Making Space: An Off-The-Grid Oregon Coast Adventure at the Japanese Forest House
We entered the beginning of the New Year on the streets of Chiang Mai. With paper lanterns floating into the sky, gridlock traffic surrounding the moat, and super cheap whiskey + cokes, we rang in New Year's Eve in a totally unforgettable way.
Once I got back from Thailand + Australia, I realized that Jeremy and I hadn't gone on any solo adventures together in a long time.
Traveling with kids is fun: It opens your eyes to totally different things, yet it also requires holding back a bit. There's no staying up, or out, late. There are always hungry mouths to feed or mouths complaining about how hot they are, how bored they are, and / or how much their feet hurt. There is a constant reminder that you are not alone or able to make decisions on a whim without first thinking about the kid.
So we decided to take a mini adventure to the coast for a weekend. Avi is with us every weekend and we bring her on all the adventures, so having a weekend to ourselves was really special.
The japanese forest House
I decided to book an Airbnb on the Oregon Coast. I didn't know where, but I knew what general area I wanted to go. As I searched through the map, I wasn't finding anything worth the prices. For me, traveling is just as much about the place as it is about the experience of wherever you stay.
Then, I came across the Japanese Forest House.
As part of a sustainable farm and B&B, North Folk 53, the Japanese Forest House sits just off Route 53 in Nehalem, Oregon. If you Google Japanese Forest House, you'll see it's been covered in the press quite a bit.
The whole house was constructed from reclaimed wood within a 10 mile radius. Not only that, but the House is fully hydro powered in the winter (hello Pacific Northwest winters!) and solar powered in the summer.
This means the house requires you to keep it warm. There's no switching on the heat. Instead, there is a small wood stove to heat the space. A small sink sits to the right of the front door, where you can prepare some hot cocoa, tea, or coffee, both of which were extremely welcome on the chilly, rainy night we stayed.
In a space like this, you are much more conscious about the energy you're using, too: It is a gorgeous getaway from mostly modern living.
Because no trip to the coast is complete without it, we also stopped in Cannon Beach.
I love checking out if the tide's gone out to reveal the crevices and tide pools in front of Haystack Rock. This time, the tide was in. On our way out from the beach, we took a little detour through the vacation homes and found some freshly bloomed dandelions. You'd also be amazed to know about the white, brown, and black rabbits that call the Oregon Coast home, too. They are everywhere!
As we drove south on Highway 101 towards Manzanita, we came across a footpath to the edge of the cliff. With no kid complaints, we were able to pull over spontaneously and go on a hike, not knowing how strenuous it may be. It ended up being quite an easy path, yet muddy, and we made it to the end. The sun was still high enough in the sky and the view was never ending. Looking down, we could see waves swishing against the rocks.
Since we were off the grid, there was no wifi and no cell service. Since I spent most of my time staring a computer screen, this was a welcomed rest for my eyes. As I sat on the imported straw seating area, I dreamed up our first summer garden. I brought a bag full of books on gardening I checked out from the library to try and decide what to grow and when to start growing.
What I also dreamed up in that space was my latest project, lagom body co. It seems so simple to move in the direction you love when you just make space. We are so busy and distracted, that it's imperative that we clear the calendar for us and our ideas. Sometimes all you need is to break away into nature alone...
While I read and brainstormed, Jeremy tended to the fire. I liked to call it his "baby" because he was so attentive to it. There is something inherently pleasing about stoking a fire: Perhaps because our ancestors had to do it? It is mesmerizing, yet not something most of us have to do anymore.
In the evening, we watched a movie (we can't fully get away from technology) while resting in a giant bed under a heavy, down blanket.
The night was clear, so the moon shone through the window onto our faces.
In the morning, we woke to an overcast sky, threatening on the edge of rain. We dressed and walked across the street to the B&B for breakfast. Accommodating our diet, we were made a delicious, farm-fresh vegan breakfast with polenta, avocado, and fresh coffee. Mmm...
It started pouring down rain and I stepped onto the back deck to watch the river behind the B&B roar. The rain is something you can never get away from in the Pacific Northwest, so we've come to embrace it... To some extent.
After a warming, delicious breakfast, we ran back to the Japanese Forest House across the street, packed up, and said goodbye to a much needed break on the Oregon coast.
Sometimes you have to make space.
Sometimes you have to fight for it.
For me, making intentional space to cultivate more of what I want in life is crucial for my well-being and the well-being of my relationships, too, and this quick trip off the grid inspired more than I expected.
Making space is magic like that.