Kyle Kotajarvi

Left and Leaving Blog


I’ve been typing and retyping words for the past half hour, and I’m not really getting anywhere, so let’s just hop right into it.  In two weeks, I’m moving from Minneapolis to Seattle.  Wow, that feels so surreal to say, but it’s happening.  After everything that’s happened these past 10 months, I really don’t think there’s anything else I’d rather be doing.  

This past year has been quite the journey for me.  

To recap: 

I graduated from the University of Minnesota last Fall.  It was a huge weight off my shoulders.  After attending three schools in four and half years, I had completed six full semesters worth of credits in my final two years of college, so that I could just be done.  I was completely drained and really needed a vacation.

Four days after my last college course, I flew to Seattle to meet up with some friends to take the road trip of a lifetime.  I immediately fell in love with Seattle and the surrounding area.  I loved the vibe of the city and the topography of the surrounding areas. Plus, one of my best friends, Wiley Putnam, lives there.

After spending a week in the area, we drove to Los Angeles and then back to Minneapolis.  There were a lot of places that completely floored me, but I didn’t miss any place more than the Pacific Northwest.  

If you want to read about that trip, you should check out The American West.  

I had spent a lot of time on that trip thinking about the person I wanted to be, and where I saw my future self.  I thought about how I now was a college graduate without a plan.  I was lost, but I was happy to not have any responsibilities for a bit.  

Over the next five months, I spent almost 6 and half weeks on the road.  I fell in love with going to new places.  I visited the Badlands, took the train out west, snowboarded in Colorado and even climbed my first mountain.

Getting out of the comforts of Minnesota was healthy for me and it forced me to face a lot of life’s realities. 

Between sojourns, I worked part-time at a retail store, which allowed me the freedom to request time-off, so it wasn’t a big deal to go somewhere once a month. 

As money became more and more of an issue, I realized that I needed to take a break and recoup my bank account, so I landed my first full-time job here in the Twin Cities.  Now, I’m not going to publicly thrash a company or anything like that, but working 40 hours a week at the place that I did was the absolute worst.  I’m not cut out to sit at a desk all day, I’m really not.  Monday through Friday was honestly a bit heart-wrenching for me.  

On the weekends, I got away as much as I could.  I trekked up to the North Shore a few times, explored some of the local state and regional parks, and did what I could to make things better.  As the days started to blend together, I began to realize that I needed to make a drastic change in my life. 

I missed the West Coast; I longed for the mountains and the ocean. Most of all, I missed the Pacific Northwest.  

I had had this idea in the back of my head since the beginning of 2015 that I wanted to leave Minnesota by the end of year.  That idea felt impossible back in January, but now, it’s going to be a reality.  

There’s a lot of reasons behind this move, and as I’m able to put my thoughts into words, I’ll be sure to fill all of you in.