Monday, July 1, 2019

Oregon Coast: The Frightening and Freeing Power of Just Saying Yes

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Newport, OR

Lance called me from the bar at the water's edge. He'd taken the dog for a short walk along the marina in Newport OR, but of course his real agenda was to eyeball the boats; there are some Tayanas here in various stages of disrepair.

When they were on their way back to the car the dog took a hard right turn at the Rogue Distillery and practically dragged him in, drank deep from a bowl of water and flopped down on the cool concrete making it clear she was staying for a while. The chemist behind the bar is a true-blue animal lover who worked with sea otters at the aquarium in Atlanta, and now splits her time between working for Rogue and working with the birds at the local aquarium; when the conversation turned to training sea otters Lance called me to join them. We had so many sea otter encounters in Monterey Bay from our years of teaching scuba in California. The stories flowed freely.

Look what I found for a spare. Overkill?

A short while later another couple came in and joined the conversation. This beach town is their favorite weekend getaway and they've been coming here for years, with all that local knowledge they had some definite opinions on the meals and sights not to miss.

Before long the conversation turned to dinner and out of the blue the wife invited us to join them at their favorite swanky spot on the beach. The husband's face drained of all color and I felt Lance stiffen beside me, but I chose to ignore both men and accepted her invitation anyways.

We showed up at the agreed-upon time, had a fabulous meal and made some interesting new friends. The hours between the distillery and the restaurant though... the discussions went from "what if they're into something weird" to "let's just cancel". In the end we decided that we could always simply flee at the first sign of any conversation involving timeshares, Amway, or cult religion.

Sunset in Brookings OR

Which brings me to one of the most commonly asked questions about our lifestyle "aren't you afraid?" often followed by "aren't you lonely?" Seriously, people ask us this all the time. Contrary to what the news would have us believe, we've found that people are basically good. We've found that when we are open and friendly that energy comes back to us in equal or greater amounts. We've made lifelong friends by just saying yes to casual invites like this as we move around the country.

Oregon is so quirky
That doesn't mean we don't occasionally feel the need to lock all the basement doors, stay within sight of the bus when walking the dog, and wrestle Stewie to stay inside here and there when we get a case of the heebie-jeebies, and we listen to that intuition when either of us feels it. That's just being vigilant and responding appropriately to our surroundings.

And there are definitely some conversations we avoid or redirect when we know our values are different from the locals'.

However, when I look back on the places we've visited in the last almost two years of full-timing, the places where we've felt unwelcome are very few, and in every case in those places WE didn't make an effort to get out and be friendly because of bad weather, mechanical or medical issues we were dealing with internally. Our attitude in those moments was most definitely a contributing factor.

So here's our tip for making friends on the fly: just say yes. You  might find yourself kayaking along a beautiful river, telling stories over dinner, learning a new favorite cocktail recipe, sharing a fabulous sunset together, flying in the neighbor's plane, screaming your way through a scary Halloween maze, cheering on a game with some true fans, or grooving to the local music scene. Just say yes and go.

The Elks Lodge in Florence is right in town, within walking distance of shops and restaurants


  1. Adore that Lanced called you so you could join in the story swap about sea otters ❤️

  2. Me too. Still think about my favorite Monterey sea otter now and then and wonder whose dive class he is terrorizing nowadays

  3. Saying Yes can lead into many different directions. always an adventure.

  4. Yes well we may wind up in pieces in some weirdo's suitcase but it will make a great story for someone somewhere.