Not too long ago, I was something of a nomad. For three years, I traveled around the world with nothing but my rolling suitcase and laptop as constant companions. I volunteered with refugees in Cape Town, wandered aimlessly around the Masai Mara for a week, drank wine from the bottle in front of Roman ruins, earned a PhD in beach bumming in Santorini, and reunited with old friends in Sydney. During that period, I was confident that I would find somewhere – anywhere – cooler to live than Seattle. Despite my best intentions, I did not. I enrolled at the Evans School of Public Affairs in 2010 and set about becoming a “real adult” in my hometown. When I returned home, it was with the high hopes that I had rid myself of the travel bug and could settle down properly in Seattle. After three years, I simply had to have gotten extended travel out of my system. There was simply no way that I had any tolerance for living out of a carry on, that I couldn’t possible do without a cell phone or address again.
Alas… every now and then, I find myself with a deep desire to get the heck out. When this urge hurts, it’s urgent. Not one to ever find a grey area in life, I am either perfectly happy or completely miserable in Seattle. Last Wednesday, I went to work as if it were any other day. Thirty minutes later, the travel bug itched: I needed to leave. Now. Not twelve hours later, I was on a plane to Washington, D.C. Six hours after that, I was on vacation. And it was a really good time.
I traveled to D.C. for three reasons. First, my best friend was about to turn 30 and I had to be there to witness the transition from juvenile twenty-something to fully-adult thirty-year-old. Second, Barack Obama was becoming the president again. I was living in South Africa during his first inauguration and thought it would be cool to be in D.C. for his second. Third, I simply love Washington, D.C. Given the opportunity to live in a pretty row house at the same rental rate I have in Seattle, I would move there tomorrow. It’s my perfect escape.
Nothing about the trip disappointed. We kicked off the weekend with Dom Perignon and kept the party rolling with dinner at Bandolero in Georgetown and sightseeing at the National Mall and Arlington. The next morning, I rolled out of bed with a terrible hangover, but combated it with intense sight-seeing and socializing. I had coffee with some grad school friends and shots of Jameson with other grad school friends. The next day, we brunched with our married friends and their adorable baby before heading out for more sight-seeing. We were handed tickets to inauguration by Reid Ribble, a congressman from Wisconsin who simply asked that we root for the Packers in exchange for the priceless bucket list experience. We threw down the best 30th birthday party imaginable at the best dive bar I’ve ever been to. On inauguration day, I ran the National Mall twice, crying at the Vietnam Memorial and gazing in awe at the view of the capital from atop the Lincoln Memorial. Then, we witnessed a historically significant inauguration that was celebrated by some of the most entertaining characters I have ever met (one woman introduced herself to me as Treasure Sunshine Treasure). Over the course of the weekend, we drank quite a bit, ate like royalty, and laughed more than I have in a very long time. Girls weekends are few and far between, but are more essential to life than anything I can think of.
There is something about Washington, D.C. that always leaves me feeling completely empowered. This visit was no exception. I came home yesterday ready to take on the world. In 24 (jet lagged) hours, I have begun researching PhD programs, taken on new business opportunities, partnered with Awant Excellence, and enrolled in a course that will earn me a Corrective Exercise Specialist title. I also cleaned my apartment, did my laundry, and started making a list for what I need to pack when I head to Bali in exactly 25 days. That travel bug is itching hard right now… I think it’s time to embrace it. And to start shopping for bikinis.