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Finding Joy in Moments Big & Small | explore:NW

Have you noticed the joy people have for life lately? In July my husband and I took our first family vacation since the pandemic. Everywhere we went, people were filled with an exuberant passion for even just the littlest of things.

A beer on a sunny day. An afternoon stroll. The discovery of a new artist at the local farmer’s market.

You could watch the smiles spread from person to person. Even waiting in line felt like a treat. The collective ‘we’ was back together and somehow the bustle of life was like a shot of adrenaline. What hit me particularly was that the talk of getting ‘back to normal’ seemed to have shifted. As I witnessed friends gather, couples date, families reunite, and individuals spread their wings — there was an innate desire to hold onto this new sense of joy.


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From the big milestones to the simplest of moments, it’s as though we’ve discovered just how precious life is. And I for one, am glad for that. This is a new normal that I’d like to see stick around.

It was with this passion in mind we crafted the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of explore:NW. We hope you’ll enjoy wan- dering The Burke-Gilman Trail — soaking in the views, art, and local business- es throughout the Greater Seattle area (p.30). We strongly encourage you to stop along the way to savor everything from pastries and seafood to celebration-worthy pints — especially those at Carin Brewing in Kenmore.

Discover the charm of packing up your family for a weekend island hopping in the San Juan Islands — where the hikes are plentiful and the beaches divine. I particularly gravitated to how Lisette Wolter-McKinley encouraged her children to try new foods (like lavender spiked cookies) and collect meaningful souvenirs (including locally thrown pottery).

Or perhaps wine and a tee time are a bit more your style. In which case, Walla Walla is just a hop, skip and a flight away. And as Rick Turner shares, this Washington gem is a city “so nice, they named it twice”.

While I am clearly in favor of celebrating the things we perhaps once took for granted, I’d like to also invite you to celebrate the milestones. The big moments. Because they don’t come every day — like Kenmore Air’s 75th anniversary. Though a little airline, this family-owned and operated business has accomplished an impressive feet — it’s been flying the Pacific Northwest for 75 years.

So whether you’re planning one of your first adventures in this ‘new nor- mal’ or you’re celebrating a big moment — let yourself be fully present. Let yourself savor every bit of the experience. Because we can all attest just how precious this thing called life is.