The train rolls ahead and I’m lost in a sea of fall colors. The shades of New Jersey are overtaking me and I’m lost in the beauty of the world.
It’s hard not to be overwhelmed with joy when you allow yourself to appreciate life in its full spectrum. I’m on my way to Washington DC, and even though I’ve been there twice already – I’m still so excited. Each time I’ve gone I’ve had a different experience. I’ve seen more and it’s opened my eyes in new ways.
Regardless whether this is my first train ride, my first time in DC in the Fall, or my first return to the city as the person I am now… there’s something else that matters just a little more than new experiences.Sometimes it’s not as important to see the world as it is to see friends you can take on the world with.
This trip, this time, I’m visiting my best friend who just moved to the city recently. It’s not about “visiting DC” – it’s about seeing the city through her eyes, her life. It’s about walking in her shoes and not about checking off landmarks.
As much as I love being a tourist, wandering around the Tidal Basin, perusing through the many museums, and embracing America… I love fostering a friendship more.
As we get older it becomes harder to keep up with friends. You notice a few drop off when there isn’t a mutual effort or when values and life stages don’t match up anymore. It takes time, love, and work to maintain and nurture a friendship.
But that’s why the friends that are still around are the most important to spend time with. As many DC activities as there are, I’d be perfectly happy sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine and laughing for hours. That's because those are the moments that make your heart happier than taking a picture in front of the Lincoln Memorial.The same goes for some of the other trips I’ve taken this year.
In January, I returned to Atlanta for a third time to reunite with my college roommates. Regardless how many times I’ve been to the city, it’s always a ridiculous time filled with pizza, white cheddar popcorn, and a little too much vodka.
I could go to Piedmont Park, the Greenbelt, have the city’s biggest mimosa, and visit the brewery, but it’s the 4am dance party that makes the trip memorable. It’s the morning huddle laughing at our current states that makes me want to come back again.
It’s all the same for when I went to Austin in August. I’d previously gone by myself for SXSW and had a really inspiring time. But, alas, I was by myself and the memories were more about what I jotted down in my notebook from sessions than painting the town red.
So this round, when the soundtrack was The Chainsmoker’s “Closer”, it was a completely different experience. I got to see it from a local’s perspective. I got to go to my best friend’s favorite places, the hole-in-the-wall joints, meet her friends, and eat tons of tacos.
Sure, I absolutely loved Barton Springs, shopping on South Congress, and going out on Dirty 6. But I loved singing in the truck, drinking espresso martinis in a coffee shop and being the loudest people there, and late night banter more than any scenic spot.Now, it was a little different when I went to Boston in September - a city I had never been to. Yet it was less about checking things off of a bucket list and more about the best places to take my friend’s golden retriever.
Of course, I couldn’t stop smiling when we walking through Boston Common or when we drove past the really pretty brownstone apartments. But the simple joy of getting ready together and eating mac and cheese like we used to when we were Freshman roommates in college was the real thing that made my heart happy.
I loved Boston for its New England charm. I loved the trip because I got to me myself without any restrictions with a friend who’s been in my life for years, and I don’t plan on letting her out of it. Even more of a plus was her Golden being THE BEST at cuddling, but that’s a whole other dog-obsessed story.
So, while the world is beautiful to see… at the end of your life, it’s not only about the places you got to go to. It’s about the people that are still around to see them with, to talk to them about, and to remember… together.
Sometimes it’s not as important to see the world as it is to see friends you can take on the world with.
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Sonya Matejko is a writer who is vibrantly falling in love with life in NYC and around the world. Her writing is featured on a variety of high-profile platforms and niche blogs. Her most popular article has been shared over half a million times on Facebook alone. Sonya writes about the dating world [...]