It's that time: one year changing to the next, a time when most of us think about our choices thus far and decide to do some things a little differently in the future. New Year’s resolutions often look like trying a new diet, getting more exercise, or quitting a bad habit. But those are pretty general, and we think you should also think about including things that have a relationship to where you actually live.
For Pacific Northwesterners, we have some recommendations that will get you more in touch with this beautiful region of the world. These resolution ideas range from adventurous to highly practical. So, there’s something for every personality type. Whatever you choose from the list, we promise it will make your next year better.
Take a Road Trip to Places You’ve Never Seen
People always joke that they rarely enjoy the attractions in their own backyard, but it’s often true that we overlook what’s close by. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Northern California, this is a region of stunning extremes: the highest coastlines in the nation, a deep and voluminous river system, the nation’s tallest trees, the most glaciated peak in the lower forty-eight states, and the most active volcanoes. But how many of us have seen more than a handful of these highlights?
You can fix that this year, and what’s best: you can choose your PNW road trip based on just about any interest. You can focus on seeing cities and enjoying the stunning cuisine, art, and attractions they offer. You can go wine tasting in the Willamette or Yakima Valleys and tour a wide variety of vineyards while enjoying the view along the way. You can drive down the coast and marvel at the inspiring scenery. You can hike volcanoes, or you can visit jaw-dropping waterfalls, like Shoshone Falls in Idaho.
Almost anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.
Learn More About the Native Peoples of the Region
The Pacific Northwest is a multicultural region with a long history of Native American life right up through the modern day. More organizations and individuals are beginning to recognize that the land they are on originally belonged to one of many Native tribes, but few people go on to learn about those tribes in depth.
We’re lucky here in the PNW because so many tribes still live in the region with vibrant communities and traditions that continue to this day. Learn more by visiting museums and cultural centers, like the Burke Museum in Seattle, reading books and visiting sites.
Shop Local Produce
The Pacific Northwest has great local produce (even in the wild, where you can go mushroom hunting and berry picking). In the New Year, do some of your shopping at farmers’ markets to get in touch with what you can buy locally. When you shop at a farmer's market, you get to talk to the people who grow your food. You can learn how they farm and how they preserve their harvest for the winter. You can also ask about recipes, which is especially helpful if you are purchasing produce you’ve never tried before.
Support Local Businesses
There's no shortage of uniquely wonderful businesses in the PNW. You can find some of the best craftsmanship and most creative individuals here. As well as some of the hardest working people in the nation. Our local businesses work hard to bring you the amazing lifestyle that makes this region so great! So make sure to take some trips to those often overlooked little shops and say hi to some really cool people.
Spend More Time Outdoors
With so much to do around here, there's no reason to stay cooped up in the house. Even in the winter! Get outside and play in the snow. Sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, or whatever brings you joy. In the summer there's even more to love.
Resolve to do some camping. Even just one weekend of camping with some of your favorite people will make your summer more fun and memorable. If you're a water baby like me, then don't skip a moment that you can be at the lake or the ocean. Being around water, even just hearing it, will drown the stress right out of your life.
Bottom line, just get your butt outside and enjoy life!
PNW Pro Tip: Get a Light Therapy Lamp
The winter months can be difficult in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) to a greater or lesser degree. It's a form of depression that is triggered by the shorter days and longer nights of winter.
For many of us, we have been living with it so long that we don’t really realize how much it affects us. But one simple and straightforward treatment that can help is a light therapy lamp. These lamps mimic natural sunlight and provide a safe way to brighten your home during the dark winter months. Get one and feel yourself brighten up a bit even when it’s dark outside.
We at PNW Journey hope these ideas for some locally inspired resolutions bring you joy (and safety) in the New Year. Visit our shop for PNW-themed gear to share your local pride. Happy New Year!
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