Tosin’s Images & Anecdotes (TIAA) is my self-assigned photography challenge of 2022. The immediate objective is to select one image from my inventory (a cityscape, landscape, portrait, oddity, etc.) each week and write something about it. This “something” could be the story behind the photo, a triggered memory in relation to the photo, or simply a reaction or reflection based on the subject matter featured. The long-term objective is to encourage myself to add more content to “La Vue Atypique”, which celebrates its first decade in publication this year.
What can I say about the photograph above?
The feature photo for this week’s challenge was captured exactly eight years from the time I started writing this article. Back then, I had a very different photography challenge — Project 2014:365. That mission involved capturing a photo every single day, from January 1st to December 31st, with any camera I had near me.
The photo above was captured in the SoDo (“South Downtown”) warehouse district of Seattle. I remember my fascination with the parallel set of three railroad tracks leading towards the downtown skyline along the horizon. To add a human element for interest, I inserted myself in the middle of the scene.
Just like today in 2022, that day in July years ago was very warm, but not exceedingly hot as, unfortunately, we now see in many regions across the United States, in addition to several other countries that typically don’t endure excessively sweltering temperatures in summer. This particular difference makes me feel very grateful to live in this part of the world, which brings me to the point I would like to express.
For the first two-thirds of my life, I moved around a lot. I relocated so many times that I thought “perpetual relocation” would be my reality forever. I would live in one city for two to three years, then relocate to another city for two or three years, and continue to repeat the pattern ad infinitum. In addition to all the travel and exploring I have always loved (and still love) to do since childhood, I always figured I would be a global nomad. Nowhere would ever really be home. Every city in which I had a mailing address was just a home base — never a home.
Unbeknownst to me in March 2007, I would relocate to a part of the world without the realization that I would remain there to this day. At times, I still can’t believe that I’ve lived here this long. If you had asked me if I envisioned living in Seattle for more than three years back in 2007, I would have shaken my head in denial and readily predicted where I would live next. (I did think, at one point, that a chapter of my life would be in Honolulu).
My parents divorced when I was a child, so I lived between them while growing up, and they both moved around quite a bit. I didn’t mind it, truthfully. I loved seeing different places. So much transition and displacement felt so customary that, from a very young age, I assumed they would be my way of life forever.
That way of life has seen me live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Norway (yes, as in the monarchy located in Scandinavia), Minnesota, New Jersey, Colorado, and Washington State — roughly in that order (if I ignore that I’ve lived in some of the listed states more than once).
It’s been a fascinating ride through residences.
However, after living in Seattle for more than 15 years, I have realized that this place has actually been my home, not my home base. The last one-third of my life has been lived in Seattle. The only runners up are Stavanger, Norway (4 years, 5 months) and Minneapolis (4 years, 4 months). Everywhere else has been three years or less.
At the current stage of my life, the thought of physically relocating again mentally drains me.
Also, I cannot imagine where (in America) that I would prefer to live today for dozens of reasons ranging from professional and personal to political and practical. When my sister, who was born in Norway, first visited me in the Emerald City in 2009, she made the following observation: “I think you love Seattle. You like living here because it resembles Stavanger. This area reminds you of Norway.” Back then, I couldn’t quite see it, but over the years, I definitely agree. Seattle and the Puget Sound region are like a futuristic version of Stavanger to me, both urban areas surrounded and adorned by water, mountains, and boundless nature — and I love it all.
The only city that I would jump at the chance to relocate to is Vancouver. The irony is that it is so close to Seattle, I may as well remain in Seattle until such an opportunity ever occurs.
As much as I still enjoy travel and wish to travel a lot more, I don’t think I’m a nomad (by definition) anymore.
Seattle is my home and where I roam most these days.
29 articles down for the TIAA challenge. 23 remain!