A week from today I’m going on vacation. Actually, it technically starts this Friday since that day begins the long holiday weekend. But I don’t leave town until Tuesday. I believe it was back in April that I wrote in this blog that I’m feeling edgy and just have to get away. I wanted someplace not too far/not too expensive…with beauty and history. I decided that Philadelphia would fit that bill…and that I would take my first ever solo vacation.
So, on Tuesday, I’m boarding an Amtrak train in Boston and getting off at MetroPark, New Jersey to meet up with an old friend from my high school days. We both worked at the Cape Cod Mall together squeezing oranges and serving Orange Julius’ to the blue-haired masses. And, in case you’re wondering, an Orange Julius contains “fresh-squeezed orange juice, crushed ice, simple syrup and an all-natural dairy compound.”. Amazing that I remember that 15 years later. And, for the record…simple syrup is sugar and water, and the all-natural dairy compound is essentially powdered milk and powdered egg-whites. It looks like cocaine but smells really good!
Anyway, my friend, Mel, is picking me up at the train station promptly at 6:53 p.m. and I’ll spend the following day with her exploring the New Jersey coastline (Point Pleasant, I think). On Thursday, she’ll drop me off at the train station and I’ll head to Philadelphia. I’m staying at the Latham Hotel…so if you know horrible things about that place, let me know ASAP so I can find another hotel!
I still don’t know if I’m going to do all of the traditionally touristy things in Philadelphia. I mean, I’ll probably check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but I’m more interested in seeing the city itself. I like roaming neighborhoods and seeing how the city works. I’m bringing my digital camera and should return home with lots of pictures to bore you with in my Photo Gallery.
Anyway, after a day or so of solo Philly exploration, I’m meeting up with my friend, Chris. He’s going to drive me out to New Hope, PA (apparently Pennsylvania’s version of Provincetown…on a smaller scale…and without the ocean…and with less gay people. OK – it’s probably a typical charming tourist trap with some gay people thrown in). But it sounds fun and pretty.
The next day, we’re planning to explore Longwood Gardens (south of Philly). It’s an enormous botanical garden park with fountains, etc… The stuff I’ve seen in brochures and on-line make it look amazing.
Finally, I return to Philly and do some more solo exploration and head back to Boston on Monday afternoon (July 12th).
I think this trip will be good for me. I’ve never really done anything alone before. Granted, I’m meeting up with people (Mel and Chris) along the way, but much of my time will be spent with myself – something I’ve never really done before. I went from living with family on Cape Cod, to living in a college dorm, to living with 2 room mates, to living with Matt for 9 years. I’m hoping this time away will give me an opportunity for some self-exploration and growth, while also exploring new territory (personally and geographically).
I just hope I don’t find myself to be a bad travel companion. In the immortal words of bad 1970′s music: “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.”
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