Like many of you, I live with one foot in one place and another elsewhere. What I mean is this, I live in and love the city and yet at the same time I long for adventure in the wilderness. This is not simply about escapism. Quite the opposite. I love the city. I live in the heart of the city. Most days of the week find me with on my commuter bike or road (gravel) bike in the city, walking in the city, taking public transit in the city, or even, yes, riding my scooter in the city (not a pretty sight).
I don't need an escape from the city. I'm at home in the city. The bigger the city the better. And yet I identify as a mountain biker. The only tattoo on my body is a mountain bike wheel (26er mind you). In my daily life in Portland every now and then I catch a glimpse of the glaciated peak of Mt Hood and I'm swept away. I imagine I'm on the T2T trail from Timberline Lodge down to Government Camp and then on farther down to Rhododendron to get my car. However, as soon as I lose sight of Mt Hood I'm swept back into the here and now in urban Portland.
But I don't mind.
Life is too short to always wish I was somewhere else doing something else. For a long time I've lived with this urban-wilderness tension and geographic divide as if I needed to make a choice. One or the other. Blue pill or red pill. But why do I have to choose? Why does it have to be one instead of the other? Can't I have my cake and eat it too?
Yes. The answer is yes.
At this point there are a lot of different directions I could take this conversation. We could look at conservation and environmental stewardship by noting that the most low-impact thing we can do is actually live in cities. We could look at economics and global urbanization by noting that the human species is now officially an urban species. However, that doesn't get to the heart of it.
Most of us live in cities of varying size of scope. From Portland to LA to Mexico City to Santiago to London to Berlin to Johannesburg to Sydney to Taipei and every place in between. We do so because of jobs and careers (while for other because of a love for the city). Some live in the heart of the city while others on the suburban periphery. Our weekly rhythms find us bridging this geographic divide between city and wilderness. The good news is that we don't have to choose one or the other. We can have both and be at home in both.
Red pill or blue pill? How about take them both?
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photo by Lonography.