Photo: Kristin Gillespie

My Home, Seattle

Alexander Liberman's 'Olympic Iliad' sculpture

My first “Seattle” photo atop Alexander Liberman’s ‘Olympic Iliad’ sculpture. Find it for yourself at Seattle Center under the Space Needle. Photo: Kristin Gillespie

“You are so Seattle.”

This is a phrase my mother has recently taken to saying to me.

When I pull out my reusable shopping bags in the checkout line at the local organic co-op grocery store: “You are so Seattle.”

When I declare that my waterproof hooded jacket was sufficient and I didn’t need an umbrella: “You are so Seattle.”

When I stare incredulously at a restaurant menu that doesn’t list any of my beloved Washington wine: “You are so Seattle.”

Which got me thinking – what does it mean to “be Seattle”? I was neither born nor raised here. I spent the most formative years of my childhood in Midwest suburbia before enjoying several years as a college co-ed in Boston.

The Seattle skyline as seen from Gas Works Park Photo: Kristin Gillespie

The Seattle skyline as seen from Gas Works Park Photo: Kristin Gillespie

After college, I packed my bags and traded the Boston Turnpike for the western terminal of I-90. I’d never been to Seattle before. My parents had moved to the Pacific Northwest while I was away at college so while I was moving “home”, it certainly wasn’t familiar to me. I expected to stay 6-8 months and explore the city a bit before finding a job elsewhere and moving on.

That was more than eleven years ago.

It didn’t take long for Seattle to steal my heart. How could I resist? I was faced with a fantastic urban playground surrounded in every direction by mountains, lakes and shoreline begging to be explored. I relished in every ferry crossing, every 9 pm summer sunset, every mouth-watering culinary adventure.

Climbing on Mount Adams in the Cascades mountain range. Photo: Kristin Gillespie

Climbing on Mount Adams in the Cascades mountain range. Photo: Kristin Gillespie

And my love affair doesn’t end with Seattle. I have fallen hard for the entire state of Washington. Alpine mountain ranges, dusty deserts, lush rainforests, rolling farmland… who knew all of this could be packed into the Pacific Northwest?

Six months turned into a year. A year turned into four. My parents followed a new opportunity and moved out of state. Still I remain in Seattle and keep exploring.

I count myself lucky to work for Visit Seattle. Now I make a living by encouraging others to come discover and fall in love with Seattle the way I did. And while I’m still not quite sure I can define what makes me “so Seattle”, I find myself wearing that badge with pride.

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About the Author

Kristin Gillespie

Kristin Gillespie is Director, Marketing at Visit Seattle. An avid traveler and Seattle transplant of more than 17 years, Kristin loves to explore the Northwest and is rarely found without a camera in hand—although these days it's typically pointing toward her adventurous little girl.

More Posts By Kristin Gillespie


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