We had planned a weekend in Portland weeks before we ended things. It was supposed to be a nice getaway that mutually combined our interests of food, hiking, and all things hip, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to that point. It was like a punch to the stomach when I saw you at the airport terminal. After weeks of closed communication, I wasn’t sure what I could say to you or if it would be genuine if I did. We had the typical awkward chat. A fraction of me was mad at you, another part disappointed, but in the majority, I missed you a lot.

The start to Portland sucked knowing you were there too. This was supposed to be our special weekend. Unlike you, I didn’t recruit a friend as a substitute, but the city was a welcoming place.

Portland was so lush and green. The air was fresh and crisp. And the people were nice, a bit weird, but definitely nice. I chatted with a number of locals to get a better feel for the city. Your travels are incomplete if you don’t engage with the people who live there. The free spirit, positivity, and open mindfulness provided me with some comfortable company.

The food also provided another satisfying layer. The cuisine is Portland is some of the best in the country, as the creativity and quality of the meals were on an escalated level. From Pine State Biscuits to Afuri Ramen to Expatriate, it was all so mouthwatering good, and I’m not the type to rave about food. Food carts are a genius idea that utilizes wasteful parking lots. We really need those in LA.

Drive 20 minutes east out of the city and you’ll find yourself in untapped and pure land. The sky stretches for the days and the trees overpower the roads below. Go past the tourist at Multnomah Falls and opt for the Horsetail Falls. The hikes in Oregon embarrass the ones we have in California because you actually feel like you’re in the wilderness.

I checked your Snapchat feed a few times and you were practically at the same places I visited.  I texted if you wanted to get a drink or dinner on the last evening. You turned me down.  What could’ve been? The magic of Portland could’ve made things different.


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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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