Earlier this month I spent a week in Philadelphia with a dear friend of mine for her birthday. I haven’t been to Philly in years and found myself quickly falling in love with the city all over again. I’ve lived in Virginia my entire life and have spent the past ten years calling a very, very small mountain town my home. To say that city life is wonderfully exotic and exciting to me is an understatement.
The city is alive and vibrant in a way I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been to large cities before – DC, Chicago, Las Vegas, Montreal, Dublin, London, New Delhi, Hyderabad – but this is my first trip going on my own with the opportunity of wandering around by myself, learning to navigate and not get hit by traffic (spoiler alert: I was successful!). Also, staying with my friend kept me out of the touristy part of town; though I’m sure I still stuck out like a sore thumb at times, I really began to appreciate the rhythm of the city and the life I found there. I had no tour group to travel with, no conference to attend, no study abroad program to keep pace with. I went because I wanted to go, I explored because I was curious, and I had Thai food for the first time in my life. (Spoiler alert: I loved it!)