As much as I enjoyed my travels, it felt good to put my bag down and leave it. It was a curious feeling the first morning when I awoke, first in my own bed (well to be fair that's untrue considering I don't have my own bed anywhere, anymore), and was able to reach for a fresh t-shirt and a pair of jeans which I hadn't worn since traveling! Denim on skin! What a bizarrely comfortable sensation.
Traveling is amazing, and really makes you appreciate everything you have at home, such as long showers, familiar food, and most importantly friends and family. I couldn't even imagine how much I would miss people. D.C. is full of transience, but I've been lucky to have some pretty stable friendships that I formed over the past six years. I didn't realize how much I would miss the comfort of them and their stability when everything else, including where I would be the next day, was up in the air (sometimes literally, if I was en flight).
But another wonderful thing that occurs during traveling, is the friendships you make. Often times they are sincere but fleeting, knowing you may never see the other person again. This is an unusual scenario considering you may end up spending days on end with someone; sight seeing, walking, eating, and sometimes sleeping next to them. And suddenly they're gone!
Alejandro was one of those friends I made. I honestly could not fathom backpacking without having met him. I think he really changed, and shaped the experience of my trip. Definitely for the best too! So when his work brought him to the states, and he was able to get a few days off and booked a flight to D.C. from Miami, I was thrilled.
Being the best person ever, he brought me cookies from Argentina! And I, in turn, forced my friend in D.C. to provide him accommodation in his house, where we all stayed in the same room for the weekend (just wanted to recreate the familiar hostel environment for him, obviously).
Needless to say, it was a fantastic time had by all. I ran him around my Nation's Capital like a crazy person. The first day I put him on a bike on D.C. streets and lead him around the Washington Monument, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Capital, and most importantly ended the day with a skate board session brought to him by my dear friends.
But I made sure he didn't just see the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, and Jefferson and a few of my favorite Smithsonians. I forced him to take a bite of a Ben's Chili Dog and eat some Chili Cheese fries. I took him out with a few friends to the Potomac at Georgetown and we kayaked and paddle boarded, all the while careful to not fall in and catch any of the disease I know float down that river.
It was really lucky to be able to continue a real friendship with Alejandro, even after traveling. Often times those friendships become just memories of your trip, but being able to show him a bit of my life at home was a privilege most travelers may not get to experience. I look forward to being hosted in Buenos Aires by him some day.