One thing on my Life List was to travel with a stranger. Well, the opportunity (sort of) presented itself and I took it. In my head, I pictured backpacking somewhere, meeting someone in a hostel, and then deciding to go to the next place together. This wasn’t that specific scenario, but nonetheless, I went to a place with a person I’d never physically met before.
Per definition, a stranger is: a person whom one is not familiar; a person entirely unaccustomed to (a feeling, experience, or situation). To meet is to: come into the presence (face to face) or company (get together) of someone by chance or arrangement.
And so here’s my story of this past weekend: coming into the presence of a person I was not familiar with.
Nick and I ‘met’ last year via a discovery media app relating us back to Minnesota. We networked via social media and connected a little more later on by exchanging numbers. Although we knew a few things about each other, we’d never met in person or spent any time together before. He was in PA and I was in CO.
Same situation: social media except, I ‘met’ Paul more than 10 years ago without actually ever meeting each other in person. So, knowing he was in MA, I messaged him that I was on my way to Boston and it would be great to finally hang out for the first time.
It took an entire day to get from DEN to DCA (a snowstorm delay, then a lightning delay at my MSP layover, and of course, time change). I was heading to Alexandria, VA for a business trip but staying with two wonderful friends (Leah and Zach) while in town.
Leah and I met a few years ago. We actually had a silly way of knowing each other as well (involving a former admirer back in the high school days), but that story can be told at another time. We both grew up in MN and she moved to D.C. last year to be with Zach, which they broke the news to me at dinner on the night I arrived that they secretly got married. Congrats to you both ❤
My business trip was for training with the Association of Clinical Research Professionals; two days at the Sheraton in Old Town Alexandria. Majority of the participants were not from the DMV area and looking to get together during the evening. I announced to the group about a Home Run with the Nike Running Club in Georgetown, but there was only one taker. She sat behind me and was from NYC.
The Nike Running Group was roughly 35 people, a great crowd with fun motivational pacers. After our 5k – Leah, Zach, Danny, and I walked to the waterfront and had dinner at a restaurant called Nick’s. We all clicked really well with Danny; good food, good company, good conversation.
Danny and I were flying out of DCA roughly around the same time. So we left training and straight to the airport together. We eventually split when we got to our gates but definitely assured each other we’d be in contact if she so happened to be in Denver or if I so happened to be in NYC. Cheers to new friends.
Nick had flown into Boston earlier that day and had already checked into our hotel, the Onyx. Was I nervous? Was I scared? I mean, I’d never spent any time with the guy before and here we are about to have the whole weekend together. This was definitely unknown territory for me.
Sure, I knew some things about who he was, but I didn’t know much about how he was. Would we be super awkward and call it in early? Would we offend each other? Would I be annoying? Would we have any of the same interests in what we wanted out of visiting Boston? But mainly, first and foremost, would I be safe around him?
Of course, the people I told (which weren’t many) didn’t quite understand why I’d travel with a stranger. However, I think they sort of figured that it was Daisy; it was the kind of chances I usually took anyway. And it wasn’t like I didn’t consider the vibe or take precautions (yes, Nick, if you’re reading this, I gave ALL of your information to my friends, haha).
Truth be told, I didn’t have time or space to be nervous. I had been on the go that entire week and all I knew was where I needed to be at what time; which was exactly the moment I was in. There wasn’t any room to overthink it. Plus, being present and aware tends to allow for better overall judgement.
Paul swooped me up at the airport with his girlfriend and just like that, over ten years led up to our Hello-Nice-to-Meet-You hug. From there, we headed out to the Onyx for yet another first time hug to unravel. After Nick’s initial big bear hug, I unloaded my luggage to the room, we did some chit chatting, decision making, and then all headed to Chinatown to have a meal together.
Spicy fish soup, chicken curry, fried rice, and soup dumplings. Thank you Paul and Ha for treating us out to dinner. Again, great food, great company, great conversation. Just more memories to be cherished. The couple called in early as the night was just getting started for Nick and I.
GOODBYE FRIDAY NIGHT
Since Nick got into town earlier that day, he did some exploring on his own. He went to a bar and got some good recommendations; one of them being an Irish bar called Hennessy’s. We got in later that night for free using the bartender’s name and bargained our coat check. Nick’s got a persuasive way.
We watched the live band covers and stayed till bar close. But, that wasn’t enough for us. Since nothing was open: we went back to our hotel, put on our leopard/zebra robes, and sat on hotel floor in front of the mini bar. What happened next is something I’m still laughing about. We did math! We spent about 20-30 minutes calculating the most effective bang-for-your-buck on the available beer and shooters in the mini fridge. Then we passed out.
Let’s note that Nick and I had made no plans. Everything was a decision made at the moment – and it worked out great. We walked, talked, and ate; all that there really is in a great trip, no expectations.
In those 5-6 hours of walking, we saw a lot without intention to; beautiful aspens in the park, the capitol, churches, courtyards, street performers, food markets, and so much more. I’m so glad we were both very easy-going and open, yet still willing to speak up about our thoughts on things. Tired or hungry, no hassle and no offense. Yes, we were on a budget but we also knew how to have a good time. A wonderful traveling buddy.
For dinner, we went all out on seafood in the North End. When in Rome; shellfish, sake flights, and pasta. There was a Bruins game that night and our hotel was right next to the TD Center, so instead of fighting traffic, we went to Johnnie’s across the street for some drinks and dancing.
So incredibly fun, that’s all I can say. I don’t even know how to describe it but we killed it on the dance floor. I’ve never felt so comfortable with the jumping, shouting, singing, swaying, and moving. We brought ‘good times‘ to a whole new level at that bar.
Come Sunday, hungover and tired, we made our way to Boston Burger Company on the West End. Eyes bigger than our stomachs, of course; the sophie, mac attack, oreo custard frappe, and spicy pterodactyl wings.
From there we walked to the Fenway Ballpark and took a cab to cross the river into Cambridge for Harvard’s Museum of Natural History. Stuffed wild animals, dinosaur bones, tarantulas, and shiny crystal rocks.
Next thing you know, it was dark out and time to go. We walked around Cambridge for a little then off to the airport we went. Quite the trip I didn’t really want to end; a few more days would of been perfect.
TALK ABOUT FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD!
Although this post was more of an itinerary recap; it was the conversations, the honesty, the words, the laughs, the getting to know each other, the catching up, the people that filled my heart up with helium to be on such a high. That’s what made the trip, a trip.
In the midst of all that was going on, with the Paris attacks; I was and am so grateful, so thankful, and so blessed. Words can’t explain how I feel about majority of the people that walk into my life. I love you all, whether if it was only a night together, a weekend together, or years together. Thank you.