To kick off my spring break, I went to visit a friend on the eastern side of the state in Spokane, Wash. For my 20 years, I've only ever been a tourist in Eastern Washington. It wasn't until this trip that I realized how different the two sides are.
1. There's literally nothing for hundreds of miles
All those pictures we see about Washington are a very small portion of the state. After you get over Snoqualmie Pass, there's no green. I rode a bus out to Spokane, so I was forced to look at fields of potatoes and tumbleweeds for 5 and a half hours. One of the things my friend and I were thinking of doing was driving to Seattle for something to do.
2. I don't know why anyone would ever willingly leave Western Washington*
In the case of my dear friend, it was for school, which is an understandable reason, but why move for anything else? Unless you have money to spend and a car to withstand the snow, there's not much in eastern Washington. Sure, it might be cheaper, but what would you do with all the extra money you're saving besides buying unnecessary things?
*This came to me while crossing over the Snoqualmie pass on the way home, which was covered in snow and very picturesque. This may be an exaggeration.
3. Seattle has everything in a small radius
I found myself endlessly comparing eastern Washington to Seattle. I felt like I had a feel for Spokane in the few days that I was there, but when I go into Seattle, I flounder. Every time I'm in the city, there's something new I never knew existed. Did you know that the Franz bread bakery is right next to the greyhound station? I didn't. If you want something kind of special in eastern Washington, you have to come to the west side to get it.
4. Eastern Washington quieter than anything I've ever heard.
Nine months out of the year, I live in Bellingham, which is further north than Spokane. I live in a busy college town that is always bustling. While I was in Spokane, everything had a quiet vibe to it — I couldn't hear the running of the bus or the yelling of students as they run around.
5. I understand why WSU Pullman is a notorious drinking school
In Washington, most students that end up at Western or University of Washington think that WSU is a joke (to each their own, no one will ever really know what a school is like until we're there for ourselves) and just a party school. I understand why that might be true. What else are broke college students supposed to do in a city where there's nothing to do.
6. No duh, Western Washington is a lot more progressive
For years, there have been petitions for Western Washington to secede from Western Washington. This isn't unique to Washington, either, there are other states that wish to do the same thing, but it never happens. In terms of politics, Western Washington has control of the board. We have Seattle, which has a high concentration of people and the one city generally represents the entire state throughout the presidential elections.
7. Everything is a lot dirtier in Eastern Washington
I don't mean people, but literal dirt. In Western Washington, we don't have a lot of sand. Our beaches are covered with rocks and usually, the only sand we have is when it snows or in our sandboxes. In eastern Washington, everything is always sandy. Or at least every time I go there. I used to visit Lake Chelan as a child as a family vacation spot, and that was the same. Sand everywhere.
8. I could never move this far for school
Props to those who could. As someone that has all their family on the West coast, I couldn't imagine having to drive 5 hours every time I wanted to come home. That's a whole day. I'd have to make it a whole weekend trip. Even if it's for school, what am I going to do when I'm not at work or at school?
9. If I lived out here, I couldn't just get up and impulsively go to Canada or Portland.
Depending on where I am in the state, or the time of year, I'm generally only an hour or two away from another state or another country. In Spokane, you're close to Cour d'Alene, Idaho, but there isn't much there. Not as much as there is to do in Portland or Vancouver, BC, Canada.
10. I'm grateful that I was raised in Western Washington
I wouldn't have realized these things if I were raised in eastern Washington, and this is not to say that eastern Washington is bad, just not my cup of tea. A weekend or a week-long trip is enough for me, and then I can escape back to the trees and the cool weather.
Eastern Washington could very easily be a hoot and I could be missing everything it has to offer by not living there, but I simply couldn't imagine any green, no city skylines, or mountains.