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Digital Nomad Life Month 87

Month Eighty-Seven was a whirlwind travel month compared to last month’s work-heavy schedule – and I loved it!

The first couple of days of the month I hung out at the Gorge after working Bass Canyon Festival, and I mostly just rested and caught up on work, but we also spent half a day in Wenatchee running errands and exploring the town.

Oasis at the Gorge

Then it was back to work for Los Bukis. We only had four tents booked so it was definitely the most chilled event we have worked all summer, which was a really nice break.

After Los Bukis I had four days off so I drove up to Vancouver to hang out in my favorite place then visited Bellingham on the way back to the Gorge.

Then we had our most challenging event of the summer: Dave Matthews Band. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a great experience with this one and it was hard work, more in the lowlights below.

Vancouver False Creek

The last half of the month I didn’t have any events so I traveled – a lot. We started out with a couple of days in Leavenworth for tubing and hiking, then a night back at the Gorge so Toby could check on the tents before we were off again for a four-day camping trip on the Olympic Peninsula.

From there, Toby dropped me at Sea-Tac and I flew to New York City. I had a couple of nights there by myself and stayed at my friend Dani’s apartment in Midtown, then she came back and we explored together for three nights before catching the train to Philly – my first time in the city and a new state for me.

We spent three nights exploring the history, neighborhoods, cuisine, and beer of Philly and I loved it all! Then it was time to fly back to Seattle, which was definitely not without issues. 

Now onto the stats!

Historic street

Countries Visited: USA, Canada

Places Visited:

  • Washington: George, Wenatchee, Bellingham, Leavenworth, Gig Harbor, Port Townsend, Forks, La Push, Ocean Shores, Hoquiam, Olympia, Tacoma
  • Canada: Vancouver
  • New York: New York City
  • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Olympic National Park in Washington State, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.

Islands Visited: Granville Island in Vancouver, Little Island in New York City

Days on the Road: 22 days

Best Meals: Stanley Roll from Sushi Nova in Vancouver; Strawberry Rhubarb pie from The Pie Hole in Vancouver; Chicken schnitzel with spaetzle from Ludwig’s in Leavenworth; Mango sticky rice from Khu Larb in Port Townsend; Chai scone from The Jitter House in Hoquiam; Rajas con queso and shrimp tacos from La Palapa in Gotham West Market in New York City; Margarita pizza from Juliana’s in New York City; Fava beans in tomato sauce, ground chickpeas, and kita bread from Bunna Cafe in New York City; all the bagels in New York City.

West Village

Worst Meals: Cod chowder that was basically just a cream soup with no fish from Galway Bay Irish Pub in Ocean Shores.

Best Craft Beer: Hot Girl Shandy from Wenatchee Brewing Company, Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Milk Stout from Icicle Brewing Company in Leavenworth; Shmoozie Tart Ale – Guava Fluff by Odd Otter Brewing Company in Tacoma, 6th Birthday Zombie Sour Ale from KCBC in Brooklyn.

Hikes/Walks:

  • Ambleside Beach to Dundarve Beach on the West Vancouver Seawall in Vancouver, Canada 5 miles
  • Colchuck Lake trail in Leavenworth, WA 8.6 miles
  • Hurricane Hill trail to Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park, WA 4.6 miles
  • Sol Duc Falls trail in Olympic National Park, WA 1.6 miles
  • Spruce Nature Trail and Hall of Mosses Trail loop in Olympic National Park, WA 2.2 miles

West Van seawall

Watching: Death on the Nile, Euphoria

Reading: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

New Posts:

Two completely new posts this month! I wrote this guide to the best West Coast National Parks where you can escape the crowds, and this super detailed guide to the best suburbs in Denver and what to do, eat, and drink there.

Central Park

Highlights

Summer Days in Vancouver

I managed to squeeze in a couple of days in Vancouver between shows and it felt great to be back in my favorite city to enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

Van City beach

On this visit, I biked around False Creek and Stanley Park, walked the West Vancouver seawall, visited Granville Island Market and Kitsilano, and swam at Dundarve Beach and Third Beach. It was all glorious.

A Fun Morning Exploring Bellingham

I visited Bellingham for the first time on the way back from Vancouver and spent a morning walking around downtown and the lovely historic suburb of Fairhaven. It is a sweet little city and it’s somewhere I would love to return to see more and explore the lakes and coastline around the city.

Bellingham

An Evening at the Cliffhouse and Seeing Dave Matthews

We had one of our colleagues from Stout Tent visit the Gorge for the first time during Dave Matthews and we spent an evening drinking cocktails at the VIP Cliffhouse right by the stage, and in the pit to see a few Dave Matthews songs.

I can’t say I am a big Dave Matthews fan but I enjoyed the energy of the show and it was fun to let loose a little.

Floating, Hiking, and German Food in Leavenworth

I love the little German mountain town of Leavenworth and it was fun to introduce Toby to it over a couple of fun days of hiking in the mountains, tubing the crystal clear Wenatchee River, browsing the stores, drinking beer and eating sausages in German beer gardens, and eating gingerbread and chicken schnitzel.

Leavenworth

We are lucky Leavenworth is so close to the Gorge and I can definitely see us returning more often if we are working at the Gorge next summer as well.

Hanging Out in Historic Port Townsend

I first visited lovely Port Townsend way back in 2010 and I remembered how cute this well-preserved Victorian seaport was. I loved it even more on this visit and thoroughly enjoyed my evening and morning strolls around town, trying the local cuisine, and visiting the bustling Farmers Market.

Port Townsend

Hiking in the Otherwordly Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest may be a pain in the butt to reach (see lowlights below), but it was worth the long wait to get in because it is so different from anything else I have seen in the US. It definitely reminded me of the gnarled old trees dripping with moss that I saw in the south while also being very much its own thing.

Hoh Rainforest

The forest here is so lush and vibrant green and I kept expecting to see a fairy or gnome pop out of the undergrowth – it was just so enchanting.

Exploring the Rugged Coastline on the Olympic Peninsula

The coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is wild and beautiful and I enjoyed exploring Rialto Beach and First and Second Beaches in La Push during our time there. 

Rialto Beach

Seeing the Salmon Run 

We were lucky to see salmon jumping up a waterfall in Olympic National Park when we were there and it was so cool! I have seen salmon jumping up a fish ladder but to see them jumping this multi-tier waterfall was pretty special. I love nature.

Jumping salmon

Finally Reunited With a Friend

After three years apart, I finally reunited with my friend Dani in New York this month! We usually meet up every year to do a trip together but with COVID ruining travel in 2020 and with her catching COVID at the end of 2021 just as I was about to fly out and see her, we hadn’t seen each other in a long time.

As usual, we had a really busy and really fun time exploring New York and Philly over six days. We ate pizza and donuts, we drank craft beer, we walked for hours exploring different neighborhoods, and we talked pretty much non-stop – it was a classic Katie and Dani adventure.

Self-Guided Walking Tours of New York City

As I have done a lot of the tourist stuff in New York on earlier visits, now when I visit it is usually just to hang out in neighborhoods I love and eat all the amazing food. Mission accomplished on this trip – I averaged about 22,000 steps per day!

Central Park bridge

I walked all over Manhattan and Brooklyn and really enjoyed exploring on foot with the highlights being the Highline and Little Island, the West Village and Greenwich Village, DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Central Park. I feel like I know the city even better now after this visit.

Manhattan Bridge

Seeing The Book of Mormon – Finally

I have wanted to see the controversial Book of Mormon for a long time but the prices were always too crazy on previous visits to New York so I hadn’t gotten around to it. I finally went this time and I really loved it. I definitely laughed out loud in parts and was thoroughly entertained for the whole show.

Book of Mormon

Sure, it’s a little juvenile and offensive, but it was funny and well put together as well.

Exploring Philly’s Storied History

I visited Philly for the first time this month and I loved the three days I spent there. I am a history nerd and Philly is packed full of it, perhaps even more so than Boston.

Dani and I spent hours walking all over the city and I also visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Reading Terminal Market, the Museum of the American Revolution, and I loved exploring the cute historic alleyways that are just so picturesque.

Philly street

I definitely want to return to Philly and see more, I didn’t make it to the Eastern Penitentiary or the Mutter Museum, and there are so many more places to eat and drink that we wanted to try but didn’t have time. Philly – I will be back!

Reading Terminal Market

Wandering the Magic Gardens

Along with all of the cool history stuff I did in Philly, I also really enjoyed our visit to the Magic Gardens, a beautiful courtyard garden covered in colorful glass mosaic art and art from Mexico and South America. It was fun to get lost in the art-filled maze and I took so many pictures.

Magic Gardens Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Lowlights

Border Crossing From Canada To the US

I had such asshole border agents coming through the border back to the U.S. from Canada. As usual, they were really rude and the guy I got first got frustrated because he couldn’t unlock my van (the lock gets stuck) and he wouldn’t let me help him so I had to go through a secondary inspection which took ages. The border agent that did that was super surly and rude too.

I get being professional but pretty much every other country has much nicer border security than the U.S. Just saying.

A Whole Lot of High Maintenance Guests For Dave Matthews

Turns out Dave Matthews fans are the worst – well some of them are, some are really lovely. We thought that Watershed would be the worst show to work this year but I think that Dave Matthews was even worse.

We had so many entitled and picky guests that constantly complained and wanted a lot more than we could offer them, despite setting expectations with a pre-show email. You just can’t please some people but at every other show, most of our guests were really happy with the experience so when you have so many people that aren’t and are very rude about their displeasure, it is very disheartening. 

The Gorge

Smoky Skies in Olympic National Park

We managed to escape the wildfire smoke all summer – until we got to Olympic National Park. I thought it wouldn’t be too bad on the Olympic Peninsula but it was super hazy. The hike we did to Hurricane Ridge had pretty much no view sp we didn’t do one of the hikes I really wanted to do – Mount Storm King – because there was no point if we wouldn’t see anything from the top.

Smoky Olympic National Park

Olympic Hot Springs Mess Up

I misread a blog post I read about Olympic Hot Springs and thought it was a 4.8 mile out and back hike which is very doable. We were a bit over a mile into our hike when I realized it was a lot further than I thought – 11 miles each way!

The road was washed out a while ago so it used to be 4.8 miles but now it is 22 miles total so needless to say we turned around!

Long Queues at Olympic National Park

We didn’t have any trouble with getting into the Olympic National Park entrances in the north of the park but when we drove out to the Hoh Rainforest entrance there was a crazy long queue and it was barely moving.

Turns out the car park is small so once it fills up there is a one car out, one car in system. We ended up waiting about 45 minutes so it wasn’t too terrible and it was 100% worth it.

Second Beach La Push

The Agro Dog That Took a Disliking To Me

When Dani got back to New York from Greece a couple of days into my stay, I moved out of her apartment and into a dog sit with her in a really nice apartment in Brooklyn for what was meant to be three nights. Unfortunately, the dog did not like me and ended up biting me twice. It was actually the first time I have ever been bitten by a dog and I did not care for it.

I was kinda terrified of the dog after that because she would be cool with me one minute and then suddenly attack me out of nowhere, so I moved back into Dani’s apartment in Manhattan while she continued the dog sit. 

Philly city views

Issues With Our Philly Airbnb

I found a great apartment in the buzzy neighborhood of Queens Village in Philly for a great price – but it turned out to be too good to be true. The internet and the hot water didn’t work so after a night we moved up to their other apartment.

I asked them to check that the hot water works there before we moved in and they said it did, but unfortunately the lever on the faucet that switches it from the bath faucet to the shower was broken so we couldn’t shower, only bathe. 

Definitely not ideal, especially for washing our hair, but we made it work and I did get a partial refund.

Flight Delay at Newark

As I had to check out of the apartment in Philly at 11am on the day I was flying back to Seattle, I was already going to be spending too much time at Newark Airport with my flight not scheduled to leave until 7pm.

But then my flight was delayed by four hours, meaning I would only get into Sea-Tac at 2 am. Seattle is 2.5 hours away from the Gorge and I had to work the next day so it was really, really shit.

And then it got worse. There was a security breach just as I was going through security and everyone in the flight hall for the section of the airport I was leaving from had to get scanned through security again – this was thousands of people. 

Just as I was going through security I got an alert that my gate had changed. I was now leaving for another part of the airport so I had to go back out, get in another long line for a different security, and my flight was delayed by another hour.

I was at my wit’s end by this point. We finally boarded… and then sat on the tarmac for another 30 minutes. I finally got into Seattle at 3am where Toby picked me up and we drove the 2.5 hours back to the Gorge. I was so tired for my shift and so annoyed.

Chipmunk

Spending

A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.

Total: USD$2627

I can’t believe I spent MORE THAN DOUBLE what I spent last month! My flight to New York was a big expense, as was the Airbnb in Philly, but I also just went crazy with food and drink spending this month too. Next month should definitely be lower as I will only really be traveling for about half the month and I plan on keeping costs as low as I can.

Accommodation $441

My eight nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of one night in a motel in Bellingham, one night in a motel in Leavenworth, two nights camping on the Olympic Peninsula, one night at a motel in Ocean Shores, three nights in an Airbnb apartment in Philly.

My 23 nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of 12 nights on-site at the Gorge, two nights free camping in the van in Vancouver, one night in a motel that Toby paid for in Leavenworth, one night free camping in the van in Port Townsend, one night on a flight from Seattle to New York, four nights in my friend’s apartment in New York City, one night at a housesit in Brooklyn, and one night free camping in the van in …

Philly historic street

Food and Drink $1023

Yikes, guess I went a bit crazy with food and drink spending this month! I definitely wasn’t trying to stick to a budget so I guess this is what happens when you drink cocktails and craft beer in New York.

Clothing $165

  • Bralette x 2 $65
  • Sports bra $8
  • Straight leg jeans $22.50
  • PJ bottoms $5
  • Underwear x 5 $22
  • Summer dress $12.50
  • Winter jacket $30

Transport $602.50

  • Gas $167
  • Parking $2
  • Flight from Seattle to New York City return $317
  • New York City subway $45
  • Train to Philly from New York City $19
  • Train to Newark from Philly $19
  • Lyft from Airbnb to train station in Philly $20
  • Train from Amtrak Station to Old City in Philly $2.50
  • Train From Newark to Newark Airport $11

Activities $211

  • One Day Mobi Bike Rental in Vancouver $12 
  • Tubing the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth $32
  • Entry to Timber Museum in Forks $3
  • Book of Mormon in New York City $82
  • Tenement Museum in New York City for two $60
  • Online Reservation for Independence Hall in Philadelphia $1
  • Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia $21

Washington Square park

Other $131

  • Hulu $7.50
  • Phone plan $35
  • Toiletries $30
  • Haircut $24
  • Candles $6.50
  • Stickers $7.50
  • Tragus earring $7.50
  • Shower cap $2.50
  • Charity $3
  • Luggage storage in Philly $7.50

Website Costs $12

  • Monthly payment for Keysearch $12

Van/RV Costs $37

  • Van Insurance $37

Colchuck Lake

What’s in Store for Next Month

The next month will see me work the last two shows of the season at the Gorge – Jack Johnson and Rufus Du Sol – then we are leaving Washington State to return to Colorado after being away all summer.

I do still have a four-day trip to North Cascades National Park in between shows where I am basing myself in the cute town of Winthrop and will be doing a few short to medium-length hikes in the park.

On the way back to Colorado, I am doing a week-long solo road trip where I am planning to visit Boise, Great Basin National Park in Nevada, Mystic Hot Springs, Moab, possibly Arches National Park, Telluride, Silverton and Ouray, before driving to Denver to reunite with Toby.

We will probably stay with family for a few days then the last week of the month we will be housesitting and caring for two sweet doggos that we looked after last December. I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and family and having some time in Denver for a bit – it’s definitely been a while and I miss it.

To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here

2 Comments on Digital Nomad Life: Month Eighty-Seven

  1. Lots of ups and downs by the sound of things.
    Great you spent quite a lot of time with Dani.
    Hope your dog bites healed up quickly – that would have been horrible if you became infected.
    How many countries have you been to now?
    Who’s winning?.

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