Okay, I can admit it: my propensity for talking about the pace of the PNW might have something to do with the four years I spent in Southern California, three of which were lived on a street with a 50-mph speed limit. If that’s not the literal opposite of a slow pace, I don’t know what is. The whole area was big, fast, and bright, and while it had lots of redeeming qualities that I do miss, it was never as cozy and relaxed as I find the PNW to be.
Even the biggest cities in the region, with the tallest buildings and most infuriating traffic jams, still take cues from the surrounding trees and mountains. Even when we’re stressed and frustrated, a warm coffee shop or a winding trail is never too far away. If you bump into someone on the street, it’s likely to result in a smile and an “excuse me,” instead of an angry glare, because that 0.4 second delay is not going to affect either of your days beyond the time it takes to straighten your jacket. Things are just slightly more mellow here.
To be fair, the cities are going to feel inherently different than the small towns. I’m not trying to equate Seattle to Leavenworth, or Portland to Ashland, or Boise to Ketchum. That said, I can’t recall ever having been somewhere in the PNW where I didn’t feel like it was safe to slow down and enjoy the moment in some capacity. I’ll take it. -Dena