11 Travelers of the PNW: Evelyn Hyde

Evelyn Hyde, 22

University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences, BS Biology BA Philosophy

Hometown: I'm from Wenatchee, the self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World. The valley is small, but full of outdoor opportunities and community.

Hobbies: Ever-changing, but currently into climbing and biking around Seattle.

What is your relation to the Pacific Northwest?

I'm proud to be Washington grown! However, I didn't relate to the PNW stereotype until my out-of-state friends pointed out to me how much I fit it.

Why is travel important to you? (What do you travel for?)

When I was in my teens, I was really excited by seeing things in person that I had seen online or in books. When Instagram entered my life, my travel goals exploded. Growing up, I had the privilege of traveling a lot with my family on road trips, which I took for granted. I hated being stuck in a car with my sisters for hours and minimal changes in the landscape. I was jealous of my friends going to Disneyland and Hawaii. I remember one fall we went to Yellowstone for Thanksgiving. Prior to the trip, I was convinced that it was going to be a nightmare - it was cold, and we were staying in cabins without running water. A few days into the trip, we went out with a guide to look for wolves. I was wearing my downhill ski clothing. We spent all day looking through scopes and packing and unpacking an old van. Finally, we spotted them running across Lamar Valley, clearly defined against the snow in the scope. We were all so excited, celebrating our find together, and I realized that while seeing the wolves was the primary goal, the primary reward had been sharing this moment with my family. I think since then, I’ve realized that travel is, just like many things, a way of connecting with other people. Now, when I have the opportunity to plan trips, they are much more people-oriented than location oriented.

What is your most memorable travel experience? How has it impacted your life and future travels?

My most memorable travel experience was making yucca bread with an indigenous population in the Ecuadorian rainforest. I have a lot of respect for indigenous people and was excited that a tour I was on supported them through our fees. We had the chance to visit their community, harvest yucca root, and make it into bread with them. We learned how to do everything by watching and trying ourselves. I think there is something really beautiful about how people communicate when they don’t share a language, the kindness and patience that is present in the gestures and laughs between strangers. An older woman painted my face while we waited for the bread to dry, and I ate my pan-fried bread with chocolate sauce on it.

How would you describe your travel style? Are you a meticulous planner or a go-with-the-flow kind of traveler? What are some best practices you have learned to help you travel as best you can in your own way?

I’ve always been a planner in my day-to-day life, so I usually use travel as an escape from that. I’ll plan out where to stay each night before I ever leave home, but usually plan one activity or part of a city to see per day, rather than packing with activities. Over the years and trips, I’ve also let go of the idea that I need to see all the tourist attractions of certain places. There’s often photos of them online, and I want to have an experience outside of everyone who reads TripAdvisor.

How does coming “home” (wherever or whatever that may be) feel after you travel?

Coming home feels amazing. I love getting into sweats and being comfortable in my own space.

What are your future travel plans?

Most of my travel goals were international, so I’m hoping to pursue that when the world returns to a somewhat normal state, post-pandemic. For now, short road trips and checking off all of the national parks are in the cards, and in the future I hope to spend a full calendar year abroad.

How has the PNW helped shape who you are?

Coming from Eastern Washington, I didn’t realize that the “PNW” was such a vibe until I got to college and my out-of-state friends labeled me as “sooooo PNW.” I think the access to the outdoors I was able to enjoy growing up certainly shaped me, made me braver and more inclined to try new things. It taught me to be excited by early mornings and cold days and the idea of not showering because I’m sleeping in a tent. I like to think that growing up in this environment made me adventurous.

If you were to describe the PNW in three words, what would they be and why?

Adventure for all!

The PNW offers a really wide variety of activities and levels and there's truly something for everyone. We have parks in the city big enough to bike and run around, access to every landscape, including the mountains, desert, and ocean. In the PNW you can be a windsurfer, a backcountry skier, a swimmer, a climber, a hiker, a marathoner with a dog – it feels limitless. There is access to almost every outdoor activity.