After five weeks of travel in Europe, visiting old friends, and venturing to new places alone or with them, I’m back in Portland, and grateful to have such a beautiful hometown. I’m thankful for the strength and love of strangers and the safety of my many loved ones, particularly after recent terrorist attacks, one of those attacks by a white supremacist at my main transit center in Portland, and one on the London Bridge, in nearly the exact spot my friend and I were three weeks prior.
I have complicated feelings about travel, mostly related to climate change and privilege, and also nurse complicated feelings about my hometown and the environment it presents for people of color and other low-income communities with its unique brand of racism. Still, I am immensely thankful for my time visiting old friends and experiencing other cultures, and thankful to have returned to a city with my loved ones and my roots where I can smell the roses. So many roses.