Seattle, Tempe, and Me: A Torrid Love Triangle

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Well, it’s about that time. At ASU, the students have moved in and football season is imminent. Tempe Leadership’s new class reports in less than three weeks. My besties are texting to ask when I’ll be home.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, it hasn’t started raining yet but the mornings are getting chillier and chillier.

And, yet, I have zero motivation to pack up my Subaru and meander south for winter. I’m having a great time – from Shakespeare, music, and movies in Seattle’s parks to amazing camping on the rivers of the Cascade Mountains and the beaches of Olympic National Park.

Still, winter is coming which leaves me in a quandary. I’m in love with this damn place. I’m also in love with my home.

As I imagine may occur with a torrid love triangle, the relationship can get a bit complicated – and perhaps never so much so as this summer.

How Seattle Became My Side Piece

I fell in love with Seattle during my first visit back in 2011. I was so enamored that on the final day of my trip, I asked my cousin back home how much she thought I could rent my house for.

Seattle seemed to offer a life that I couldn’t have in Tempe.

I didn’t follow through. Bulbstorm was at its peak and I wasn’t ready to give up on what we were building.

When I returned on my first Meander in 2013, the city once again greeted me with open arms.

Alas, I’d never been outside Maricopa County for more than 11 consecutive days. By the time I had arrived in Seattle, I had been on the road for two months. By the time I’d hit my 100th day, I was restless in Seattle and ready to get home.

I returned in 2014 with my heart open to making Seattle home. I even rented an apartment. When my grandfather went on hospice in mid-September, I knew it was time once again to return to Tempe.

How I Rekindled My Flame for Tempe

After my initial tryst with Seattle in 2011, my counselor gave me some awesome advice. If I think there’s a certain life I’d have in Seattle, start building a similar life in Tempe now in case I never actually move.

The Eclipse reached 98 percent totality at Olympic National Park.

Over the next few years, I joined Tempe Leadership, co-founded PHX Startup Week, helped scale #yesphx, and joined the Humane Society’s Arizona leadership team. I worked to find ‘Zonies who wanted to camp, or see live music, or play board games. I invested in key relationships and organized movie clubs, house parties, and cabin trips.

On my Meanders in 2014 and 2015, it never occurred to me to settle down in Seattle. They were just short flings with an old lover. I was committed to building my relationship with home.

This year was different. With my relationship with Tempe rekindled, I once again opened my heart to Seattle. I arrived in early July and rented an apartment through mid-September.

It’s felt great to be back in the arms of my lost love … even if it’s meant cheating on Tempe.

Two Cities at the Same Time, Man

But, yeah, winter. A few weeks ago, I booked a flight home to attend to time-sensitive business before returning to Seattle to begin a slow Meander south.

When I looked at my atlas, though, I wasn’t inspired. I could push past 80 National Park Service units with a swing through Idaho. I could do a more remote park like Great Basin in Nevada. Nothing got me excited.

Eventually, I decided against the back-and-forth flights and slower Meander south. I leave Seattle on Saturday. I should be in Tempe within a week.

It’s not that I don’t want to go home. I just don’t want to drive there. I don’t have wanderlust. I don’t want to be everywhere. I just want to be with Seattle … and with Tempe … basically at the same time.

When asked what he would do if he had a million dollars, Office Space’s Lawrence replied: “I’ll tell you what I’d do, man. Two chicks at the same time, man.”

Well, I don’t have a million dollars. Fortunately, I don’t need that much.

Maybe I’m not cheating on Tempe or on Seattle. Maybe they’re both just a little freaky like me. Maybe I just need to make them an offer.

I don’t know the exact pronunciation but I believe it’s: Ménage à trois.

Think they’d be into it?

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  1. Another solid post!!!! I’m Matt Meandering up the West Coast right now. Will be back in early-Oct and we need to catch up.

  2. Plenty of people are multi-locational – why not you? Winter in Phoenix, Summer in Seattle, add a third place even, it’s all good. These aren’t women after all (thank god!) they are cities. Something tells me Tempe isn’t going to break out her crazy if you spend a few months a year with Seattle.

    I’m aspiring to dual- (or multi-) locational living myself and not waiting for “retirement” to make it a reality. Admittedly the “how” can be a bit tricky, but when you’re flying solo, totally do-able.

  3. After my first full summer in Phoenix, I have to say being a snowbird is something I aspire to become. You’re able to work remotely, you’ve built 2 communities… Why not have 2 homes? You’ll appreciate each place more when you’re ready to return to it.

    Also, Jake is really excited to play the National Parks game. Does this mean we’re your board game friends?

    Safe travels, see you in October!

    • Matt Meanders says

      LOL. You are my board game friends and my Shakespeare friends. If only I could get y’all to adventure with me. 😛

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