How to Bellingham

Step one: Buy a used Subaru and a Patagonia puffy jacket.

These are staples around the City of Subdued Excitement. You will see them everywhere and without them, you’ll be sure to stand out. Even if you never, ever go to the mountains, at least you look like you can hang.

Step two: Choose an outdoor sport and consequently, your entire friend group.

Just get on Instagram or Tinder if you’re not sure which route to take. Do you see yourself as more of casual day hiker or adrenaline-junkie downhill mountain biker? Accomplished alpinist or dirtbag boulderer? Nearby Bellingham, you can ski, climb, hike, run, bike, kayak, downhill unicycle… the list goes on. And yeah, downhill unicycling is a thing.

Step three: Decide whether you’re actually going to do that sport or just say that you do.

There will be plenty of dudebros at the numerous breweries around town that will tell you all about slaying the gnar, but when you hit him up later to get out and get after it, he’s probably got a hangover and a good excuse not to go.

Step four: Just add weed!

When scanning Craigslist for your new digs, you’re definitely going to come across countless declarations of “420 friendly.” Bellingham is very 420 friendly.

Step five: Get yourself a restaurant job to support your gear addiction.

The job market in Bellingham is saturated with bright eyed, bushy tailed college grads. You might be washing dishes for a while despite getting your degree. Further, there’s all of the professionals that have lived elsewhere and settled in Bellingham to begin their families to claim the “real” jobs. They’ve earned it.

With your new sport and friend group – whether or not you actually do it – comes the cost of the equipment it takes to do it. An alpine touring set up doesn’t just materialize out of thin air! And if you’ve decided climbing is your jam, your homies aren’t going to be psyched when you want to repeatedly whip on their gear as you learn how to crush the crack. You need your own rack.

Hustle the tables, sling the ‘za or do whatever you need to do to get by.

Step six: Get out there and do your thing.

When you come home from a day in the mountains, you’ll immediately realize that Bellingham is actually a pretty special place.

In this town, it’s totally appropriate for your appearance to raise the question “Hipster or hobo?” as you make your way from coffee shop to co-op to bar. You could shower like a normal person, or you could have yourself a Bellingham shower by pulling a beanie over that tangled mess of nonsense you call your hair.

It’s okay because nobody cares what you look like. People want to talk to you about who you are, what you do and how it went, because in Bellingham, people are stoked on getting outside and having a good time. Everything else – like your crappy job or your janky Subaru – will figure itself out.

10 responses to “How to Bellingham”

  1. What about horse back riding? And is it okay to go to the grocery in your barn clothes?


    1. You do you girl. Haha. Rock it.


  2. Hm, I am living a Bellingham existence in Seattle. Time to move.


    1. My friend said he couldn’t tell if I liked Bellingham or not after reading this post. It’s a wonderful spot, I would strongly recommend you make the switch!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I thought it was out of love. I am a NW native and love bellingham, my Fiance has never been there but he has already decided it is his number one new home choice after we finish the PCT. So many amazing outdoor options. And you can quickly escape to Canada if shit ever gets really crazy in the US….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If anyone in B’ham needs to fit in – I have a 1997 Subaru Legacy L wagon for sale.

    The good: dedicated snow tires/wheels and dedicated summer tires/wheels each w/ less than 10k miles, MANUAL TRANSMISSION, Thule rack, tinted windows, CD/MP3/AUX, runs strong, well maintained, documented every tank of gas since I bought it in 2004 and averaged 25mpg.

    Less good: 220k miles. Paint’s a bit beat.

    Buy my car and I’ll throw in a Patagonia puffy for free.


    1. This is hilarious to me. Nice work, dude.


    2. PsychonauticSpence Avatar

      How much are you looking for, and does it leak?


  4. David Hutchinson Avatar
    David Hutchinson

    Mallorie, after reading this piece I am thinking that Bellingham needs to stay as your base of play and adventure.
    Nicely done!


    1. I think you might be right!


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