What you focus on, you create more of. And these past couple of months have brought wonderful opportunities to build relationships new and old with the amazing humans wandering this earth alongside me.
A couple of months ago I was walking down the street of Lexington, Virginia. My friend Mary Beth and I had just hiked McAfee Knob and stopped through her former college town for lunch. As I stepped out of the restaurant, I passed a man who looked oddly familiar. As I continued to walk up the block, I said to Mary Beth, “I think that was my neighbor from Hawaii…” She laughed and said, “Probably not, but ok!” and I turned around to get a better look for myself and say hello to Bob – should it be him!
Sure enough, it was Bob. Our respective Hawaiian surf shacks shared a wall with one another, and it turns out he was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him.
That run-in with Bob sparked a chain of beautiful connections with friends new and old. That following week, I reached out to a badass gal, Alana, who I had backpacked with once before eight years ago. She was a stone’s throw away in Richmond, and that weekend we shared 11 miles of trails, ramen bombs, sunsets, and sunrises. Despite spending no more than 72 hours together over the last 8 years, she is one of those souls with whom I naturally and so beautifully click with.
In May, I completed my graduate coursework and returned to Knoxville for a couple of weeks prior to graduation and my next role. Here, I reconnected with a friend, Nicole, who I had worked with at the Nantahala Outdoor Center with 7 years ago. Despite not being especially close during our time at NOC, she has quickly become my closest friend in Knoxville and is so kind to introduce me to the world of climbing and my new favorite ritual: Wednesday night beer/yoga!
At the end of May, my mother joined me on a roadtrip as I made my way to Boston for my new job at Northeastern University. We stopped in several cities and saw old friends along the way. I had the chance to reconnect with my friend Bridget, a fellow Gamecock and my roommate from my time in Australia. We shared drinks and apps at a rooftop bar in the Big Apple and she joined my mother and me for the Bachelorette premiere <3. The following night, I reconnected with my best friend from first grade, Astrid, and her boyfriend Jason who I had last seen on the other side of the world in Shanghai. Once in Boston, my mom and I shared
a̶ ̶b̶o̶t̶t̶l̶e̶ bottles of wine with another first grade best friend, Hillary, who devastatingly moved away from Vienna when I was 7.
Once in Boston, I had the opportunity to reunite with Ashley and Eddie, two of my closest friends who I met while living in Hawaii. We reveled in Bachelorette Mondays, margaritas at an equivalently mediocre Mexican restaurant in Worcester as our favorite Mexico Lindo in Hawaii, and picked up like no time had passed.
A few days later, I reconnected with Jenn, Matt, and Isabel – friends whose paths I’ve crossed in the most unlikely circumstances while traveling. I met Matt in Futaleufu, Chile in December of 2013 where we were both exploring the country’s amazing landscapes and whitewater. After spending time in Bariloche with him and his friend Logan (I spent more time with the toilet as I had giardia at the time!). I saw them again in Durango, Colorado as I made a pit-stop on my way to work out west. There, I met the ray of sunshine who is Jenn Tormey 🙂
Jenn invited me to the Cape with her partner Reed for a couple of weekends of pure bliss: sunshine, surfing, sailing, good food, better people, ukulele jamming, and mudslides. These people are gems!
A few days later, my work at Northeastern University united me with 60 amazing, inspired people who share similar goals and work in the field of international education. I met the colleagues and friends that will be my family in Greece this fall, and undoubtedly spent a few too many nights up until the wee hours of the morning with this bunch of passionate people.
Upon returning to Charlottesville, the wave of spending time with new and wonderful people continued. Through a Bachelorette viewing party at my friend Becca’s (yes, the Bachelorette is a staple in my life and continually brings people together <3!), I was introduced to a wonderful group of ladies. We spent the Fourth of July driving through windy, gravel roads of a winery and did a sunset hike in the Shenandoah where our friend Margaret, a thru-hiker, had an opportunity to provide some trail magic. (You can see Peter devouring his surprise sandwich and beer on the left :P)
These beautiful people have left me feeling inspired. If life is about sparking souls, then these past few months have been some of the richest.
Ramen Bomb Recipe
Buy one packet of block ramen and one packet of instant mashed potatoes. Boil water. Add water to ramen using 1/2 of the seasoning packet to start. Stir in 1/4 packet of instant taters (be conservative). ENJOY THE MOST HEARTY TRAIL FOOD!