Most people who know me would testify to the fact that I’m a complete flake. I’ll openly admit to it. I make dinner plans and cancel last minute. I double book my afternoons and get stuck choosing between one thing or another, and inevitably disappointing someone. However, one thing I am good at is deciding to spontaneously do things. I have the guts to decide on the spot that I’m going to wake up at 5am the next morning to get a bus to Baltimore from New York, and that’s what just happened. In the last two days I experienced three cities, from running down 33rd Street of Manhattan, to exploring The National Mall at night, to enjoying the quaint atmosphere of Hampden, Baltimore. And didn’t decide to do so until the night before getting on the bus to leave.
For my first time ever in the District of Columbia, I had to see all the tourist sites. But I hate being a typical tourist, so instead my friend and I explored The National Mall at night. Everything about it has a much more majestic vibe when the sun sets. They switch from being tourist landmarks to being majestic reminders of why, despite all the terrible things our nation has done, it is worth it to be patriotic. 1t’s hard not to be humbled by the illuminated World War II memorial placed delicately in front of the Washington Monument, all subtly before the backdrop of a starry night sky. It’s hard not to feel pride when you can personally connect to your nations capital and find your grandfather’s name listed amongst the archives at said memorial.
There’s also something spectacular about seeing documents in their flesh, or knowing you are standing where Martin Luther King Jr. once stood. Many think that seeing things like The Declaration of Independence (or even the Mona Lisa which I have also seen), is pointless because one is bombarded with so many pictures of them throughout their lifetimes. However, as far as I’m concerned, seeing The Emancipation Proclamation in the flesh, or looking at a pile of shoes from actual Holocaust survivors, is a wholly different experience from their Google Images counterpart. The presence of historical figures looms practically anywhere one goes in such a historical city. If you ever catch yourself being bored, the simple reminder that John Adams could have once stood exactly where you are currently, 200 years previous, is enough to reinvigorate your entire experience.
I also spent an almost equal amount of time in both Baltimore and New York City, even if I wasn’t doing stereotypical sight seeing in those areas (but to be fair I grew up visiting NYC so it wasn’t as much of a novelty). It’s safe to say it was an exhausting and relatively sleepless 48 hours, but I’ll always talk about those 48 hours. The famous 48 hours where I “gallivanted”, according to my grandmother at least, across the country.
It came to my attention that I want to see everything. I want to see and experience literally anything and everything this fascinating world has to offer, and that’s what pushes me to have such crazy experiences. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is probably not possible, but that shouldn’t stop me from trying. Seeing a lot is much better than seeing nothing.