My dad traveled quite a bit for his business when I was young. He’d bring me back knick-knacks and other gifts from his exotic travels, whether they be in Singapore, London, Paris, or any other of a list of locales. However, as a kid, the idea of traveling never appealed to me. I was content to stay in Orange County and watch Nickelodeon and Pokemon instead. The idea of staying with Grandma, while my parents set off on a vacation to tour Europe sounded infinitely better.
But somehow this changed. I’m not exactly sure how, but it did. In 2011, freshly graduated from college, I went with a friend on a two-week tour of Europe. We visited a friend who was living in San Sebastian, Spain (which, to this day, I would say is my favorite city in the world), while also visiting Barcelona, Paris and Rome. Neither of us had ever been to Europe before, so it turned out to be an incredible adventure.
As the years passed, I got more and more excited by the idea of traveling to new places. However, one of the most influential traveling years I’ve experienced has been over the last 365 days or so. During the course of a year I was able to experience my most spontaneous trip, my most solo trip and my most exotic trip.
I would not readily use the word spontaneous to describe myself when it comes to travel. Sure, such impetuousness has its place, but I tend to at least take some time to plan in advance when it comes to going somewhere. But that all changed the January before last.
It was an average Friday. I was off work that day and was texting my friends to see what they’d like to do that night. Maybe we could head up to LA or down to San Diego from some dinner and drinks. Maybe we could watch a movie at someone’s house.
Then all of a sudden someone threw out the idea of San Francisco. Mind you, we’re talking increasing an hour-long drive to LA or San Diego to an hours-long drive halfway up this massive state.
But somehow, it took hold.
Before you knew it, five of us were in a group text, sending screenshots of hotel prices, mapping out where we could stay and what we could do. We’d been texting about what to do around noon. By 4:30, the group was all at my house and we hit the road!
We had an incredible time. That’s really an understatement, but it’s one of those memories
that will forever define our friendships. The fact that five responsible adults (that terminology may be questionable) could just say “what the heck, let’s go for it” and hop in a car and drive 8 and a half hours to San Francisco was awesome.
At 2PM, we didn’t have set plans for the evening. By 2AM, we’d gotten champagne and enjoyed a bottle overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.