Learning to Slow Down in Portland


“We are always getting ready to live but never living.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m sitting at a coffee shop on the outskirts of Portland. It’s sunny and I’m on my way to Coos Bay, Oregon.

Oh Portland! 🙂 Such a great place. From the moment I crossed the bridge into downtown, I felt the energy hit me like a great wave. It felt so good!

It’s funny how certain places have different vibes. For example, Venice Beach. When I arrive in Venice I get a vibe like no other. The sun, the beach, the ocean, the beach cruisers, surfers, board shorts and sandals. There is a energy in the air that reaches my soul and makes me feel SO good.


The changing leaves in Portland

Portland has that kind of power. There is just something in the air, an energy, about the city that just screams. The people on the street walking in the rain, the countless bicyclers that cruise around swifter than the traffic around them. The seemingly endless supply of handle bar mustaches, coffee shops, brew pubs, and food trucks.


Pretty much outside of any restaurant there are bicycle parking stations. My kind of town!!

As soon as I got into town, I met up with a friend, Megan. I met Megan a few months ago while on a business trip down to Portland and ended up randomly doing a half marathon with her called Fueled by Wine.

So we met up and went to this amazing sushi restaurant called Bamboo Sushi.


Bambo Sushi – Multiple locations but we went to the Southeast location. Beautiful little part of town.

After dinner we went back to Megan’s house. We walked in and what is the first thing I see? ….


Oh yes!! A Ping Pong Table!!! In the flippin living room 🙂

Needless to say we spent the next two hours playing ping pong and chatting about what’s going on in our lives.


First thing AM I headed over to one of my favorite coffee shops in Portland. Stumptown coffee in the Pearl District downtown. I arrived around 9am and was meeting a friend around 11:15.

As I sat there I started thinking about all kinds of different things that I wanted to get done and “needed” to get done. After a 4 shot Americano, my buddy Matt arrived so I put up my distractions gadgets.

I met Matt a few weeks ago at the Seattle Living Room Concert Series, (http://www.seattlelivingroomshows.com/) where he was playing that night. Matt has great energy and is incredible passionate about what he does. As we spoke about life, travel, girls, our passions and what we’re working towards, the time just eased on by.

A major common theme that we both recognize is that we want to slow down, participate in the present and live our lives on our own terms. What that means to me is trying to come to terms with what’s important to me and embracing it, growing in it and letting it work for me.

We left Stumptown coffee after 2 Americanos and almost 3 hours and went our separate ways.



I started to walk around the city to find a place to sit down and do some writing, photo editing and such and I started to think about how I really am going to have trouble with “slowing down”. In the extremely fast paced life of having a corporate job and living in a GO GO GO environment, I think the first thing that I’m going to need to learn is  to SLOW DOWN. Be present in my current surroundings. Think less about the past and future and put more focus on the present.

It’s such a tough thing to do. I think I’m going to need to start meditating or something because as of right now…my flippin mind doesn’t seem to want to slow down for a minute.



Icebreaker Touch Lab Retail Store. – If you don’t know about Icebreaker, I highly, highly recommend checking it out. Icebreaker.com


As I walked through the city…I walked past Rogue Brewing Company. I decided to stop in 🙂 As I walked into the bar, I still wasn’t sure that I would stay but then I met Ginny.


So friendly and just had a nice energy about her that I decided to stay. Within a few minutes we were making jokes as if we were long lost friends. As we chatted, two ladies from Vancouver sat at the bar. They are on a 2 month roadtrip along the west coast. So they added some awesome stories and perspective to the conversation.


After a few more minutes a group of 10 guys, who all work at Boeing, came in after visiting 4 other breweries. They were hilarious!


One of the guys, Nick, is turning 30 this Sunday, has been married about a year and is about to have a baby girl. It was interesting to have a conversation with a guy that is so close to the same age as I am, yet we couldn’t be in more different places in our lives.



Before I left Rogue, I got a recommendation on where to go to get some food. Ginny suggested Cassidy’s for HH. So I took off to find it.


Just walking about downtown.


I saw this super cool store front and decided to take a photo. Not realizing how it would turn out.


Just exploring the city 🙂


Food trucks!

It’s now Wednesday morning and I’m sitting at a cafe on my way out of town. Next stop on the very loose itinerary is Coos Bay Oregon. I now have 5 days, more or less, to get down to San Fran. It’s a beautiful, sunny day today. So I couldn’t be more stoked.

This is the third day into learning to live the way I want and I’m feeling goooooooooood 🙂


How do you feel about living in the present? Are you able to do it day to day? Do you struggle with it? Any tips?

With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.  I live now.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.  ~Michael Cibenko

There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday.  ~Robert Nathan, So Love Returns

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.  ~Jan Glidewell

7 responses to “Learning to Slow Down in Portland

  1. The questions asked: How do you feel about living in the present? Are you able to do it day to day? Do you struggle with it? Any tips?

    A: I feel OK about living in the present. Some days I am satisfied, others I am not. I find myself thinking how amazing it would be to go to the airport with nothing but my passport, and just pick a flight in the moment. How scary and thrilling it would be! Then again, there is something so comfortable about my “boring” life that I do not act, and push it off to the future I have in mind. I guess that answers the struggle. As far as any tips- I find it easy to be lazy so I will try to give you some 🙂 I have been told that I am an obervant person- I believe this is because I live more slowly than higher energy people- it’s just how I am naturally. So for you, a more energetic person, it must be practiced. Observe everything. Make a fun mental list A-Z of what you want to see throughout the day that will make you smile and laugh- things will pop up that you may not have noticed before. Dont worry about slowing down too much though, I am sure you will have countless amazing experiences no matter what! Good luck!

    • Thanks for the reply Kristen. Good suggestions. Yes, simply just taking the time to observe your surroundings is definitely a great start. I drove from Portland to Bandon Oregon today. In a tiny little pub called the Arcade Tavern right now. It’s 4 o’clock and there is absolutely nothing going on in Bandon. Other than the couple dancing to classic rock playing from the internet jukebox…oh no she just took her jacket off and grabbed his ass. Yikes. Going to be an interesting night 🙂
      There are people playing darts, some sitting at the bar and others sitting around a table chatting. It’s a local dive bar!

      Did I mention they are selling IPAs for $2.50? oh yea baby!

  2. Well, if anything, l am sure an adventurous memory could be made with that couple if you were so inclined.

    • Yikes! I’ll pass. I did just have a crazy conversation with a guy that works as a caddie here. Apparently about 5 miles from here there is one of the top ranked golf courses in the country. He said they have like 300 caddies here during the summer and then they all take off to warmer climates. He said “they go where the free golf and good weather is”. This guy has an undergraduate and masters in english. He said people ask him “why he doesn’t get a real job” he said “why in the hell would I” haha! I love it!

  3. Awesome Brandon! Just love hearing your voice as I read. You’re doing it! Your camera is already helping you slow down! I love that pic you took into the store window. Think less, let the “in between” moments go unfilled, and Just Be! Living vicariously through you

    • Thanks Steve!
      Yes, the camera is definitely helping me observe more.
      I agree, “think less” and enjoy living. It’s really not that easy to do though. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
      But wow…even while in the Redwood national forest, in complete silence, I’m thinking about the next town I’ll be visiting. ayayay!

      10 days down 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s