Last week my best friend, Carla, who currently resides in Los Angeles, told me that she was coming to visit her hometown in northern Virginia and that she was wondering if I'd be willing to set up a trip to visit her. While at first I wasn't sure if I'd be able to take off a few days from both of my jobs, I knew immediately that seeing her was exactly what I needed for both my mental health and to motivate me to continue saving up my money to make the move to Los Angeles this spring. For those of you who don't already know, I currently live at home in New York, just outside of NYC. So I talked to my bosses at both of my jobs and was able to take off of work from Friday, January 19th to Monday, January 22nd. I then booked a bus ticket to and from Washington D.C., which is about a 20 minute drive from Carla's hometown. It certainly wasn't the fastest way to travel there, but for a broke 24 year old living in New York, it was the only way I was going to make the trip actually happen. I boarded the bus at Port Authority station in Times Square and within about 5 hours, I had made it to D.C. I took the metro from there to a town in Virginia that was closer to Carla's home and she picked me up from there, accompanied by her mom and their adorable dachshund, Douglas. Friday night we spent just hanging out and catching up. We drank tea, watched T.V. and complained about the cold.
Saturday morning we helped Carla's mom declutter some boxes that had been blocking her closet for about 10 years! While th
is may sound like a boring and tedious task that no one would want to do on their vacation, I actually didn't mind at all because I love decluttering. To me, it feels extremely cleansing to help another person rid themselves of the objects in their life that no longer serve them. That evening we met up with a group of Carla's friends to have dinner at a place called True Food. Carla and I are both vegan, so we always need to go to restaurants that either are vegan or have vegan options for us. I opted for a delicious sandwich called the T.L.T., which contained tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado. This sandwich came with a kale salad and a side of sweet potatoes (which I gave to Carla because I hate sweet potatoes).
We had an early dinner, around 5:00pm, so we ate a second small dinner later that night before we went out, which was Daiya vegan mac & cheese with broccoli, onion and garlic. This was also the night that I discovered Old Bay seasoning, which is spicy and absolutely delicious, and something I am certainly going to have to look for at my local grocery store. That night we drove out to Baltimore, Maryland with a different group of Carla's friends for an underground rave called Cotton Candy Planet. The night was filled with lots of hooping, dancing, cotton candy, dubstep and riddim. We stayed at the rave until about 4:00am and then headed to the after party at someone's house, where we were more interested in the dogs, cat and fish than anything else that was going on there. We ended up getting back to Carla's house around 7:00am on Sunday morning, just as the sun was starting to come up.
On Sunday we struggled to get up in time for our 2:00pm lunch reservation at P.F. Chang's with Carla's extended family; we ended up arriving closer to 2:30pm. Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely obsessed with Asian style food. I ended up ordering a spicy tofu with broccoli dish and a side of lo mein noodles, which I simply requested to be made vegan so I could know for sure that there wasn't anything sketchy in there. The dish was good but could've been more spicy in my opinion.
That evening we had originally planned to meet up with a few of Carla's friends at a bar, but ended up driving up to D.C. to do some nighttime urban exploration. Neither myself or Carla are big drinkers anyway. In fact, I recently found out that most alcoholic beverages aren't vegan, because sometimes animal byproducts are used in processing, yet another reason to cut drinking down to a minimum. So we ended up seeing some awesome views and getting some cool photos that night, something I honestly preferred way more than I probably would've sitting in a bar and getting shitfaced.
Monday was the day I left to go back to New York. That morning we got up semi-early so that we could check out this new art exhibition called Parallel Universe located at Artechouse in D.C. at 10:00am. We were able to get some awesome photos and even a couple of hoop videos! If you'd also like to take some hoop videos at this exhibit, be sure to go early enough to beat the crowds and always ask for permission first. We attended the exhibit with Carla's mom, who then headed off to work. After I said goodbye and thanked her for having me as a guest, we walked over the the Washington Monument. Here we took some hoop videos, from a distance, before heading off to find some lunch. We ended up taking the metro to Chinatown and finding a vegan restaurant called HipCityVeg. We each ordered a different wrap, one with vegan beef and one with vegan chicken, and each ate half and half so we could try them both. I certainly preferred the vegan chicken one, unsurprisingly since chicken was always my favorite kind of meat back when I used to eat it. After lunch we took some photos in Chinatown while walking over to Union Station, where I got onto the bus to head back to New York.
Overall, this trip was really fun and I'm so glad I was able to make it happen. Seeing and spending time with Carla was such a refresher for me. It lifted me out of my seasonal depression and reminded me of how capable I am to travel on my own. Spending time with Carla also reminded me of how much I love her and how much I can't wait for us to be living together, if not under the same roof, than at least in the same city, once I make the move to Los Angeles.