Yesterday afternoon, after having worked close to 120 hours in the past two weeks, I took off for LA to visit my roommate of the past 3 years, Ditch, who recently moved to LA. I’ll admit I was a bit fried from all the work I’d been doing but working that overtime gained me some comp days which allowed me to extend this trip from a 2 day short weekend visit to a 6 day vacation. Being brain dead and fried (insert link to 80′s anti-drug commercial here), it too me a few tries before I was able to leave the house with everything I needed, but by 3:30, I was on the bus headed to Logan Airport.
When I arrived I soon found out that my flight had been delayed due to weather in Atlanta (where I had a layover) and soon everyone around me started to trade flight horror stories. I made friends with a Linux geek who way trying to trick his way onto the pay-to-use wireless Internet service. We brainstormed and bounce ideas back and forth and it actually did a pretty good job of passing the time until his laptop battery died. We never did get it to work, but learned a lot, so maybe next time.
Once on board the plane, I was seated next to an older guy who was going to Atlanta to visit his son. We talked for a bit and then he brought up a trip he had been on a few years back. He told about how he and 4 of his friends flew to Australia and then rode their bikes up the eastern coast. “On motorcycles?” I asked with a smile. I’ve been asked this question so many times before I found it funny being on the opposite side of the probe. “No, on bicycles,” he replied proudly. From here on out, I knew it was going to be an awesome discussion (which as he later stated is “where everything happens”).
We traded stories of Thailand and my plans to India, compared bike trips, and commented on realizations that we had both made while on our adventures. How life really is simple, and we’re the ones that complicate it. When your on a bike and traveling, you really do only have 3 problems: Where are you going to sleep that night? Do you have enough water? Where will you get your next meal? That’s it. Its so fundamental its addicting.
It was comforting to hear another person talk about a trip like this years after he completed it, as I sometimes feel a bit self-conscious about how often I bring my trip up in conversation. It was also refreshing to have a conversation about this trip with someone that really got it.
We also talked about how people always ask us, “What’s your next trip?” And how they may be disappointed to find that we were only going to Atlanta or LA for the weekend. Its probably hard for anyone else to appreciate that, but it was pretty cool. Talking to this guy, Bob, really felt like talking to one possible outcome of my future self.
One interesting tip he passed my way, for use on my trip to India or other places that may not be as wholesome as mother’d like, was the idea of a ‘false wallet’. You carry it with you everywhere you go, but all it contains is $20 in assorted bills (10, 5 and 5 one’s anyone?) and some old expired credit cards. If your ever held up you give this to the guy, he sees the money and cards, takes it and runs, while your off the hook with minimal losses. Something I’m definitely going to start using.
The plane finally landed in Atlanta around 9:30, which was only about an hour late, and so my connecting flight was still there, but the gate was already closed off. We had to talk to an Airtran employee who had to go down to see if there were any open seats left for the three of us trying to transfer, since they had long ago given away the seats that were reserved for us. Luck was on our side and with one extra seat to spare, we were on our way to LA.
I didn’t have nearly as interesting travel companions on this flight, and so after accidentally calling a woman’s 6 year old son a girl several times, I slept most of the way out. In my defense, he did have a very girlish face and his hair was in pig tails, I mean, what do you expect from me. At least use a blue ribbon or something.
Almost immediately after picking my bags up off of the carousel, Ryan showed up. We caught up on this and that over burritos from this Spanish speaking 24-hour burrito shack down the street from his house and went back to his place.
If you know Ryan at all, you’d probably understand why I’d have no clue what to expect out of a place that he would be living in on his own. And although I had been prepared by stories I’d heard, it was still a pretty awesome experience. The walls are obviously covered in posters and the living room only has three pieces of furniture: a TV stand with a broken door that he found in the trash, a lawn chair, and a very comfortable couch, that I can’t help but call anything but a ‘love sofa’. His mattress is in the kitchen, and there’s a picnic table (the type without benches unfortunately) in what most people would make a bed room. Its perfect.
Today Ryan had accidentally misread which of clients had cancelled today (he does rehabilitation work with autistic children) and so we awoke to a call from his boss asking where he was. With that he was off and running, and I stayed behind with a key to his place so I could write this post, go for a run, and probably take a swim in the pool here at his apartment complex.
All and all it looks like its going to be the perfect get-a-way weekend. Fun, perfect weather, some good shows (X, JFA, Dr. Know, The Addicts), some natural hot springs action, and who knows what else.