Seven States, Four Days: Saying Goodbye to the East Coast

I leave for Uganda one week from today. It’s a little scary, I have to admit – I’m the only student from Georgetown participating in the program, and I’ll be spending the next four months away from friends and family in a very new environment. That being said, I am so excited to spend a semester away from Georgetown, putting into practice ideas and research techniques which I’ve spent the last two and a half years learning about. Stay tuned for updates re: my thirty-hour saga of flights & layovers.

Last week, I returned to DC to work for a little bit, and spend some time with friends who aren’t already abroad. My childhood best friend flew up to meet me in Georgetown so that we could spend a few more days together before she moves to Dallas and I leave for Uganda. It wouldn’t be me traveling if it didn’t include #struggles – her flight was delayed four hours, they lost our car rental reservation, we got a grand total of three hours of sleep before our parking pass expired – but we managed to have an incredible time, regardless. Morgan hasn’t done much traveling, so we decided to tackle the entire East Coast in the four days she had to visit me. We are nothing if not ambitious, sometimes to the point of stupidity.

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Coconut-stuffed french toast bigger than my face

We started our roadtrip with breakfast in Baltimore. Definitely stop by Miss Shirley’s Cafe in the Inner Harbor the next time you visit – but maybe order something to split, because we struggled.

We were a little worried about the condition of the roads heading north, but we timed our trip perfectly – the roads were clear, but the snow still made for great pictures. Pretty sure the photo on the left was taken at a gas station near Wilmington, so now we can say we’ve been to Delaware. Exciting!

Next, we headed up to Philadelphia – a first for both of us – where, like the true historians we are, we spent .3 seconds looking at the bell with the crack in it before seeking out the best cheesesteaks in the city.

We concluded our first day of travel with a stopover in New York, where we spent a relaxing night in with my older sister. It was particularly exciting for me, because I had my new phone shipped to her house – I was finally able to graduate from the flip phone I’d been using since breaking my iPhone in Tanzania last May (a long story for another day). Total miles clocked: 278.

We got a late start on Wednesday morning – after all, we had to recover a little from the three hours of sleep we had gotten the night before – but made it to our next destination, Mystic, Connecticut, around 2:00 in the afternoon. My aunt relocated to Mystic from California about a year ago, and opened an incredible gallery which I discuss here. We hung out with her for a few hours, grabbed lunch at the breezy Red36, and then walked down to the iconic Mystic drawbridge.


IMG_20180111_200145.jpgOf course, this is the Northeast in January, so it’s pitch black outside by 4:00 every day. That made the last leg of our day’s journey a little tricky, but we successfully made it to Boston without dying on their skinny one-way roads. Pizza delivery and on-demand movies rounded out the night. Total miles clocked: 494.

Again, parking pass expiration proved to be the only thing that could incentivize us into waking up before noon. But mere exhaustion proved to be no match for Flour Bakery’s amazing pastries and coffee.

Yes, I’m drinking iced coffee even though there’s snow on the ground.

I last visited Boston with my mom, when I was eleven years old, to attend Do Something’s Social Action bootcamp for kids and teenagers interested in social entrepreneurship and innovation. It was my first real taste of travel, and one of my favorite memories from the trip was being allowed to drink a coffee from Flour before the first day of the conference.

Revitalized from breakfast, we explored the historic Boston Commons. We pretty much just wandered around until we found interesting things, which resulted in a lot of fun, and a lot of truly ridiculous photos. Big thanks to our friend Poe for letting us hang all over him for a selfie.

Boston was definitely a highlight of our trip. It was amazing to return with a fresh set of eyes, almost a decade later, and to be able to share that with one of my favorite people in the world.

Snapchat-1113641509.jpgTime to return home. We (I) miscalculated travel time by a bit, and decided we had time to stop off in Providence before driving to Manhattan for our 7:15 dinner reservations. In reality, we definitely did not have time for this, but no ragrets – the oysters were delicious. By the time we realized our mistake, it was 4:00pm and we were a minimum of four hours away from the city. I should mention at this point that I don’t have a driver’s license, so Morgan was heroically shuttling us around the country. The aforementioned 494 miles in two days, combined with incredible fog and scary driving conditions, made this one of the more stressful parts of our journey. No worries, though – no one died, and we ended the night with raclette and wine from Murray’s Cheese Bar with two of my dearest friends from school. Total miles clocked: 727.

Thus concludes the interesting part of our trip. We spent most of the next day driving back to DC (total miles: too many to count [953] [thank you, Morgan]). We crashed on a friend’s couch in Navy Yard and napped for enough hours that I’m not sure it still constituted a nap. We finished off our trip with huge bowls of ramen from Oki Bowl in Georgetown, and crammed in a few more hours of sleep before Morgan’s 6:00am flight from Dulles.

Three tanks of gas, four days, and almost a thousand miles later, Morgan and I had conquered most of the northeastern United States (we’ll be back for you, Maine). This was our fourth trip together; over the past two years, we’ve explored Cancun, DC, and most of Texas, with many more to come. Morgan is about to start the next chapter of her life in Dallas, so wish us well as we embark on big travel in 2018.

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