Best Friendship And State Hopping, 2015

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I spent the end of June and the beginning of July in the best of ways — Exploring and traveling with my best friend. We danced the night away in downtown Baltimore, were beach bums for two days in gorgeous Bethany Beach, Delaware and went winery-hopping in lovely little towns of Virginia. Small world as it is, another close friend of mine recently moved from Texas to Virginia. Last summer, Hannah, Meg and I were exploring wineries in Texas. It seemed that we were picking up where we left off, sharing hugs and wine and adventures in just a slightly different location.

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Let me backtrack to the year 2001 and explain to you my long-term love for Meg Tucker. She and I have been best friends for fourteen years. We met when she was nine and I was twelve. I had walked around the block with my dog every day for months, praying for a best friend to move into the very house she eventually moved into. I was brokenhearted when I found out she was a measly nine-year-old with a crush on my little brother to boot. Luckily she let go of the infatuation when she heard him tattle on me, and I quickly decided to let go of the age difference. The instant connection we’ve always shared has led us to believe that we are friend soul-mates. Always, we’ve had a lot of qualities in common and a lot definitely not in common. Current examples: She’s very single and I’m very not. I love to travel and she often prefers a staycation. I jump into things and she takes her time. We both have an intense love for people, new experiences and open-mindedness. She’s an ENFJ and I’m an ENFP. Our extreme similarities mixed with our striking differences sometimes make us want to momentarily kill the other, often quickly followed by the next moment when we’re trying to catch our breath from the fits of laughter. We continuously learn from one another and are both more accepting and understanding because of it. I find it liberating that she’s one of the few people that I can freely snap at, and comforting that she knows things about me that I haven’t ever told her.

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Briefly back to 2015 now. In between all of our travels, we made our way to Ellicott City, Maryland to BBQ with Meg’s fam. Every time I so much as step inside their doors, I am swept away by a sense of complete comfort and nostalgia. Here is where I spent two weeks after graduating high school, and have come back to often ever since. This is the house I slept in after eighteen-year-old me got my belly button pierced for the first time; Where Mrs. Tucker fretted over what my parents would do to her when I got back to Texas. It’s where Meg woke me up early one morning by jumping on me and I, still half asleep, asked her the now infamous question: “Do you think I am an insect that you can squash beneath your grasp!?” Where Meg’s little brother once played guitar for us after my flight back home was cancelled, and where I giddily spent one more night basking in the glow of my second family. In a world where everything changes, the Tucker residence has been a constant of mine for so long. Where laughter, drinks and good conversation are always shared, where Mrs. Tucker provides the best of home-cooked meals, where Mr. Tucker will always make bad jokes, and where I am affectionately and always referred to as “Tina.”

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My evening this time around was spent just like I imagined – Drinking margaritas on the back patio, being in stitches over silly but treasured memories and staying up late chatting with Meg’s mama as Meggie snoozed on the blow-up mattress.

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Reminiscing on my week spent state-hopping with my childhood and forever best gal pal has left me with a plethora of new memories and happy feels. When I think of Baltimore, I think of partying until the wee hours of the morning, followed by sleeping on someone’s floor for four hours, as if I was still a twenty-one year old lad. When I think Bethany Beach, I think of a good summer read and mangoritas. I think of an exquisite creamy crab soup at a little patio café, near the beach and on a gloriously perfect day. I think of getting unexpectedly drenched by the waves, shrieking and giggling and frantically trying to save all of our belongings. When I think Virginia, I think of scenic drives, great wine and even better friendships. I think of rooftop bars and heartfelt, honest conversations. And when I think of Ellicott City, Maryland? I think of my northern home.

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Visiting the Virginias, January 2015

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Already 2015 is proving to be wild and wonderful.

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I have a New Year’s resolution of visiting four new-to-me states this year. Within two days of 2015, I had accomplished half of this goal by exploring both of the gorgeous Virginias. This also meant getting lost with the best friend on a road trip, which is an unintentional ritual for us. We can’t recall a time we’ve visited the other without getting at least slightly lost. This time our plan was to leave Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and head back to Meg’s home in Arlington, Virginia. Despite living in the days of GPS, we managed to end up an hour and a half off route in another Virginian town. I’ve also had the pleasure of being lost in Austin, Baltimore, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh with this girl. It is an endless adventure with the two of us.

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In between West Virginia and getting lost, we found the most spectacular winery I’ve ever been to. (Coming from a wine-o, this says a lot.) Maggie Malick Wine Caves is a winery, cave and hill all rolled into one. I sipped on wine and then climbed to the top of the winery. And then rolled down the winery and got mud all over my new clothes. Because what else are you supposed  to do when you find a winery-cave-hill?! I mean, YORDAWHO. (You only roll down a winery hill once.)

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We made it back to Meg’s apartment in time to get spruced up for a night out on the town with a Redcoat for a haunted pub tour of Alexandria, Virginia. Usually these tours have upwards of 30 people, but on this particular night it was just me and my best friend. This just made our night exploring this eccentric and historic town all the more enchanting. I can almost still feel the chill in the air as I peeked through the window of a restaurant George Washington himself once dined, and where ghosts may or may not presently haunt. It was pure spooky magic creeping in on that dinner party, y’all. Afterward, we made our way back to our favorite bar of the night to talk to strangers and drink delicious chocolate porter. Our bartender charmed us with conversation and free drinks–including one scrumptiously bold cup of coffee for me upon request– and we left that night in a cab, feeling tipsy and giddy and giggly and incredibly alive.

The next day we had an absolutely divine brunch at Chadwick’s–a place so magical that we ventured there by first walking down a cobblestone street— and then made our way to D.C. to gaze at monuments and memorials.

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Here we are just casually chillin’ with Abe.

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Meg and her beau were smooching and being adorable so I decided to much less adorably kiss the air.

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My last morning in Virginia was spent on Meg’s apartment roof, a charming experience made complete with coffee and a lovely view of Arlington and D.C. If it was possible to fall even more in love with Virginia, I did in those moments.

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One of my favorite pictures of my trip was taken by Meg’s boyfriend, shortly after I had flown in from Austin. Meggie and I were just laughing and talking as we walked down the streets of Arlington together. Of our fourteen years of best friendship, nine of these have been spent traveling to see the other. I don’t know if a photo can completely capture the childish and weightless joy we always feel upon reuniting, but I do think that this one did a pretty decent job.

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I’m hoping that she and I will be lucky enough to get lost exploring the world together for as long as we both shall live.