Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Golden Ticket

I love to travel.  No, more than that, I love experiencing making a life in a new place.  As difficult as it may be to arrive somewhere new, I have found that it is typically much more difficult to leave.

So many places have changed my life and shaped the person I am today.  Because it isn't necessarily the geography alone that I have found inspiring, but the people I have met in those various places.  It just goes to show that there are truly amazing people everywhere.  People whose lives become intertwined with yours.  It is a truly magical thing.

Some of my best friends are scattered all across the United States.  They are people I met seemingly by chance, in unexpected places: craigslist, restaurants, and other random encounters.  They are like family to me now, having proved their friendship in a number of generous ways.  

If life were similar to any means of transportation, well then I would say that I have the Golden Ticket. I have been fortunate enough to hop around from place to place every few years and set up camp for awhile.  It hasn't always been easy.  In fact, there were days that were incredibly lonely.  But the overall experience of meeting new people, tasting different foods, working at different jobs and even struggling to get by, was so beneficial to my existence that I wouldn't have traded one minute of it; even the very worst minute. 

The most difficult aspect of having the Golden Ticket, is the moment when it is time to depart.  I do not enjoy saying goodbyes.  

Goodbyes make you think back to your first hello, and how sweetly satisfying the encounter has been.  They are bittersweet. But each person has a different calling.  And for whatever reason, mine has been to slowly travel from one end of the country to the next; accumulating a wealth of friendships and experiences.  

Where it is all heading, I'm not entirely sure.  

Yesterday, with the spare change I rolled all last week, I purchased a ticket to New York City.  It is my next stop on this ever unfolding journey.  I have no idea how long I will stay there: two weeks, two months, or maybe even two years.  Who knows...

I'm exciting to reconnect with some friends who had said goodbye to me once upon a time.  Their paths took them to New York, and we didn't know when we would meet again.  So you see?  They had a Golden Ticket as well.  And when you are fortunate enough to get your hands on one, you'd better climb aboard.  

My friendships make it difficult to leave a place.  But they are also the very same reason I am all the more determined to make my way back around.  I understand that their Golden Ticket may be much different from mine; a marriage, a career, a new baby... These are the factors that play into a person staying settled in one place.  They are the greatest reasons I can think of to stay in one spot, and it is exciting to see what each person accomplishes in their given cities and states.  I love these friends of mine.  I love and respect all that they have achieved.  

In that respect, I am homesick.  Because home to me is wherever my heart is.  And today, my heart is with each and every person I love and miss across the United States. 

Hellos may one day mean that you will have to say goodbye.  But goodbyes can be sweet, when you realize that the next time you see those faces... it will be much happier than when you last saw them.  

This path of mine can sometimes feel a little lonely.  But then I remember how much love I carry with me wherever I go.  And it is a comforting thought; to know that I can go anywhere and feel right at home.  

So the Golden Ticket is in fact, so much more than a way out: it is also the way back.  And it never ever expires... 


Southern Comfort Manhattan

1 1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes of Bitters

Stir and strain over rocks 
Garnish with a cherry

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