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Indulge Your Inner Wanderer
By Luna Lark
About two weeks ago, I visited the City of Brotherly Love on a whim. I bought my bus ticket online in the middle of the night after convincing myself that I should go. Life is not for naysayers and the moon may have been full. Two days later, I went—eager, overwhelmed, groggy-eyed, and mentally squashing the butterflies bumping around my stomach. These are the stories you live to later tell your incredulous grandchildren that you once enjoyed spontaneity and adventure.
These impromptu trips tend to be poorly researched ones. That's a funny fact when you figure that my job as a writer requires so much page-flipping and web-scouring. Ever since college, when I realized how affordable bus rides can be, I've found excuses to shoot off to new places. Sometimes all I know about the place is what I learned in 8th grade geography class. I prefer to say, Qué será, será.
Case in point: I arrived to Philly half-asleep. I had taken advantage of the early morning bus ride by closing my eyes and slipping into dreamland. By the time I woke, I had no idea where I was and hadn't even looked up the address of where I was staying that night. Luckily I had looked up the weather before I left because it was drizzling. I grabbed my tiny suitcase and promptly put on my raincoat. From there on out, I wandered.
There is no shame in a little wandering. I wasn't in Philadelphia to partake of luxuries. I didn't need a cab or horse-carriage. I just wanted to gawk. I pushed through the crowds of students milling outside of Drexel University buildings, thinking that not too long ago, I had been one of them. Seeing their faces, likening them to people I had met at some other point in life, thrilled me. People-watching should be a more popular pastime. I mused at all of the buildings, from the old to the new to the well-kept to the dilapidated. I had never seen so many adult bookstores or strip clubs before. I walked for hours, not really knowing where I was heading.
All I knew was that I was in Philadelphia, a place I had only passed through before and that now, I was tasting it for the first time. It tasted good and I didn't need a tour bus or packed itinerary to discover that.
The destination matters, but when the bus fare's cheap, the room is free, and the time crunch is non-existent, the destination matters less than the journey.