12 Travelers of the PNW: Takae Goto

Takae Goto, 23

UW Seattle: Psychology and Art with Departmental Honors

Hometown: I was born in Japan and moved to New York when I was four. I stayed there until the end of middle school until our family moved/road tripped to Washington.

Hobbies: Photography, hiking. climbing, binge watching k-dramas/animes, and finally getting into reading books again

What is your relation to the Pacific Northwest?

It's where I feel most grounded.

Why is travel important to you?

It challenges me a lot. It questions and shapes my worldview. It also reminds me to take it one day at a time and appreciate what’s around me. With that said, it’s a privilege and humbling to see the beauty in the world.

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

Haha there are tons. If I were to pick one specific experience, I’ll share my time in Nepal on a hike. It was during a year long leadership program I joined after my freshman year at UW. I decided to take a gap year to focus on spirituality and personal growth. One of the outdoor portions of the program was a trekking trip in Nepal and oof, it was hard. Some team members had altitude sickness, stomach issues and overall, muscle cramps during the 3 day course. We took it step by step and supported each other as we climbed up to the peak. Finally on the 3rd day, we woke up early to catch the sunrise and it was beautiful. It was January 2nd of 2017.

As the middle child of two brothers, I’ve thought of myself as independent and strong but this trip opened my eyes. We had to rely on each other and it made me rethink what leadership means.

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’m more spontaneous and accommodating when I’m traveling with a group but if I’m by myself, I’m definitely a planner! Once I book my stay and buy my ticket, I go straight into researching what stores/restaurants are around the location, start listing places I want to visit, and downloading helpful apps and try them out before leaving the States. I then create a general gist of my schedule with a couple of buffer/rest days just in case things don’t go as expected.

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

It definitely depends. I’ve gone to Asia for a week during the middle of the quarter and came back super pumped to catch up on my school work. I’ve also felt a mixture of relief and post-vacation blues after a month of travel around the States.

What are your future travel plans?

Just hiking around Washington currently. I’m hoping to go to Japan sometime in the next year though! (I haven’t seen my extended family in over a decade!!) And for very distant future plans? Maybe go backpacking around Europe??

How has the PNW helped shape who you are?

I feel very blessed to live in the PNW with my family and community. Moving to Washington right after middle school allowed me to form my identity as I surrounded myself with spiritual, outdoors, mental health and Asian American communities. It’s been a learning process in understanding how to advocate for my values and finding communities that align to my values.

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

Organic, cloudy and coffee!