In typical Shut Up and Go fashion, I took off to Washington DC when I saw a round-trip bus ticket for two for $36. Not bad for a 4.5 hour bus roundtrip…although still not beating our $8 fare with Megabus last year. But also in typical Shut Up and Go fashion, I shut up and went without much preparation. 50% of shutting up and going in this way typically tends to be an exciting sense of spontaneity I live for, and the other 50% being everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong.
Get this: before booking my trip, my schedule was completely open to work at my 12049814 odd jobs for two whole weeks, but when no one was emailing work opportunities, I booked my trip. Logical. The day before I leave, I get four offers for exactly the two days I’m gone. EXACTLY THE TWO DAYS I’M GONE. I know some people struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out) when they travel, but I just struggle with MO (missing out). I missed out on one dog-walking gig, one French teaching gig, and two important event dinners.
I tried rescheduling my ticket, but when I found it was going to cost $40 to modify the ticket I had bought for $36, I said “nuh-uh I don’t think so” and started packing my bags, putting the missed opportunities behind me.
I wake up at 5:30am the next morning to get to the bus station on time for my bus at 7am, except that when I arrive, I realize my bus is not at 7am; it’s at 9am. I then reread my e-confirmation email thinking I could use my e-confirmation as an e-ticket to board a bus in New York City in the year 2015, as one would think, but then I read this:
What? The next hour included stressing about if Greyhound had at-the-station printing, which I doubted because Port Authority Bus Terminal, as most New Yorkers know, is not the prettiest or most modern bus terminal, but yes, they did in fact have printers.
[The view of Manhattan from New Jersey]
This being at least my third time in DC, I was in no rush to see all the monuments, visit the White House, or even do offbeat, local things like Ben’s Chili Bowl; I just wanted to be in DC. I wanted to just stroll around as if I lived in DC.
Upon my arrival, I realized I should reach out to an old friend, who unfortunately ended up being away on business, but who fortunately said this:
Now I can cancel my hostel and stay in my friend’s place…that even has a concierge! PERFECT! Everything was perfect! Except that when I called the hostel, they informed me that they weren’t going to refund me. I should have known.
My friend said to help myself to whatever food I wanted, but not wanting to abuse her hospitality, I only made a quick peanut butter sandwich…only to realize the peanut butter was SIX years old.
Needless to stay, I ran to Walmart to pick up some groceries.
I spent the next hour at this Walmart that looked more futuristic than the Walmart I had grown up with in the Midwest. Of course, with my budget, I had to stick to the $1.18 bottle of Nesquick, a $1.99 can of minestrone, and alright, I admit it, a $3.28 bottle of Walmart brand Sauvignon Blanc.
On my way “home,” I stopped to eat at some Vietnamese sandwich joint on H street, where I spent more time guessing the cashier’s nationality than actually eating my $5 tofu-veggie sandwich.
And I also passed this EAT THE RICH sticker, which I’m afraid my diet might have to soon resort to.
Because of the 50 degree weather and apparent strike of “good” luck compared to my morning and previous day, I decided to take a detour on my way “home” to the Washington Monument…
the Holocaust Museum…
and the White House.
Before getting home, I stopped into Chinatown Coffee Co for my daily dose of coffee, where I paid with a dollar bill with an entire ripped-off corner (the struggle is real) and finally made my way home.
Just to spill the entire coffee on my friend’s carpet.
How do you get invited to stay in someone’s apartment just to spill your coffee on their clean carpet. Jeez!
Trust me, I spent two hours blotting, scrubbing, drying, and freaking out. Nothing like making you forget you’re traveling like a good ol’ coffee spill. Thank god (and my friend) for having this stuff.
And then the moment of truth:
Although I believe everything happens for a reason and that the universe tries telling you your next move through signs, I also believe it’s nothing but an excuse people give themselves not to travel. The time will never be perfect. There will always be things to do, things you’re missing out on, things that go wrong, and with that, I tell you to shut up and go.