5

The Loneliest Trait

My parents met in Youngstown, Ohio, but they had no desire to settle there. They had a vision of their future and after college set off to find it. Since this was long before the Internet and because pictures in guidebooks could only say so much, they took three months to drive around the United States—down to the South, through Texas, across the Mountain West and the desert. Wherever they ended up, they’d camp and backpack, doing pretty much whatever they wanted as long as it stayed under their budget of $20 a day.

New Mexico seemed nice, but the heat was stifling. San Diego had perfect weather, but my dad wasn’t crazy about its suburban sprawl. They finally settled on Portland, Oregon, with its mix of urban opportunity ...

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