Back In Our “Happy Place” – Brookings, OR
“Oh Oregon, my Oregon, how I have missed thee…”
Those were the very first words I wrote on Instagram as we crossed the State Line. We both high-fived each other and breathed a huge sigh of relief. It had been a FAST drive North (at least by our standards), with two long days of driving and only a single over night stop (at the Eureka Elks Lodge #652). We’d zoomed through all of the Northern CA coast (apart from Fort Bragg, of course), so we undoubtedly missed a ton of stuff, but we were finally HERE!
I can’t exactly describe why we feel the way we do about Oregon, but we just do. Whenever we’re here it feels like wrapping ourselves in an old blanket. It’s cozy, well-worn and it fits us so perfectly well. It feels comforting. It feels like coming home.
For the next ~100 miles or so we’ll have nothing but wild-open coastline which is all OURS -> 100% public and 100% paw-friendly (the Oregon Beach Bill was iconic stuff, I tell you). These are all familiar roads to us, so we know many of curves and most of the beaches, but we also know that, like all of the Oregon Coast, they can never be completely captured. It’s just too raw and untamed out here, and that’s precisely what we love about it.
Of course not everyone feels the way we do about this place (if they did, the entire country would be RVing here!). I am fully conscious of the fact that we wear rose-colored glasses whenever we’re in Oregon, and honestly we never bother questioning them or taking them off. It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon which, intellectually, I completely understand. Your emotions are intricately tied to the experiences you’ve had in a place, and your mind can create beautiful things out of experiences and places (even people) that others “see” completely differently. Also, once you’ve seen something in a certain way, it’s hard to see it any other way.
If you’re a photographer you know exactly what I’m talking about. Take 10 photographers to the same place (at the same time) and you’ll get 100 completely different shots. This is not because the place presents itself differently to each person. In fact the physical and visual experience is very likely exactly the same. It’s simply because each photographer “sees” the place differently. One person might notice the way the ocean waves curl against the evening light, while another will be fascinated with the shells on the sand. And then there will always be a sub-set of folks who won’t see a single picture worth taking at all.
Some people would call these differences creative talent, but in my mind the “creative eye” is really nothing much more observing what’s in front of you and learning to see it in different ways. A small part of that may be inherent in a person, sure, but I believe the vast majority of it is something that can totally be learned, by anyone and everyone.
As someone who suffered many years of serious depression in my younger years, I’m perhaps even more acutely aware of this phenomenon than others. Your mind can be both an amazing and a terrible thing, either driving you to succeed feats beyond your wildest dreams, or throwing you into a blackness so deep it seems impenetrable. If you have a tendency towards the latter it’s a tough thing to live with. In my case it took years of mind-training (and therapy, and nutritional experimentation) to change the way I think and minimize that dark creature that inhabits my inner core.
But my depression was also deeply transformative.
Through that whole process I learned the importance of deliberate positive thinking and, just like exercising your body to keep it fit, it’s something I practice each and every day for the fitness of my own mind. The science side of me knows I’m creating new neural pathways and and (even) changing my body’s chemical make-up when I do this. The emotional side of me just knows that when I’m in nature I feel good, and subsequently I see things differently. What feeds the soul, feeds the mind, and when I’m in places I love I always see something interesting to photograph, no matter what the weather or circumstance.
Whoah….I’m getting kinda deep here, aren’t I? Sometimes my blog posts go off on totally random tangents that I don’t expect (at all) once I start writing (which is a whole other blog post in and of itself)!
All that to say that when we’ve gotten to our “happy place” and we’re not ashamed to admit it. We really have ZERO agenda for our next 2 weeks on the Oregon Coast. We’ve been here many times before and we’ve visited just about every touristy thing there is to see, so this time around we’re simply coming to veg-out. Basically we just plan to immerse ourselves in the nature we love so much, soaking in every frikkin’ minute we can before Paul flies home and we have to dive back into the practical details of life.
This also means you won’t be getting any “must see” info or lists on the blog for a little while. I’ll include related links to each place we visit at the bottom of my blog posts (including where we’ve parked), but I’ll not be writing my usual in-depth visitor guide. Instead you’ll simply be getting shots of my beloved Oregon Coast as I view this place through my photographic eye. Also you’ll very likely be loaded with a few more deep, philosophical rambles as I get swept away by the place I love so much.
This is nature-therapy to me, and since I’m the kind of the person who can only write what I experience as I experience it, that’s what I’ve got to express on the blog. Hopefully I’ll sweep you along with me, and you’ll get to see things a little differently too.
P.S. Although I’m taking a kind of break from my typical blog-writing, we will be a doing a few more videos over the next few weeks, including a few more campground reviews and maybe some other stuff. The last video we did on driving curvy roads clearly generated a lot of interest, so we have a few more ideas for follow-on from that.
Brookings-Related Blog Posts:
- Where to Stay -> Our top choice is Harris Beach State Park. See my full review HERE.
- Day-Trip #1 -> Lounging In The Banana Belt! Brookings, OR
- Day-Trip #2 -> A Walk Amongst Lighthouses & Giants – Crescent City, CA
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