travel ...

Starting Real Life

So, what did I do between finishing college and starting "independence" and "adulthood"? Well, I put adulthood off for a year and earned a Master's degree. Okay okay, now what did I do? Here's a list of what I did:


That's it?


What I actually did

I traveled, a lot.

timeframe destination transportation pictures
05/26 -- 06/05 San Diego, CA flight
06/15 -- 06/25 Seattle, WA flight link
06/28 -- 07/09 Yellowstone/Tetons (WY) road trip link
07/15 -- 07/16 New York, NY drive
07/30 -- 07/31 New York, NY move-in
08/14 -- 08/14 I saw Marc Rebillet live at SummerStage in Central Park train, foot
08/17 -- 08/19 Springfield, MO flight
08/20 -- 08/27 Philly, Salisbury, College Park train, drive

You can tell a lot about my sense of humor from the photos I took. We're all still kids at heart, right?

There's still a global pandemic happening, so we couldn't do international travel. Fortunately, there are plenty of interesting places to see in the States.

To start the summer, I almost immediately took a flight with my mom to Cali to see my brother and his girlfriend. Mom had no plans, she just needed a week to relax and be with her children. Zack and B were working while we were there. This culminated in a relaxing and uneventful trip. I joined Zack and B for (primarily) bike workouts (I did a run and a swim too). I played a lot of Terraria. This trip was exactly what I needed to recover from grad school.

Next, I came home for a week and ordered some hiking boots and socks. Then my dad took me to College Park, and I met up with my roommates for a trip to Seattle. One of my roommates got a job in Seattle, so she moved out west. The girls wanted to see her, so I booked a flight with them and we planned a hiking trip. Of course, our now-resident-in-Seattle roommate merely moved in 4 days before us east-coast-kids showed up. Her place is awesome. We did 4 hikes (one in the snow, which was awesome -- please wear sunscreen). Then her stuff arrived and we helped her move in. And then we flew back. Awesome trip.

Towards the end of that trip, my former roommate and I planned a road trip to Yellowstone. He just got a job (rip job market, COVID sucks) so he wanted to do something before starting. So we rented a car and drove out west. Of the notable stops we made, The Corn Palace sticks out. I remembered watching some YouTube videos by Ted Nivison, so we had to check it out:

It was exactly as expected. It was everything I could have hoped for from Mitchell, South Dakota. I should note that in the middle of the country, COVID basically never happened. We'd see the occasional mask, but they were never required. On the coasts, masks are basically mandatory. Oh well.

We made a handful of stops. Full route.

After that, I frantically searched for a place to live in NYC. My cousin and her boyfriend came to visit my parents' condo in OC, so I hung out with them before/while chugging through StreetEasy. I had done a few months of prep work vetting a borough, neighborhood, pricing, and timing, so all I had to do was select some places and schedule appointments. Then, my dad drove us to Philly and we met up with my uncle (who lived in NYC for a handful of years) who chauffered us through the city. We stayed at a hotel (fronted by my upcoming job) who charged my card hella money for no apparent reason (though they did refund most of it -- the remaining charge was for one day of valet parking, which is fine).

My planned apartment tour schedule certainly did not go as planned. We opened the day with breakfast, then toured a very luxurious apartment (The Delmar) in LIC very close to my job. I basically had to sign with them on the spot, or else I wouldn't get the apartment. It was slightly over budget (though I could make it work), so we decided to see other places first. I was informed later in the day that the apartment was snatched up. Stress. I had a few more places to visit -- most of them just didn't meet my expectations. Finally, I was able to reschedule a tour for an apartment that was an excellent compromise between all my wishes. This was at the end of the day, and I was feeling pretty beat up. I decided to go for the apartment, and boy howdy has it been a solid choice. It's a lovely one-bed apartment in a quiet and quaint area of Sunnyside. Pleased thus-far (as of publication time).

Lovely. Then, I moved into the apartment. One day, I saw a tweet by Marc Rebillet that he'd be live in Central Park for SummerStage. It was free, so I went -- good experience! Then, I flew out to Springfield in Missouri to see my high school friend Alex. He went to school out there, and now lives there. It was so great to see him -- it was like there wasn't even a gap from the last time we saw each other. True friendship. He took me to Silver Dollar City in Branson, which is an old western theme/amusement park. It was not busy, so we rode all the big coasters multiple times. We also did the walking tour of Marvel Cavern, which was pretty neat. I'd never been in a cavern/cave until that point.

Alex also has a cat named Topher, and he's just the sweetest cat. Alex says Topher is a "cuddle slut" and he's right.

To finish off the summer, I met up with my girlfriend Liz in Philly to celebrate my aunt's (and cousin's) birthday. It was a few weeks past their actual birthday, but we all got together and celebrated anyway. I enjoyed it, and I loved being with Liz. We got to see my cousins, who I quite enjoy being around. Then we drove back to Salisbury and I showed Liz my hometown. I took Liz to OC and we hung out there. Turns out all my mini-golfing practice as a kid paid off (sorry Liz). Later my dad drove us to her house near College Park, and the next day we helped her brother move in to UMD. I stayed with her at her apartment off-campus, and the next day I took the Amtrak back to NYC.

And that's it. Summer of fun :) Liz starts school, and she'll come visit me for Labor Day weekend. Then I start my job!

Closing thoughts

If you're ever in a position to have free time to do whatever you want, take it. If you can afford it, do it. This summer wasn't cheap, but I wouldn't change anything. I'm very fortunate to be in this position.

Buy a bidet.

title: Summer 2021
date: 2021-08-31
publish: yes
tags: summer