Yes, we all – mostly – miss our friends and family when we move away from Seattle. If you live here long enough though, you become entrenched in the city: its values, expectations, and opportunities. Leaving can feel like waving goodbye to a chunk of your soul. Specifically, these are things you miss the most.
Look West: Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Look East: Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. Look South: the majestic Mt. Rainier. Otherwise, you’re stuck with miles of grandiose evergreens and the beautiful city skyline – oh wait, those are gorgeous, too. That being said, if you somehow get tired of those views, you’re only a couple of hours from beach views of the Pacific Ocean, rainforest sights, and desert landscapes. If you’re even tired of seeing the U.S. everywhere you go, you’re only a couple of hours away from Canada.
Remember that one day in summer when everyone complained it was too hot? Apparently there are places that reach over 100 degrees, places that don’t cool off at night, and places with humidity. Seattleites don’t really know what hot is. Actually, Seattleites don’t know what cold is either. If you’re moving to a place that reaches negative degrees and receives more than a foot of snow every three years, have a local bring you shopping before winter hits. You won’t know what gear to buy if you go on your own.
There are a few things you’ll miss about the rain depending on where you move to. If you head to a dry region, you’ll miss its existence. If you’re somewhere with thunderstorms, you’ll miss the rain that was safe to play, walk, and run in. More than anything though, you’ll miss how people react to it. In some places, people don’t leave the house when it’s raining, but if they do, they use these things called “umbrellas”. Gone are the people unfazed by sky water, who don rainboots, pull up their hood, and shake off the excess water upon arrival. Wherever you go (most likely) people will try to avoid it by waiting it out or canceling plans. You’ll have to get used to a culture where, unlike Seattle, rain is just not a way of life. Oh, and apparently no one else in the entire world knows how to drive in rain.
Pedestrian- and Bicycle-Friendly
Wherever you go, watch how others cross the street first before attempting it yourself. Apparently, vehicles that stop for pedestrians who so much as glance at the sidewalk is Seattle-specific. Bike lanes and drivers who look out for cyclists aren’t as common, especially outside the Pacific Northwest. Following the rules of crosswalks – waiting for the walk signal before crossing or carrying across the orange flag – is weird elsewhere. So get your head out of your phone because ain’t nobody looking out for you, you flannel-wearing hippie.
Speaking of flannel, fashion expectations change a lot once you leave the Evergreen State. Different from our non-conformist, grunge roots that value comfort in our cold, grey region over style, other places may expect you to dress up. No, that doesn’t mean jeans and your best flannel. What other places consider business-casual, is practically formal-attire in Seattle. Plus, the rest of the world views flannel as that fad from the 90s. Don’t worry: everyone will be begging for access to your closet come the next throwback party.
Can you believe there are still states and countries in which marijuana is illegal? I know, you can’t, but you need to if you want to avoid anything from a ticket to jail time. Wherever you go, make sure you learn about the weed laws as most places aren’t as chill as Seattle.
Here’s the deal: $15 per hour is NOT common. In fact, it is more than twice the federal minimum wage. Say goodbye to a guaranteed livable income unless you’re moving for a job with a locked down income. And tip more. A lot of people outside Seattle live off tips.
Pike Place Market
The Seattle Art Museum can possibly be outdone and some cities have attractions even more famous than the Space Needle (like… the Great Wall of China), but no one – I repeat, NO ONE – can replace Pike Place Market. Wherever you end up might have farmer’s markets or even French cheese sold by a soothing river in Paris, but Pike Place Market is better. Local seafood, artisans, flowers, bakers, and hum bao. Seattle souvenirs, Rachel the Pig, fish throwing, and views of the Olympics across Elliott Bay. Nice try, Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
Not. Even. Close.
This one will be hard to swallow. Literally. Not only do other places in the world not have a devout culture of coffee shops as gathering areas to work, relax, and read, but some places rely on the likes of Starbucks, or worse, Dunkin’ Donuts. No independent roasters with in-depth knowledge of each of their bean types, sources, and difference in flavor. Cute, local coffee places, unlike in Seattle, can be few and far between. In fact, you may want to just buy your own espresso machine.
Incredible food spots exist all around the world, but few cities have such a varied ethnic food range. From Vietnamese to French to Indian, Seattle has great, quality, authentic options. You won’t miss it too much if you go to New York or Vietnam, France, and India, but anywhere else will have you daydreaming about lunch back home. Then there’s the seafood and apples. Unless you move to another coastal city, just give up on all seafood. It’ll be less disappointing. As far as apples, those grown elsewhere are literally half the size of ours. They’re so cute! To look at. Don’t eat it. Go to the store and buy apples flown in from Washington unless you want to cry. Screw eating local – the quality of your apples is at stake.
There are strange places in the world in which you cannot find a desert, an ocean, volcanoes, major cities, and rainforest all within a number of hours from each other. If you’re leaving Seattle, you’re likely leaving that proximity to ecological diversity. Be prepared to travel further than you’re used to for comparable hiking, skiing, and surfing.
Sure, trying new craft beers can be fun. Eventually though, you’ll start to miss Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay and the Pike Brewing Company’s Space Needle Golden IPA. You’ll miss the endless hard cider options that you got used to in the gluten-free, apple haven that is Seattle. Part of you will want to drink more to forget what you’re missing and another part won’t want another sip. To drink or not to drink? That will be your question.
Did you know there are still places in the world that don’t recycle? Some cities practically ignore the benefit of public transportation, don’t eat locally, haven’t so much as considered implementing green practices into their buildings, and don’t require testing on vehicle emissions. Some places even – brace yourselves – still regularly use plastic bags and styrofoam. I know, I know. Take a deep breath. Just do what you can and ignore the judgement when you provide your own reusable bags at the grocery store.