatrice. As expected, she’s in good spirits and greets us by making us green juice. The next stop was our studio in Oakland where we meet with Amina and switch to her soccer mom van that can fit all four of us and all of our things for the weekend. It was damn near like Tetris trying to figure out how to fit all the camping chairs, sleeping bags, duffels, humans, etc., but we made it work.
So begins our second leg of the journey. We stock up on some healthy snacks and food from whole foods and drive a few hours and stop over at Shasta Lake. It was beautiful. I’ve always had an affinity for bodies of water. I’m not sure if that comes from an astrological thing being a Scorpio, or if it comes from living by the water wherever I may be, but I always feel at peace and at home. The break from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, from the city, from obligation, gave me peace of mind. I climbed down the steep hill and just sat there, taking it all in, the multitude of trees, the turquoise water that looked endless, and the fresh air. Beatrice made her way down by the water, Amina found a vantage point to take pictures, and Vanessa went off and did her own thing. I really cherish times like these when I can feel at peace with myself but accompanied by people I’m grateful for. It’s a nice balance.
We only made a few more stops after Shasta Lake, with one being at a small gas station that had a decent view of a mountain and then when we finally got to Oregon, we couldn’t help but stop at Voodoo Donuts to get our hands on the Portland staple. I was pretty happy we stopped there, not only for the donuts, but for the reaction Beatrice had about being in Portland. She got a different vibe from her regular surroundings, but I think she felt it was quite comforting and reminiscent of somewhere she’s been in the past, Boston maybe. It may have been the college town vibe, with hip bars and restaurants lining the streets that were alive with music and conversation, still open at 2 am. The people at the actual donut shop were kind and each person displayed their personality unapologetically. That moment just reminded me of the pleasures I get from traveling with others, being exposed to people’s joy, and witnessing the excitement of being somewhere they’ve never been before.
On our drive up to Washington, something amazing happened. I had told one of my friends from college I was on my way to Seattle and that wanted to know if she had some free time to see each other. I had told her that we had planned to just sleep in the car somewhere in Seattle and wake up, do our thing, then head to Sasquatch. She didn’t get back to me for maybe an hour, but then, she calls and says that she’s booked us a hotel and everything’s already taken care of. I was in awe. I was amazed. I was grateful. I honestly didn’t know what to say. Knowing her, I’m not surprised. Ever since college, my friend Jessie would cook me food, check up on me, and let me crash at her spot whenever I was in Washington. It was a beautiful thing to still have this friendship be the same as it was years ago, despite not seeing each other in what seems like forever. I don’t know if you have noticed from this article or from past things I’ve wrote, but I try to pull something from every experience, and this just taught me to appreciate every person that has contributed to my life and that even though you may not see or talk to a person on a regular basis, you can always pick up where you left off.
We get to the hotel, only to find out it’s nothing like a cheap Motel 6 on the side of the road, but a pretty nice lodge-like hotel just outside Seattle. We check in, settle into our room, and knock out for the night. Hours later, Amina and I indulge in the free breakfast and sneak some up for the other two who are still asleep. We check out in the afternoon and link up with Jessie and she takes us to Ezell’s for some chicken. It’s been years since I had seen her, so you can only imagine my excitement. Being the great host that she is, she takes us to this beautiful garden right by her house where we lounge and picnic and catch up. Afterwards, we go to Capitol Hill to window shop, grab coffee, and watch the Warriors game at the bar. It was getting late and Jessie had to leave, so we said thank you for being a great host and our goodbyes. After getting groceries, we stop by Alki Beach for one last look at Seattle and then off to Sasquatch we go…
Camping with some of your closest friends, witnessing live music, and experiencing some unforgettable times was well worth spending our money and time to go from California to Washington just to do that. Not to mention, that most of the performances happened in probably one of the most beautiful and breathtaking stages in the world, the Gorge. Highlights include seeing A$ap Rocky, Major Lazer, Baauer, Purity Ring, Sufjan Stevens, and Florence & The Machine. Definitely a more intimate and surprising performance was Leon Bridges whose performance was cancelled due to high winds. He pulled up in the golf cart thing, started playing his music, and then an amazing thing happened. People crowded around him, sat down, and quietly listened to him play the guitar and sing. Another crazy thing that happened was that during many of these performances, people were completely immersed in the experience, meaning that not too many phones were out considering there were thousands of people there. I’ve never seen that at a concert. One thing I’m grateful for is being put on to new music. I find myself stuck in one genre most of the time that I forget to keep an open mind about different types of music. Imagine 4 days of this craziness. I can’t even write about all of it. It’s really something you need to experience for yourself.
On Monday, the festival came to a close. We considered leaving right after, but crashed until 9am and left. It was a good decision, seeing as how we were all exhausted. We took our time driving back down, passing the rest of the Gorge, the river, and stopping only to see the Multnomah Waterfalls. It wasn’t my first time there, but I really wanted to experience the fresh, crisp air of the Pacific Northwest one last time before driving back down to California. After indulging, we head back on the road only to grab some lunch, then drive straight to Oakland. Vanessa and I move everything back into my car and head back down to San Diego.
All in all… I would say it was an unforgettable experience. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it changed me, but I definitely don’t feel the same. It’s kind of hard to explain. I feel a little more open minded. I feel a little more relaxed. I feel a little more grateful. I feel a little more in control after realizing what I can and can’t. You would just have to do it yourself and find out, much like other things in life worth doing.