Devil May Care: A Summer of Travel

memoirs, usa travels

In my last post, I wrote about my internship and eventual job for a theatre in Florida. I was offered the job during my internship, and I accepted it on the condition that I could leave for the summer before beginning work. I had a season of travel planned, and I didn’t consider it optional to not go. I had been gifted a bit of money and I had a dream of getting out and about. In hindsight, asking for three months off before I even started work was a pretty bold move, and such a 22 year old thing to do. Thank goodness for being 22 once in your life.

My first adventure was a long weekend trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit my best friend from high school. I don’t have any pictures or mementos from that trip, and that’s mostly because we had a pretty lousy time. We didn’t fight or have a dramatic scene, we just didn’t do much of anything or have a lot to say to each other. It was on this trip that it became evident how far apart our lives had drifted, and that we no longer had almost anything in common. I couldn’t wait to go home.

My summer of travel was off to a particularly inauspicious start.

photo 1 (16)

Been there. Done that. Got the mug.

I followed this trip with a wild hare. I was besotted with Andy Warhol since doing a project on him in my Art History class in college, so I decided to fly to Pittsburgh to visit the Andy Warhol Museum. As I didn’t know a soul there, and the museum was the only item on my itinerary, I booked the first and last flight of the day to do the whole trip in less than 24 hours.

I loved my day at the museum, in part because of the art which I simply melted into, and another part because it was the first time in my life when I was completely anonymous and beholden to no one. I’d get a sense of this feeling again years later when I started my expat journey and I had days and days on my own to just wander Sydney while Partner-in-Crime was a work, and before I knew a soul. For a vacation, it’s an empowering feeling, but as a lifestyle choice, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Later that summer, I met my recent Yellow House roommate Julie in New York for a few days. This was my first time back to New York since my high school trip, and certainly a new experience as we were on our own, and this time I actually knew a number of people who lived there. I was lucky enough to have an old friend who was working in theatrical marketing who gifted us comp tickets to several shows, as well as gave me a whole bunch of swag, which made me feel terribly swanky. Most memorable was the Steppenwolf Theatre production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Gary Sinese and the Off Broadway bio of Janis Joplin, Love, Janis.

photo 4 (10)I’d planned the trip to coincide with Madonna’s concert at Madison Square Garden. At one point I’d been such a huge Madonna fan, and my love for her carried on enough at this point in my life that I was willing to drop a princely sum on tickets off Ebay. Honestly, I remember the concert being OK, not everything I’d hoped and dreamed. But, it was a tick off my must-do list. photo 2 (16)

Julie and I visited friends we knew from Florida, lunching, brunching, dining, and museum-ing our days away. I made my first ever trip to the Museum of Modern Art, the only visit I’d make in the old building before it moved to its new and current digs. Julie and I struggled our way through picking subway lines and hailing taxis, imagining what it would be like to be full time residents like our friends.

The big trip of the summer was my three week trip to Germany to visit my best friend from college, V, which I’ve already written about in my post about catching the “travel bug.” In that post, I mentioned that I’d love to find the pictures from the trip, and lo and behold, here and my Mom’s house, I laid hands on them. I thought I’d share just a few (I’m sparing V and myself from splashing on the world wide web photos of our nearly 14 years ago selves).

We were based in Cologne, whose most prominent landmark is the towering and grand Cathedral.

photo 4 (11)

We spent a couple of days in Berlin, a city that I loved (does anyone go to Berlin and not love it?). V’s aunt worked in the Reichstag, so we got a personal tour. photo 2 (17)


We also took the train to Amsterdam. I could write pages about our shenanigans, none of the involving drugs. Our tour of the Anne Frank House was a somber and memorable affair, of course, no shenanigans there.

photo 3 (9)This was also the summer that I bought my car, which I memorialized during the Expat Blog Challenge – shinier here than when I sold 5 (1)

In September, I returned to Florida. The day after I started work, the New York I’d visited six weeks earlier ceased to exist forever in an act of terrorism no one ever saw coming.

On the homefront, it wouldn’t be long before my friendship with the person I’d visited in Raleigh would be over, ending with a silence when both of us just stopped calling.

I’m happy to report that V and I remain dear friends to this day. We’d see each other again – in New York, as it happened – and again in Paris, and at now at least weekly on Facebook messenger. And as far as I know, the Andy Warhol Museum is still alive and well and living in Pittsburgh, enjoying its ongoing fifteen minutes of fame.

So, some things remain, some grow stronger, some change, and some perish altogether. We never know until time reveals it what will befall which fate. I can see from many years on from these travels I embarked on for no other reason than to fill my soul that there can be no greater argument for following whatever part of your 22 year old spirit exists and visit the people and places you long for whenever you are able.



2 thoughts on “Devil May Care: A Summer of Travel

  1. Cosette

    That all sounds pretty darn amazing. I love Andy Warhol too and have been lucky enough to attend some exhibits of his work, but I’ve never been to his museum. I too have spent too much on seeing Madonna (two or three times), but she always puts on a great show.

    1. Cristin Post author

      I think our seats were just too far back, so it felt more like we were watching her on TV than actually seeing her live. I kept watching the monitors and forgetting to look at the stage.

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