mikaela explore:NW spring 2020

Seeing with Fresh Eyes | explore:NW

Ever since I was a girl, I’ve been a passionate explorer, and I love working on a magazine that fully embraces this pastime. In my early days, exploring looked a lot more like mud pies and tree climbs. I’d come back from the small creek behind our house with scraped knees and dirty shoes, grinning from ear to ear.

I imagine my mom groaned at the trail of twigs and dust I dragged through the house. For my part, I loved seeing where my two feet could take me, discovering new spots and revisiting old favorites. I liked the way the world grew, one fabulous adventure at a time. I cherished getting to know new people, sampling treats, and learning about nature. I still do.

That’s probably why each issue of explore:NW makes me giddy. I love all the places our stories take us. The tidbits our writers share. The small insights. The gentle reminders to keep being an explorer.

As this issue came together, my husband and I welcomed our own little explorer into the world — Penellope Marie. It’s amazing how a little life can give you a fresh set of eyes and taste buds! Never has research been so mouthwateringly enjoyable as the great Seattle doughnut extravaganza that went into our spotlight of the city’s best morning indulgences. Because really, is there anything better than eating doughnuts? (There’s only one right answer to that question and it’s, “Pass the doughnuts please.”)

Reviewing pieces like Sara Satterlee’s family vacation in Desolation Sound made me hungry to pack up our little girl and unplug. Her rich descriptions of the mountains and the ocean and the time spent savoring loved ones whisk you away from the city. It transports you to a world beyond cellphones and social media. A wonderfully wild space. I’m equally as excited about Slater Moore’s photo essay. The collection of breathtaking images features whales in their natural habitat. Slater perfectly captures the delicate beauty of these massive creatures — reminding us why protecting them is so important. A lesson that can also be learned by visiting the world-renowned Vancouver Aquarium.

My husband, Garrett, and I often talk of the adventures we’ll take Penellope on. What a delight it will be kayak together through a kelp forest with Crystal Seas Kayaking. To see her learn from their trusted tour guides about the ocean and the wildlife surrounding its shores will fill me with such joy. 

So whether you’re building a mud pie or watching a clock steam, I hope this issue makes you giddy. Give yourself permission to see the world with new eyes. To sample doughnuts. To fly over a steaming volcano. To explore. 

And if you happen upon something that makes your eyes light up, please share. This amazing pastime is best when enjoyed together. 

View a PDF of the magazine.