Travels in Indian Country: My second plane ride and my first ocean visit

Recently, I got an unexpected email invitation to join two client site visits, traveling through Oregon and California. I practically said yes before I finished reading the message. I’ve only been on a plane once before, but somehow I already had a love for traveling.  

My colleague, Senior Architect Lauren Dahl, would be my tour guide while I was set to help with writing notes, getting measurements, changing the radio station, and being an overall good passenger for our adventure. When we touched down and hit the long, windy road enclosed by trees and beautiful rivers and mountains, that focus flew right out of the window.

I’m a self-proclaimed Steve Irwin fanboy, so the natural landscape of the road alone was more than enough to make me giddy, but there was so much more life had to offer on this trip.

First, I met amazing people while I was there, including two diligent tribal boards. Learning about their cultures resonated with me in a way that I couldn’t possibly explain. I even found myself trying to learn the Tolowa Dee-ni’ language, which was an adventure itself. I never knew Indigenous languages were so engaging!

As we drove between meetings, the trees were getting bigger by the mile, and the road more perilous as we trekked deeper into the state of California. We stopped and took photos every 15 minutes or so. Wait, did that sign say “Big Cat” sanctuary? Why, yes it did, but it was closed, so I sadly couldn’t get a picture with a tiger like I wanted. 🙁

Nature was open, however, and that’s all that counts. I got to go to a beach and see the ocean for the first time; I befriended a herd of elk, was told stories of bear encounters, and so much more.

I had a wonderful time during these site visits! From the nature to the people, I feel like this experience is something people wait a lifetime for, and Travois blessed me with it (provided I work and not just take photos the whole time).

The world is such a big place. We often overlook the small things like the way the trees wave in the wind or how nature sounds with no distractions. Going somewhere with no cell service and only mountains and trees to guide me was the perfect escape, and I can’t wait to go back.

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